Music

Sarah McLachlan Explains How She Became The Star Of That Super Depressing ASPCA Commercial

Every now and then, I’ll be working with my back to the TV and I’ll suddenly hear Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.” It doesn’t seem to happen as much these days, as her beautiful voice has been replaced with stories about tigers and starving people, but when I hear those words – “Hi, I’m Sarah McLachlan, will you be an Angel?” – my left hand instinctively grabs the remote and changes the channel. Like many people, I just can’t take those wounded and lonely dogs and cats, with the saddest eyes in the world, staring at me as if they’re saying, “PUH-WEEEEEEZE???”

According to the artist herself, the commercial has been a godsend for the non-profit organization, and that’s hardly a surprise. I could go broke from 30 seconds of one ASPCA commercial, and don’t even get me started on the one that is set to “Answer.” She even once admitted that she has to change the channel when the commercials air, because they’re “just so depressing” and she certainly doesn’t want them to define her career. But that still won’t stop people from asking her if she’s aware of what she’s done, as she told the Charlotte Observer that she actually feels “disingenuous” about it all.

When you attach a piece of music to something – it’s sort of an innocent thing. A good friend of mine was on the the board of the SPCA here in Vancouver, and she said, ‘Hey, would you consider doing an ad for them?’ And I’m like, ‘Sure, I love animals.’ I spent three hours in the studio, I said those words, the song went with the pictures, and it raised 30 million bucks. It really hit home in a profound way, and there were articles written about how we’d changed the face of fundraising. And it was kind of difficult for me because I started to feel a bit disingenuous about the whole thing, in the sense that I had people writing me letters weekly (about shelter animals). I felt like a fraud, because I just did this little commercial. I love animals as much as the next person, but if I really wanted to attach myself to something, it would be kids and education. (Via the Charlotte Observer)

In case you’re still able to listen to “Angel” without immediately picturing abused kittens and puppies, McLachlan said that her favorite use of the song was actually in the 1998 film City of Angels, which starred Nic Cage as Meg Ryan’s holy protector. What’s a shame that the song wasn’t produced in 1989 so it could be added to the All Dogs Go to Heaven soundtrack.

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