Celebrity

CELEBRITY INSIDER

Reintroducing Sarah Slean


CELEBRITY INSIDER
Reintroducing Sarah Slean


PHOTO: Andrew MacNaughtan

If you pegged SARAH SLEAN as just another pretty folksy chanteuse, think again. Sitting in an empty hotel bar in knee-high black boots and blood-red lipstick, the singer-songwriter is glam intensity—a look that matches the baroque-pop-priestess sound of her new record, The Baroness. Read on as Katrina Onstad takes you behind-the-scenes at our photo shoot with Sarah.

NEXT

WHAT WE LEARNED IN MAKEUP Suddenly, another Sarah Slean emerges: a master giggler who rides her bicycle to school (she’s completing a music degree at the University of Toronto) and gushes about her newest hobby, cognitive science. She’s all over the place, jumping in conversation from Buddhism to Egon Schiele to Joni Mitchell. A painter and poet, Slean still loves music best—she’s opened for James Blunt and Rufus Wainwright—and has five albums to prove it (on YouTube, diehard fans perform her biggest hit, 2002’s “Sweet Ones”). In concert, the petite Slean goes big, draping her body across the piano, pounding out songs that sound more like short fiction.

NEXT

WHAT WE LEARNED IN WARDROBE But on The Baroness, Slean transforms into a mighty force, employing a newfound energy in songs such as “So Many Miles.” Long story short, she doesn’t hide behind characters on her new album; when she sings “I,” it sounds like Sarah. Needless to say, The Baroness is a far cry from the uncertain ways displayed in her last studio disc, Day One. “I wanted to tell honest stories about what happened in my heart and mind without ambiguity,” she says. “It was hard, unclothing myself.” So with lyrics such as “Don’t you dare profess to love me/when you’re lying to another” (off the song “Get Home”), the question is: Did she get her heart broken? Slean laughs. “Honey, that would be the 25th time!”

NEXT

WHAT WE LEARNED IN HAIR Before the album, she was in a darker place, turning 30 and unsure if she would make music again. Instead of hiding from the pain, Slean moved to a Buddhist monastery in Bordeaux, France, before making the decision to come back to Canada and hit the studio again. “I’m trying to learn not to bounce around, striving to be happy or unhappy,” says Slean. “I want to be an artist who is living somewhere in the middle.”

NEXT

IT’S A WRAP Check out FLARE’s March 2008 issue for more NEXT reviews.

FIRST