Sarah Slean

Sarah Hope Slean (born June 21, 1977) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, visual artist and occasional actress. She has released eleven albums to date (including EPs and live albums).

Sarah Slean
Slean in 2018
Slean in 2018
Background information
Birth nameSarah Hope Slean
Born (1977-06-21) 21 June 1977 (age 43)
Pickering, Ontario, Canada
GenresPop, pop rock, art rock
Occupation(s)Musician, vocalist, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, keyboard instruments
Years active1997–present
LabelsWEA, Atlantic
Associated actsArt of Time Ensemble


Major recordingsEdit

Slean recorded her first EP Universe (1997) at the age of nineteen. It was followed by Blue Parade in 1998.[1] Night Bugs was her first major label album, co-produced by Slean and Hawksley Workman, and released by WEA in Canada and Atlantic Records in the United States.[2] It was heavily inspired by cabaret music.

Slean in 2005

On 28 September 2004, Slean released her fourth album, Day One. Here Slean's piano takes a less important spot for the first time in her career. The focus is more on beats, rhythms and guitar, which is evident in the album's first single, "Lucky Me".[3] The up-tempo title track "Day One", and "Mary", a song about Slean's grandmother, were released as the second and third singles.

Sarah Slean performing in Edmonton, Alberta in 2006

In October 2006, Slean released a mostly-live album, Orphan Music, which consists of songs recorded live at Toronto's Harbourfront Theatre and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre. Other new tracks featuring Slean and the piano were recorded at DNA Recording Facility in Toronto and Kensaltown Studios in the UK.[4]

On 13 December 2007, Slean's website underwent a massive overhaul in preparation for her newest studio album, entitled The Baroness. Visitors to the new site were invited to sign up for Slean's new mailing list, and in doing so would be able to download a demo version of her newest single, "Get Home". People who pre-ordered the new album from the new website's store also received a download to the non-album track "Parasol". The Baroness was released on 11 March 2008. The iTunes version of the album included two additional non-album tracks, "The Rose" and "The Lonely Side of the Moon." In September 2008, Slean announced her intention to release the non-album tracks from The Baroness as an EP. Both Parasol and Modern Man have been confirmed by Slean in Question and Answer sessions in her official website. On 13 November 2008, the official newsletter announced the title for the EP to be The Baroness Redecorates. A full track list was also provided.[5]

Slean released her fifth studio album, a double album entitled Land & Sea, on 27 September 2011.[6] As previously with Beauty Lives, a 100 special handcrafted editions were sold of the album. Land & Sea is also Slean's first record to be released on vinyl.

Slean performing at the 2012 Burlington's Sound of Music Festival

Slean's latest studio album Metaphysics will be released in April 2017. A pre-order campaign for the album was held on PledgeMusic.[7]

Other music workEdit

In 2006, she contributed two covers ("Us and Them" and "Comfortably Numb") to Pink Floyd Redux, a modern 12-track tribute to Pink Floyd.[8]

Another notable cover in Slean's repertoire is her down-tempo rendition of Our Lady Peace's guitar-driven song "Julia". Our Lady Peace has performed Slean's "piano" version of their song in their own concerts. Vocalist Raine Maida explained the origins of the piano version: "We’re gonna do a song from our first record now, that was given to us on a cassette tape, a very different version, from a girl named Sarah Slean from Toronto..."[9]

Slean was also featured on the Fox TV network as the pianist in Sunrise, the fictional town where bodies started piling up in Murder in Small Town X, a short-lived reality TV series.[citation needed]

In October 2008, Slean performed at the first annual Canwest Cabaret Festival in Toronto. Slean performed sets of her own music accompanied by bassist Joe Phillips and drummer Mark Mariash, and also contributed to multi-artist "songbook" performances of the songs of Leonard Cohen and Kurt Weill.

In March 2009, Slean took part in the Juno Songwriter's Circle in Vancouver, alongside fellow songwriters Jim Cuddy, Jacob Hoggard (of Hedley), Doc Walker, Buffy Saint-Marie, Vancouver upstart Ndidi Onukwulu, and Hawksley Workman, who hosted. She played two songs from The Baroness, "Notes from the Underground" and "Looking for Someone".

In 2009 she took part in an interactive documentary series called City Sonic. The series, which featured 20 Toronto artists, had her talk about performing at the Rivoli while attending the University of Toronto.

On 18 April 2011, Slean chose a song called "New Pair of Eyes" from Land, to be included on the compilation album Songs of Love for Japan. She described the song as an "ode to the shocking wonder of existence". Songs of Love for Japan was available for only 3 days, with all proceeds going toward relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March 2011.

Personal lifeEdit

Slean was born in Pickering, Ontario. She attended Dunbarton High School in Pickering. Before heading to college she worked with Sean Butler at Loeb. After initially studying music at York University, she completed a degree in music and philosophy at the University of Toronto.

