Canadian songstress Sarah Slean finds balance in her busy life, while discovering relationships are what make everything worthwhile.
by nikki yeh
“Balance is [all about] rocking back and forth,” says Sarah Slean, the twice Juno and twice Gemini Award-nominated Canadian recording artist. “I used to think everything [in life] was black and white.” But nothing is all one or the other; everything has a bit of both. The key to a balanced life is learning to not to have too much black or too much white in your life — you need both to be fulfilled and happy.
The Pickering, Ontario native applies this philosophy to her hectic schedule of touring and recording. She maintains composure by doing “everything in moderation, including moderation.” In her eyes, this means regular exercise, eating properly and getting enough sleep. On the other hand: “I try not to be a total samurai about it. I’m disciplined, but I allow myself to slack.”
Sarah starts each day off right with a healthy routine. “I do a little bit of meditation and exercise. It feels like I’m turning a switch on,” she says. Depending on the touring or recording season, Sarah relies heavily on her Toronto condo’s gym for a good workout. “I love sweating! I need to do things that are fast,” she says. And simple. “I enjoy yoga and also running because all you need is a pair of shoes.”
When it comes to putting her best face forward, Sarah keeps her beauty regime plain and simple, wearing make-up only when she absolutely has to. “I don’t have any secret potions. I’ve tried so many things over the years, so I just use things without fewer chemicals. Really, it’s all about keeping hydrated,” discloses the 31-year-old.
Sarah drinks more than three litres of water a day. “I cannot get over how much my health improves when I keep my hydration up.”
A well-balanced diet also plays a huge role in Sarah’s life. In fact, the health-savvy musician has been a vegetarian for about 10 years. “Over the years, especially when touring, I’ve become a real fanatic about eating proper foods. I’m quite the vegan baker now, [even though] my mom says: ‘You can’t make cookies without butter!’”
Most of all, regular interaction with loved ones keeps Sarah’s soul calm and collected, which she realized was a necessity during her mid-twenties. “At that time, I wanted to be alone, I wanted to totally invest in art-making and I was resentful in [having] relationships.
I was pushing myself away from relationships, but then I realized that you aren’t anything without them. You need love. You can’t make art without love. It’s more important than a career. I think the whole reason we’re here is to learn how to love.”
In addition to spending time with her family and friends, Sarah finds solace in a number of her favourite hobbies. “I read a lot of eastern philosophy and I read a lot of Tolstoy and theological writings. I also like to make sure I get outdoor time — maybe it’s the sunlight, maybe it’s the air — who knows.”
Taken as a whole, Sarah also feels extremely privileged for experiencing so many things in her line of work, from composing meaningful music to meeting new people. “This is what I love about my job — it’s never the same!” Thinking back at the last few years, Sarah’s quite pleased with how she’s been able to maintain healthy habits while allowing love into her life. “I [do] say to myself: ‘Wow, I’ve come so far.’”