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Sarah Harmer.

Vanessa Heins

In Between the Acts, The Globe and Mail takes a look at how artists manage their time before and after a creative endeavour.

It's been more than seven years since Sarah Harmer last released an album (Oh Little Fire, from 2010). Not that she's been a recluse. Working at a relaxed pace that her stature affords her, the double Juno winner does benefit concerts and scattered summer festivals as she pleases.

Currently in the midst of recording a new album, the singer-songwriter will appear with other guest singers and authors for the Art of Time Ensemble's A Singer Must Die concert, a tribute to Leonard Cohen (Feb. 22 to 24, at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre). The Globe and Mail spoke to Harmer from her Ontario home.

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I have been restoring an old house, chipping a lot of paint and working on some music. I've been making a record this past year, on and off. I could stand to have some rust knocked off me. I'm looking forward to this immersion in the Art of Time Ensemble.

The timing feels good. Leonard Cohen's music continues to reveal itself to me. I've never delved into all of it – there's so much there. To be a singer and to be able to luxuriate in the words of Leonard Cohen, with a string ensemble and other instrumentalists, feels like such a treat. I'll be singing three songs.

The work I was doing in the studio last year was going great. But then I looked the other way for a while, and a couple of months passed. So, I've been checked out of it for a bit. I'm pretty close to finishing, though. I thought I'd go back and crack into a few tunes and redo a few things. I still have lyrics to finish on two of the songs.

I haven't been properly touring. I've been keeping a local, low profile for the most part, aside from a few summer shows and some benefits. I've been waiting until I had a new vehicle, this new collection of songs. It's a necessary fuel to go out and do it all again.

I do love doing it. I just end up doing other things. I'm a bit of a multitasker. I don't have the best focus, shall we say. But I'm getting there.

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