"Absolutely," she replied. "Really, it started out because I didn't want to do shows by myself."
Promoters told her an all-female bill would never sell tickets: "I was like, 'Well, that's ridiculous. Music is music. And good music is good music. And you're telling me I can't do this? Well, I'm gonna prove you wrong!'"
In its three-year run, Lilith Fair drew some two million fans -- becoming a brand name.
"I've heard it used as a cultural reference: 'Oh, that's so Lilith of you,'" McLachlan laughed. "I love that."
It also raised millions for McLachlan's charity foundation: She launched an afterschool music program for inner city kids in Vancouver.
"For the first nine years we were sort of beg, borrowing and stealing in different locations, paying a lot of rent in spaces that we could only use part of the day," she said.
But three years ago, with help from the city, McLachlan raised the money to find a permanent home for the program and open the Sarah McLachlan School of Music. There are almost 700 children in the program this year.
Mason asked, "How does it feel to have your name on the door?"
"It's fulfilling," she replied. "People ask me what I'm the proudest of, and I always say it's this place."
But the road has drawn her back again. Usually acoustic, she's even returned to her electric guitar: "That was exciting to do that again," she said. "It brings my wild side out a little bit."
"What's that like?" Mason asked.
"It's freeing," she said.
"'The wild side of Sara McLachlan?'"
"You know, yeah, the horns come out."
With a new partner, former NHL hockey player Geoff Courtnall, and her two daughters, Sarah McLachlan says she feels whole again.
Mason asked, "Did I read somewhere, that when you were going through the divorce, that there was a point when you thought you might never write a song again?"
"Oh, I think that pretty much every time!" McLachlan laughed. "Yeah, sort of at the beginning of the process of writing a record, there's always that, 'Do I still have it? Am I gonna be able to have something to say?'"
"If you've been a creative person, it's probably hard to turn that off."
"It's impossible to turn that off," McLachlan said. "Why I always come back is because I love playing live. I love to sing and I love to feel the energy that happens between myself, between the musicians and between the audience. It's this beautiful cyclical energy thing, this ball of love and passion and really good yummy stuff. It's just like having a religious experience."
For more info:
- Follow Sarah McLachlan on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
- "Shine On" by Sarah McLachlan (Verve); Available on Amazon and iTunes
- Sarah McLachlan School of Music, Vancouver
- Follow the Sarah McLachlan School of Music on Twitter (@SMschoolofmusic), Facebook, Instagram and YouTube