Sarah McLachlan performed for a small audience in Vancouver yesterday, but it was an appearance that she would have rather not made.
The singer was in a courtroom playing a small keyboard and singing excerpts from the song "Steaming" for a judge as part of a lawsuit launched against her by a former associate. Musician/producer Darryl Neudorf is claiming credit as a co-writer and producer and demanding royalties for four of the songs on her Nettwerk album, "Touch." Other songs in contention include "Vox," "Sad Clown," and "Strange World."
A sometimes emotional McLachlan spent two hours on the stand explaining her songwriting techniques to the court, describing how she found it to be a solitary process, and adding that she often found solace in her writing during difficult periods. She was in tears when she described how she wrote "Ben's Song" after discovering a young boy she used to babysit had died of a brain tumor.
The court heard that McLachlan, 19 at the
time, had traveled to Vancouver from her native home of Halifax to work with Nettwerk in 1987. Someone at the label had contacted Neudorf to record and produce demos for the singer prior to her recording finished tracks for her debut album. The two apparently worked on sessions together for about a month and a half early in 1988. She denies he was involved in any writing.
On Wednesday, McLachlan, who has been attending the daily court sessions quietly for well over two weeks, told reporters outside the courthouse that she was fighting the charges because of a sense of fairness, and to stand up for her own good name as well as her label's good name. Nettwerk is a co-defendant in the suit.
The trial will most likely last another week, and even then the judge is not expected to make an immediate ruling.