Canadian singer/songwriter Jann Arden was born Jann Arden Richards in Calgary, Alberta in 1962. Two of her biggest musical influences during her childhood were John Denver and Karen Carpenter. Arden didn't have abundant dreams of stardom back then, but she did love music and began writing her own songs when she was only 13. At 17 she recorded a debut single, "Never Love a Sailor," released in 1980 under the name Jann Richards. After the single, she spent years performing at numerous clubs and festivals. As a singer, she joined bands like Factor 4 and Hip Hugger, perfecting her skills over time. It took Arden 13 years to move from that first independent effort to a full-length release, Time for Mercy, on the A&M Records label. A couple of the singles from the debut album became hits and helped Arden claim a Juno. In 1994, she completed a sophomore offering, Living Under June, proving she was no fleeting success.
The album Happy? followed in 1997, and Blood Red Cherry came out in 2001. A greatest-hits comp emerged soon after, as did Live with the Vancouver Symphony. The next few years found Arden writing and trying her hand at reality television. She came out with a couple books of poetry and personal narrative during this time; If I Knew, Don't You Think I'd Tell You was published in 2002, and I'll Tell You One Damn Thing, and That's All I Know followed in 2004. She also went on to author an advice column for Elle Canada. On top of all this, the musician started a diner in Calgary, The Arden, which in 2003 spawned a reality TV show called The Arden Diner. In spite of all the publicity, the restaurant closed in early 2005. As busy as she was, Arden's extracurricular activities didn't keep her out of the studio; she released another album, Love Is the Only Soldier, in 2003 and a self-titled full-length two years after that. Arden released a covers album in early 2007, the aptly titled Uncover Me, and followed it up with a Canadian tour. Her tenth studio album, Free, arrived in 2009, followed in 2010 by the live CD/DVD Spotlight. A second album of covers, Uncover Me, Vol. 2, arrived the following year. ~ Charlotte Dillon, Rovi