Jann Arden (1962-)
Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Arden, Jann (1962- )
Jann Arden was born Jann Arden Richards in Springbank, a small town to the west of Calgary, on March 27th 1962. Music was an early interest in her life, but she also played hockey, on the right wing. Her early musical influences were the Carpenters, John Denver and ABBA. Her instruments were guitar and trumpet, but her focus was on singing from the time she was five, and she composed her first song at the age of thirteen.
She cut her first single, Never Love a Sailor, at the age of seventeen, and in the early eighties she played dates in clubs and lounges. In 1987, she was signed by Neil MacGonigill, Ian Tyson’s former manager, who got her booked on the western Canada folk festival circuit, and helped her to get her demo tapes heard more widely. As a result, in 1991, Jann was signed by A&M Records, and her debut record, Time for Mercy, was issued in 1993. Her first hit single, I Would Die for You, was one of the tracks on the record, as was a song she had written back in 1982, I Would Die For You.
Jann received a Juno Award in 1994 as Best New Solo Artist, and the video of I Would Die For You also earned a Juno. The following year, 1995, she won three Junos; she was named Female Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, and the song Could I Be Your Girl, from her 1994 album Living Under June, was hailed as Single of the Year. Living Under June was the album that brought the voice of Jann Arden to the international marketplace, selling more than a million copies and giving Jann a top ten hit single in Canada, the U.S. Australia and Italy, with the track Insensitive.
In 2001, Jann appeared in a touring production of The Vagina Monologues, by Eve Ensler, and later appeared in small roles in two movies, White Lies and Don’t Cry Now, as well as in a documentary special, Jann Takes Manhattan, which was shot in New York while Jan was appearing there.
By 2007, she had won eight Juno Awards, as well as six Classic Awards from SOCAN for singles that had each received over 100,000 plays on Canadian radio. SOCAN also gave Jann their 2006 National Achievement Award, “for outstanding success, predominantly in the Canadian music industry,” over the span of her career. She has her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.
Her offbeat sense of humour and uninhibited stage manner have made her a natural for live concert appearances, with her nine albums providing a wealth of popular material for her to feature. As well as being the sole headliner in many concerts over the years, she also toured Canada and the United States with fellow Canadian star Michael Bublé in 2007, having done three previous tours with him in Europe, Australia and the U.S.
Apart from the thousands of plays of her records on radio and in television music videos, Jann has also been seen on television from time to time. In 1998 she was in an episode of Ellen de Generis’ sitcom series Ellen, and in 2001 she appeared in The Arden Diner, a pilot made for CTV and based on her experiences running her own diner for a time in Calgary. She was the Ghost of Christmas Past in a 2002 CBC-TV Christmas special; she has frequently appeared on The Rick Mercer Report on CBC, and in 2005 was seen as herself in an episode of Corner Gas on CTV. In 2019 she began starring on CTV in Jann, a half-hoiur sitcom depicting a fictionalised version of her llife as a singer/songwriter.
Jann has always been a great worker for charity. She has been the national spokesperson for Kids’ Help Phone, has worked for the Cure Foundation for Breast Cancer, has an ongoing involvement with World Vision, and has performed for and supported Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto, the Make a Wish Foundation and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.
Jann has written two books, If I Knew, Don’t You Think I’d Tell You? in 2002, and I’ll Tell You One Damn Thing, And That’s All I Know in 2004. She also authors a monthly advice column in Elle Canada magazine.
In November 2007, Jann Arden was inducted into the Music Star section of the CAB Hall of Fame.
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Written by Pip Wedge - October, 2007