Album: Surfacing (1997)
Charted: 18 3


  • Sarah describes this as being about "My problems in dealing with feeling responsible for everyone else." In a radio interview, she stated that it was inspired by the way her father always felt responsible for making sure everyone was happy. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alan - Wappingers, NY
  • Generally vague about the specific meaning, McLachlan did admit in an interview that one of several inspirations behind this song is her relationship with her best friend. Their relationship was rocky for a period of time after Sarah started seeing her current husband, who her best friend had dated in the past.
  • Adia is a female name meaning "God's Gift." Sarah chose it simply because she liked the sound of it.
  • This was nominated for the 1999 Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Celine Dion won it for "My Heart Will Go On."
  • In a 1999 interview on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, McLachlan explained that this song was originally called "Emily," but she picked another name because of the Simon & Garfunkel song "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her." McLachlan added that the Kenny Rogers song "You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me Lucille" was an inspiration.

Comments: 40

  • Melissa from Austin, TxI wanted to know what city the video was filmed in. It looks like Poydras Street in New Orleans, but I can't find the answer anywhere.
  • Melissa from Austin, TxI have searched in vain to find out the shooting location of the "Adia" video. But I believe it was filmed in downtown New Orleans. There is a scene where she is standing in the middle of a city street. In the far background, there is a building that I believe I recognize as the International Trade Mart. Does anybody know? Does anybody care? Just wondering if there was any significance to its being filmed in New Orleans.
  • Tamara Lee from Bernalillo, NmSeriously? Sorry I'm in a state of shock. Sad that lots of Americans have lost so many coloqueisms such as "fingering" referring to blaming. Sarah wrote "no one left to finger" meaning "no one left to blame". Read more America.... Come on. Geez.
  • Jessica from Missouri, UsaI don't know what her meaning was when she wrote it, but I was so intrigued by the name, I named my 2nd daughter Adia in 2004. Her sister's name is Lydia, so I thought it was neat that they sounded so similar. I was 5 months pregnant when I heard it & said "That's it! That's her name!" On August 30th 2004, at 6 lbs 12 oz, my daughter came into & left this world. Although the lyrics cut me like a razor to the core after she passed away, the words soon gave me the only shred of peace I'd have for many years. My Adia was born & died innocent. What a pure spiritual journey. I find it theraputic now, mostly. Whatever Sarah's meaning, I'm grateful she shared her work. Without which, I wouldn't have gotten to experience a moment with "God's Gift".
  • Nonya from CaliforniaMy birth name is actually "Adia", but I say it uh-hee-yah. All the people with my name I've met say it that way. I wonder why Sarah went with something different.
  • Drew from College Pt., Ny... as for the question regarding "matter" ... but of course it "matters", fundamentally yes, theoretically, 50/50 ... statistically that would be a yes.
    (an overall consensus of intelligence, not reality per say)

    an opposing perspective ... leaning towards optimism, is disproved by a favorable outcome & or (moment).
  • Drew from College Pt., NyTo perceive the vertas ... many and no-one inception ... thought it was short for a death.
  • Langx from Philadelphia, PaIf an angle sang it would sound like Sarah. It's hard to get through her songs without shedding some tears.
  • Jeff from Shohola, PaThe person Sarah is making reference to has been thought to be a old friend/boyfriend that was in her band and best friends with her now ex husband called David Kershaw. The songs letters stand for Another David I Abandoned since she had gone out with a prior guy with a first name David.
  • Lori from Concord, NcShame on you Steve from Palmer AK ;-) "No one left to finger" means no one left to blame. Like to point your finger at someone to blame them.
  • Adia from High Point, Ncmy name is Adia but when i was in 5th grade i thought it was an ugly name but really it is beautiful and unique so i have come to love it but with all these people loving this word or name it puzzles me because people would tease me about it but i know now it isn't anything to be teased about, thank you sarah
  • Adia from High Point, Ncbut my name's pronounced uh-dee-uh like that.:) sorry,
  • Adia from High Point, NcActually i really do love this song because my grandmother loved it and when she was sick i would sing it to her until she passed and my name is Adia which kinda flatters me that many people like that word and this song just makes me feel so special.
  • Dony from Jakarta, Indonesiawhen i hear the song, the sound of piano and guitar it's OPENS my mind, my point of view is being refreshed... and i mean it...
    love this song so much...
    the first time i heard this song, i wonder what is the meaning of the lyrics, but i think
    "My problems in dealing with feeling responsible for everyone else." represents the meaning of this song...-DONY,JAKARTA-
  • Nick Kler from Los Angeles, CaI came across these lyrics from a person named "Adia", wounder if she is the same??

