With a rich voice and earnest delivery that bring warmth and poignancy to her sometimes slickly produced adult alternative music, singer/songwriter Jann Arden is best known for the hit ballad "Insensitive" from her second album, 1994's Living Under June. Arden remained a Top Ten-charting album artist in her home country of Canada well into the 2010s. Some of her other most commercially successful records include 1997's Happy?, 2007's Uncover Me -- both certified platinum -- and 2014's Everything Almost, which became her highest-charting release when it reached number two. An eight-time Juno Award winner, she was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2017.
Jann Arden Anne Richards was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1962. She loved music as a child and began writing her own songs at the age of 13. Two of her biggest musical influences from that time were John Denver and Karen Carpenter. At 17, she recorded her first single, "Never Love a Sailor," released in 1980 as Jann Richards. While she didn't record solo material again for over a decade, she spent those years performing at numerous clubs and festivals and singing in bands like Factor 4 and Hip Hugger. Her first full-length Jann Arden release, Time for Mercy, arrived in 1993 on the A&M Records label. The debut produced three Canadian Top 40 singles, including the number 10 hit "Will You Remember Me," and led to a Juno Award for Best New Solo Artist.
Her follow-up album, 1994's Living Under June, included no less than six Top Ten hits in her home country, with the Anne Loree-penned "Insensitive" topping the chart. Boosted by its inclusion in the Christian Slater romantic film Bed of Roses, released in early 1996, "Insensitive" eventually reached number 12 on the U.S. Hot 100, another career high for the singer. In the meantime, Arden won Junos for Single of the Year ("Could I Be Your Girl"), Songwriter of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the Year. Her final album with A&M, 1997's Happy?, reached number seven on Canada's album chart behind three Top 30 singles, including the number three hit "The Sound Of."
With 2000's Blood Red Cherry, Arden began a longtime partnership with Universal. Maintaining her popularity and the reflective, midtempo quality of her music, the album reached number four. A greatest-hits compilation emerged soon after, as did Live with the Vancouver Symphony, issued in 2002. That year, Arden also published a book of journal entries called If I Knew, Don't You Think I'd Tell You, following it with another Top Ten LP, 2003's Love Is the Only Soldier. Around that time, she began writing an advice column for Elle Canada and opened a diner in Calgary, spawning the 2003 reality TV show The Arden Diner (the restaurant closed in early 2005). As busy as she was, these other projects didn't keep her from the recording studio; her sixth studio album, Jann Arden, arrived in 2005, with the covers album Uncover Me following in 2007. Both albums reached the number three spot in Canada, where her cover of "Son of a Preacherman" cracked the singles chart. The Top Ten album Free was issued in 2009, followed a year later by the live concert release Spotlight.
In 2010, Arden released Uncover Me, Vol. 2, which included songs made famous by, among others, the Beach Boys, the Smiths, and Peggy Lee. Knopf published her third book, Falling Backwards: A Memoir, in 2011. Her tenth studio LP, Everything Almost, became her highest charting yet, peaking at number two upon its release in 2014, 20 years after the multi-platinum Living Under June. She followed it a year later with a Top Five Christmas album (A Jann Arden Christmas). Arden was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2017 before returning with her 12th full-length, These Are the Days, in 2018. Many of its tracks were written in collaboration with another Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Rock, formerly of the Payola$. ~ Marcy Donelson