“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” — A. A. MilneI spent most of the nineties strutting around in an indie snob haze, indiscriminately snubbing anything that might be considered even mildly popular or, God forbid, mainstream, but I have always had a soft spot for Jann Arden. No matter how massive “Insensitive,” her biggest hit, got in 1994 and 1995 (and it got huge, hitting number one in Canada and Australia, cracking the Adult Contemporary Top 10 in the U.S., and making an integral appearance in the romantic Christian Slater film “Bed of Roses“) No matter how many times I heard “Good Mother,” on radio stations I’d otherwise refuse to listen to, no matter how many friends’ moms bought her albums, I refused to stop listening to her or even relegate her to a guilty pleasure.
Also was “I Would Die For You“on radio stations I’d otherwise refuse to listen to, I even snuck an Arden song or two on the mixtapes that I made for my like-minded friends and discovered that many of them adored the singer/songwriter with a penchant for heartbreak ballads as much as I did.
Something about the haunting edge to her saddest songs and about the plaintive and honest lyrics of hits like “Could I Be Your Girl” turned us into completely earnest Jann Arden fangirls.
Two decades later, that same something compelled me to temporarily abandon any sense of professionalism and tell her all of this in the middle of an interview about her brand new album, “Everything Almost.“
“This new album by Jann Arden is right in line with her style, one that’s all her own, an amazing voice like no other and rightly so she is not like no other, simply unique in her own fashion. My favourite tune from this new album was and still is, the Awesome track “Counting Mercies” when I listen to a song and it gives me goose bumps and chills, I know I like it, it’s the combination of the lyrics but most of all the voice.”
One minute we were talking about how working with legendary rock producer and visionary Bob Rock pushed her out of her comfort zone and forced her to look at her music in a whole new light, the next I was gushing about the Arden-laced cross-country mixtape ring of my youth. On the phone from a hotel room in Toronto, in the middle of a whirlwind media tour in support of the new disc, Arden sounds flattered – and patient – but she doesn’t seem particularly surprised by my confession. I get that sense that she’s heard all of this from similarly-minded fans before. And that the affinity is mutual.
“I fell like I’ve always kind of had this appreciation of the indie community,” she says. “I think the only thing I really kind of hit with in a commercial mainstream way was ‘Insensitive.’ I mean, that was twenty years ago”
My records were far different. I think they appealed to a far different demographic. I’m very grateful that I had that opportunity because it opened doors for me that were unimaginable, and to still have that kind of support from people that can sometimes shy away from things that are massively appealing.
“But honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever appealed to the mainstream on that kind of scale. I think I’ve just been on the edge of that my whole career and I think there’s something really great about it because it’s given me longevity.”
Being different or not easily categorised bothered Arden in the early days of her career. “I never really got told that I was like anybody and I remember being really concerned about that,” she admits. “Like ‘Wow. I’m not like anybody. This could be really bad.’ But I have people say ‘You don’t sound like anyone’ and now I really appreciate that.
”The intimacy of her lyrics – one of her most powerful and popular attributes now – was also an issue for her in the early days. “I was told that my songs were too personal and that they would never work. I was turned down by everybody. I was turned down by my own label. I got the greatest rejection letters,” she recalls. “It was like, ‘I think you should be more generic and not so emotive when you’re singing.’ You wouldn’t believe the shit they told me.” continue reading & watch more videos »»»»»»
A JANN ARDEN CHRISTMAS
Don’t forget to grab your copy and or one for family and friends ~ A JANN ARDEN CHRISTMAS … Out NOW! Available on iTunes Canada, Amazon and Jann’s official store. Order yours now! On iTunes Worldwide Nov 13th.
Jann’s song is an incredibly beautiful melody filled with words of forgiveness toward ourselves and growing stronger in the face of adversity. This gorgeous six-strand necklace is comprised of luscious pearls, each reminding you just are unique, life is not fair but you do your best, hold your heart to the sun and count your mercies. Handmade luxe. Fits 16-18 inch neck (40-46cm)
The Huffington Post Canada | By Sarah Kurchak