In 2008, Slean and fellow singer-songwriter Royal Wood got engaged while in Paris;[10] the pair married in 2009,[11] and would divorce in 2013.[12] In January 2014, Slean said she and Wood had "parted ways as friends".[13]


Studio albumsEdit

Title Details Notes
Blue Parade
  • Released: 17 August 1998
  • Label: (None)
Independent release
Night Bugs First major label release
Day One
  • Released: 28 September 2004
  • Label: WEA
The Baroness
  • Released: 11 March 2008
  • Label: WEA
Black Flowers Collaboration with the
Art of Time Ensemble
Land & Sea
  • Released: 7 April 2017

EPs and live albumsEdit

Title Details Notes
  • Released: 1997 (Cassette); 1998 (CD)
  • Label: (None)
Independent release
Sarah Slean EP
Orphan Music
  • Released: 31 October 2006
  • Label: WEA
Live album with newly recorded studio versions, B-sides, and remixes
The Baroness Redecorates
  • Released: 9 December 2008
  • Label: WEA
B-sides EP consisting of tracks cut from The Baroness
Beauty Lives – The B-Sides
  • Released: December 2010
  • Label: WEA
Collection of newly recorded old and new tracks
String Quartet No. 2
  • Released: March 2011
  • Label: The Baroness Inc.
String quartet written as a commission for The Blue Ceiling Dance Company


Title Details Notes
"Lucky Me"
  • Released: 6 July 2004
  • Label: WEA
"When Another Midnight"
  • Released: 16 November 2004
  • Label: WEA
Features hip-hop artist K-OS
  • Released: 9 August 2005
  • Label: WEA
Improbable Pop Radio Mix, not the Day One version

Radio releasesEdit

  • "Sweet Ones" (2002)
  • "Weight" (2002)
  • "Duncan" (2003)
  • "Lucky Me" (2004)
  • "Day One"(2005)
  • "Mary" (2005)
  • "Somebody's Arms" (2005)
  • "Get Home" (2008)
  • "Set It Free" (2011)
  • "Sarah" (2017)

Music videosEdit

  • "Weight" (1998)
  • "High" (2000)
  • "Sweet Ones" (2002)
  • "Lucky Me" (2004)
  • "Day One"(2005)
  • "Mary" (2005)
  • "Get Home" (2008)
  • "The Rose" (2010)
  • "Set It Free" (2011)
  • "The Devil & the Dove" (2012)
  • "Society Song" (2012)
  • "Sarah" (2017)
  • "Every Rhythm Is The Beat" (2017)


  • Ravens (2004)

Slean's first collection of poetry, containing 21 poems in 69 pages, including original artwork.

  • The Baroness (2008)

A companion poetry book to the eponymous album, containing 46 pages.


In late 2004, she filmed Black Widow with Canadian director David Mortin, a film noir musical based on the Evelyn Dick murder case. It premiered in September 2005 on the film festival circuit and on CBC Television in January 2006.

In 2006, Slean teamed up once again with video director Nelson Chan ("Mary", "Day One") to create a three-part short film titled Tales of the Baroness. The first segment aired on 11 May 2007 on Bravo!.

In 2009, Slean was in another short film, Last Flowers (Parts 1 and 2 on Vimeo), written and directed by CJ Wallis and produced by Elli Weisbaum.

Writing obituaries for a local newspaper to keep the wolf from the door, coupled with the complete avoidance of his own mother's death, universally rejected novelist Harvey Harris (Joseph May) is feeling more distanced than ever from the world and those who surround him. An attempt to ease his guilt leads Harvey to sneaking into the very funerals he writes about, where a chance meeting of a strong-willed woman named Mona Miller (Sarah Slean) will force Harvey to confront his greatest fears about loss and rejection and how to find a way to connect through the most severe forms of disconnection.

  • The Translator (2010)

Slean landed the part of the Woman in French Film in Sonya Di Rienzo's short film, The Translator.[14] (See excerpt on YouTube)

Awards and recognitionsEdit

It can be noted that two record engineers have been nominated in the Recording Engineer of the Year category at the Junos for their work with Slean: Peter Prilesnik in 2005 for Day One, and Jeff Wolpert in 2012 for Land & Sea.


  1. ^ "CD Reviews: The Beta Band, Default, Toploader and many more". Chart Attack, July 17, 2001
  2. ^ "Night Bugs". Official Community of Sarah Slean. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Day One". Official Community of Sarah Slean. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  4. ^ "Orphan Music". Official Community of Sarah Slean. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Sarah Releases a New EP just in Time for the Holidays!". The Official Community of Sarah Slean. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
  6. ^ "Land & Sea – Pre-Order". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  7. ^ "New Album "Metaphysics"". PledgeMusic. Archived from the original on 27 November 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  8. ^ "CD Details". Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Sarah Slean Biography". Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Sarah Slean Gets Festive". Archived from the original on 8 November 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Sarah Slean's Sea Change". Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Royal Wood: "I wanted to find my fun again"". 5 January 2016. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  13. ^ Slean, Sarah (9 January 2014). "And the days grew longer…". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  14. ^ The Translator Postcard Archived 12 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine from Little Films About Big Moments Archived 3 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Search results". Canada's Awards Database. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  16. ^ "2011 Winners by Name". Leo Awards. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.

External linksEdit