This month’s performance by Canadian singer Jann Arden is being touted by the Mary Winspear Centre as their biggest show ever — as they welcome their biggest name to the Charlie White Theatre stage.
Arden, who has had a very successful career, has still got it. She was nominated for a Juno award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for A Jann Arden Christmas. The awards show takes place in Calgary April 3.
“I’m really happy about that, you know it sure is a testament to the great people I work with,” she told the PNR about her nomination.
She mentioned her producer, Bob Rock, who she said brings so much to the table. Rock, who has produced a few records with Arden, worked with her on her most recent Christmas record.
“He really had a vision, he wanted to do something so traditional with me and he didn’t want it to be contemporary, he wanted it to have legs that would really last a long time.”
Arden said she had been pestered over the last few years to do a Christmas album and said she was happy she could be in people’s homes during the holidays.
Looking back at her long and successful career, the memories have been about the people she has met along the way and the typical moments one has when they enter stardom.
“There’s so many little things. As a kid you look at David Letterman and the Tonight Show and things like that and I remember doing those shows and just thinking ‘this is the most bizarre thing on the planet’, that I’m doing this show and that I’m looking across the room at David Letterman,’” she said.
Arden said another good moment early in her career was being on tour. She said when she first got on the tour bus, she thought it was the greatest thing ever — but that quickly wore off.
“It’s those typical things that you think about growing up and you’re like if I get to that … that’s my goal. So its pretty funny when things that are dreams become reality.”
It’s also been meeting interesting people like Richard Carpenter, Casey Kasem, Olivia Newton John, Michael Buble, just to name a few.
“So it’s just, you know, everything takes on this glow and this haze. I wish I could have enjoyed it more when I was standing in the moment but it’s so fuzzy and its so electric and its so surreal that it takes you months to look back at something and go ‘Did I even do that?’”
One of those interesting people she has met is fellow Canadian, Rick Mercer, with whom she recently shot an adventurous episode of his show.
“He’s so nutty but we have lots of fun together,” she said.
Arden has also been finishing up a novel she has been working on for three years.
“I feel good, I feel like I’m 92 per cent there.”
Arden currently lives in an area called Rocky View County and talked to the PNR while on her bedroom couch in her home in the forest, a place that has really helped keep her grounded.
“I live in that modern era where there’s a thing called a satellite dish that you can plunk on your ceiling …” she said, adding that she is also on a well with a septic tank.
Arden attended school in Alberta where there were 42 kids in her whole grade. She said she knew every one of them.
“It was certainly something that influenced me as a writer and as an artist and as a singer… As much as I had a lot of influences (from) records that my parents had, I had this open gateway to whatever I wanted to be.”
She said people always have a hard time defining what she does … even iTunes. Depending on what record people pull up (and she has 14 of them), they will get alternative, country, folk or pop.
One of the things that distinguishes her music is a lot of it is sad.
“Sad music makes me so happy,” she said. “I love that, I love that juxtaposition.”
She said she loves listening to minor keys, part of the reason why she loves traditional Christmas music, as a lot of it was written in minor keys.
Writing the music itself is what gets her through those hardships and struggles.
“I was one of those kids that would put on a Beach Boys record and play it over and over and over and over in my parents’ basement and I just loved music. I loved picking out base lines and listening to the harmonies…”
“I think music itself is such a personal experience and its got such healing qualities,” she added.
As she is getting older, Arden said those experiences become more dear to her and she cherishes them more. Arden performs March 9 and 10 in Sidney.