    "Sarah!" She would often cry
    She cried for you, she cried your pain
    She felt feeling that hurt your soul

    "Adia" died the day you left
    Your flesh took away her breath
    Left her gasping upon the floor
    And she suffered all alone

    Friends left soon thereafter,
    One by one, they all were gone
    Friends of money, friends of fame
    Nothing was left with her to gain

    Finally she managed to gather some strength
    As she sat and spun the wheel of time
    Spinning in the rays of sun
    Twining them into a rope of hope
    Hanging this rope from the roof of her years
    Wearing this colourful noose around her neck
    She hung herself everyday
    Yet! She dies not

    Finally, the day she left for home
    Taking a few scratched LP's along
    Through that door leads to the porch
    Wooden stairs you once shared

    Mother is calling, she said
    Father is worried for me too
    All my friends are anxiously waiting
    For me to come home and play

    No remorse she felt for you
    Life is harsh, as she often said
    Loneliness haunts the ones forlorn
    Some fail yet others succeed
    Survival is the "God" of life

    She truly wished for you, Sarah!
    To find your piece and forget her tears
    The only wish she ever had
    Was for you to save that song for last

    It came with the wind that swept you away
    Stains of black on the paper so white
    Words departed humming and yearning
    To become a song they were never destined

    This story of that helpless girl
    "Aida" was her name in your song
  • Shirl from Bay Area, CaI heard that Sarah wrote this for her grandmother who she didn't get along with. Her grandmother was supposedly a very disapproving person. That's why she's saying we are born innocent but faltered.
  • Steven from Palmer, AkI wonder if she really had to put in the line "there's no one left to finger" I don't even know what it means, but it puts images in my head.
  • Detra from Wichita, KsI named my first child Adia because I loved it so much, and I knew it was Swahili for "Gift from God" at the time. No matter what, it's powerful.
  • Ellebelle from Bay Area, CaBernard- I always thought it was a lesbian song too. It is obvious that Adia is someone that she knew for quite awhile. I believe now that I was wrong. There are so many metaphores in this song. It is kind of difficult to interpert. I read this:
    Makes more sense now. abc- you need to leave Rizza alone. Different songs envoke different feelings in people, that's why we are all different. I can listen to Disturbed or Rob Zombie and be relaxed. Why can't she listen to Reggee' and be relaxed? You're just a meanie.
  • Amber from San Francisco, CaThis is a very well written and beautiful song. Sarah's vocals make it all the more beautiful to listen to. I love Sarah and her music!
  • Madison from Calgary , AbI love this song so much it inspiers me so much.
    - Madison, Calgary, AB
  • Andrew from Virginia, VaI agree the meaning of a song, or any work, is in the eye of the beholder. That's part of the beauty of it. As a writer, i know i unconsciously weave in things I don't intend, and am fascinated by surprises others will see, insights I didn't have. It's the difference between art and simple communication.
  • Abc from Daytona, FlOnce the artist tells you what it means, which she has, how can you say it can have different meanings? Maybe to you, but the artist had a concept in mind and if you don't understand that concept, then you're missing the true meaning. And....Rizza? You feel "very relax" when you hear it. It's a very sad and regretful song. That makes you relax? Reggae makes you relax. Geez. Get a clue.
  • Ananya from Berkeley, CaIt can mean different things to different people--nobody's really right. To me, it has a special meaning because I have let somebody down before and felt awful. But to Ed, it reminds him of hope in a time of fear. But I do agree: It is a beautiful song.
  • Rizza from California, CaHayie!!! Actually im from Philippines, hehehe ?. This is my favorite song; in fact I used this word ?adia? as my email account. Every time I feel so alone, I?ll just listen to it, and in a couple of minutes I feel very relax?.

    rizza_adia30, phil.
  • Tiffany from Calgary, CanadaI was told in an interview she did on the radio she said the song is about her getting together with her best friends boyfriend at the time and her trying to explain to her friend that it was never there intention to hurt her but they couldnt help how they feel for one another and they couldnt stop from loving someone you don't chose who you fall in love with it just happens and the friendship was ended over it. Great song.classic.
  • Paul from Longwood, FlMelodically and the way it's arranged, this is one of the sweetest songs that's ever been recorded - and I don't mean in a maudlin way. It's just a beautiful tune. Can't imagine anyone else singing it than Sarah.
  • Leah from Cairo, EgyptTo the idiot known only as D, unprotected sex is not the only way of contracting HIV/AIDS. Go to to educate your stupid self.
  • D from None, Wahey edward, stop sleeping around and you won't have to worry about HIV test!
  • Alex from Montrealpersinally, i only the fisrt part when she says «adia i do beleive i failed you» for me, thats all the song in a sentence!...but anyway, i love you sarah!!
  • Bethany from Carrier Mills, IlThis is a gorgeous song. i know i'll be repeating everyone else, but it is one of the deep, intoxicating songs that you can listen to over and over again.
  • Eric from Brantford, CanadaSarah McLachlan's Adia is a one of a kind song. It deep and meaningful, one that can be listened to over again. Personally, one of my favourites.
  • Bernard from Caracas, South AmericaTo me it sounds like a lesbian love song
  • John from Buffalo, NyI always thought this song was about letting yourself down..after leaving it on repeat for like a year{during a bit of a rough patch},I could have sworn I heard her confirm this on a Canadian radio interview...i'm an unknown songwrtiter (happy to stay that way) and hearing that that just reaffirmed my belief in the power of music :)

    thanks Sarah...
  • Lola from Street, MdIts quite a depressing, meaningful song. It's one of those songs you can leave on "repeat"
  • Nani from Ashland, OrIt is hard when you inadvertently hurt someone you love by your actions, even thought those actions were not directly related to that person.
  • Sam from Dublin, Irelandit's a beautiful song...
  • Julie from New Orleans, Layou must be thinking of hold on by sarah, this was about a couple whose husband was dying of aids
  • Marie from Nyc, NyGood for you Ed
  • Edward from Miami, FlI once heard this song was about HIV. This song became my personal anthem when I had to wait for my blood test results to come back, I would always hear this song on the radio and t.v. during that wait...I'm negative:)
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