Sarah McLachlan, Demystifying Her Muse

Pop Singer-Songwriter Dissects Her Creative Process

Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Hear an Extended Interview

CD cover for 'Afterglow'

CD cover for 'Afterglow.' hide caption

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Sarah McLachlan at NPR

Sarah McLachlan at NPR. Paul Schomer, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Paul Schomer, NPR

Last fall, Sarah McLachlan released Afterglow, her first CD in four years, after taking time off to start a family with her longtime drummer Ashwin Sood. More recently, the singer-songwriter talked with NPR's Steve Inskeep about her creative process and some of her favorite musicians.

Songs from 'Afterglow'

Listen 'World on Fire'

Listen 'Fallen'

Listen 'Push'

McLachlan compares her songwriting process to working on a puzzle. "They don't come out all at once," she says of her songs. "They come out in pieces. I'll work on something for two, three weeks until I sort of flog it to death... (then) I put it away for a month or two. Sometimes a new idea will appear in that time, and that might be the chorus that fits with that verse."

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The artist was recently chosen as the fourth musician in Starbuck's "Artist's Choice" CD series. Sold primarly in the ubiquitous coffee shops, the discs collect the favorite songs of popular musicians.

McLachlan joins a group that previously included Sheryl Crow, Tony Bennett and Johnny Cash. Her "Artist's Choice" selections, released on CD in June 2004, feature music by Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, among others.

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