Signed to Atlantic/Warner Records at the tender age of 19, four-time JUNO nominee and modern-day Renaissance woman Sarah Slean has since released 11 albums in over 10 countries worldwide—but perhaps the most astonishing aspect of her artistry is its breadth. Over her 25-year career, Slean has published two volumes of poetry, starred in short films and a movie musical (spawning two Gemini Award nominations), penned award-winning chamber works, held numerous exhibitions of her paintings, and shared the stage with 10 of the country’s professional orchestras. Classically trained from the age of five, she routinely collaborates with cutting-edge contemporary classical ensembles like The Art of Time, and has been invited to sing world premieres by Canada’s leading living composers. She composes orchestral arrangements for her own music as well as for her pop colleagues (Dan Mangan, Hawksley Workman) and her recent collaborative recording with Symphony Nova Scotia was nominated for both an East Coast Music Award and a JUNO Award in the Classical Album category (2021). Sarah is also an alumna of the prestigious Canadian Film Centre's screen composing residency (2017–2018) and earned her first Canadian Screen Award in 2021. She can also be heard on the CBC’s national hybrid pop/classical radio program About Time as an occasional host.
Citing such diverse influences as Leonard Bernstein, philosophy, Joni Mitchell, Buddhism, and J.S. Bach, her music borrows aspects of cabaret, pop, and orchestral: all knit together by the startling poetry of her lyrics, unique arranging and piano-playing, and that voice, described by the CBC as “a 19th century Kate Bush.” In addition to headlining theatres across Canada, Sarah has also toured Europe, the U.S., and Scandinavia, and has opened internationally for such artists as Bryan Ferry, Rufus Wainwright, Alanis Morissette, Andrew Bird, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, and Chris Isaak. Her 11th solo recording Metaphysics, released in 2017, is described as a “breathtaking amalgamation of Slean’s dramatic orchestral arranging and her signature take on songwriting.” In 2023, Sarah will be composing the music for the stage musical adaptation of the award-winning film Maudie and completing a master’s degree in composition.