Huffpost Celebrity
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Quora Headshot

Sarah McLachlan on Music and the Industry

Posted: Updated:

These questions originally appeared on Quora.

2014-07-28-sarahmusic.jpeg

Answers by Sarah McLachlan, Singer/Songwriter

What does music mean to you?

Music is a gift, it is a universal emotional language that allows us to feel, it brings us closer to ourselves and others in that it creates an avenue for empathy and understanding. It can often communicate something that cannot be put into words, a resonance of the spirit and a recognition that another feels what you feel and understands.

What's it like, as a musician, to know that you've had a significant positive emotional impact on the lives of others?

I think the greatest validation for me as a musician is having people I don't know come up to me and tell me that something I've created has come into their lives and impacted them in a positive way. It's wonderful because songwriting is a lonely isolating process so to put it out there when you are done and have that kind of response is amazing.

What distinguishes "an artist" from just a musician?

I think any musician who can take a piece of music and not just play it but can put themselves and all their passion into it becomes an artist even if it's only them hearing it. The artistry is in creating something new and communicating a deeper level of understanding. Three people can tell you the same story but the one who puts their passion into it is the one you remember an feel.

How similar are songwriting and poetry writing?

I think they are two different things although I know some would argue. A lyric typically needs the music and melody to lift it and bring it to life, they need and support each other.

What song on your new album, Shine On, was the hardest to write? Which was the easiest?

"Flesh and Blood" lyrically was the hardest to finish. I recorded the vocal on the last days of mixing and I think Monsters was the easiest.

What's it like, as a musician, to know that you've had a significant positive emotional impact on the lives of others?

I think the greatest validation for me as a musician is having people I don't know come up to me and tell me that something I've created has come into their lives and impacted them in a positive way. It's wonderful because songwriting is a lonely isolating process so to put it out there when you are done and have that kind of response is amazing.

Grammy Awards: What is it like to receive a Grammy Nomination?

It's flattering and I do enjoy winning in the moment but it does not define success to me.

What do you think the future of the music industry will look like?

That's the big question, I doubt there will be record labels as I don't know how they can make money anymore, streaming is the way music is being heard these days, immediate access to whatever and whenever you want. People will always want new music so I know it will continue to be created, but the old model is dying on the vine.

More questions on Quora: