Jann Arden: Good Mother
Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda
artist: Jann Arden
songwriter: Jann Arden
date released: 1994 by Jann Arden
Jann Arden was born Jann Arden Richards on March 27, 1962, in Springback, Alberta. There's no record of what she was like as a child because her mom has remained mum about Jann's childhood. Unlike many famous people who say, "I wanted to be a singer since I was five years old," Arden never dreamed that she'd end up where she is today. She wanted to be a teacher for a while, but that required some follow-through, and she wasn't big on follow-through after high school.
Songwriting was an early talent. As a young girl, Arden wrote in a diary, composed her first song at age 13, and completed the odd homework assignment, but otherwise didn't really spend much time with a notebook in hand. Then, from 1986 to 1988, passion emerged, and she wrote every song imaginable.
Singing was another thing Arden never did as a child. Like every other teenager, she sang along with her Carpenters and ABBA records, but that was it. Then in the '80's she started singing for several local bands to wet her feet as a performance artist.
One night, a record executive agreed to hear her perform and the only venue available was the Pumphouse Theatre in Calgary. There was Arden poised on stage, singing, standing next to a giant paper-maché penis protruding from the wall. She's been with that executive's record company since 1992.
With regard to "Good Mother," Arden spoke candidly with The Gazette about her family:
"There are exceptions to every rule, and I think there are people that probably get really lucky and are in the right families and get really great parenting, and the parents do spend that extra time and get them the help they need for all of that. But how often does that happen?
Let's be honest. I mean, usually, it's like, "Shut up," "Talk to your mother!" from her alcoholic father. Ordinary people just don't have time. While I was growing up, I didn't even know my dad. I mean, he was a wonderful man, and I loved him, but I grew up in the '60s and the '70s, and my dad worked. He lived hard, and he drank hard, so I didn't see him much. I mean, I'm not scarred for life because of it. I understood my life, and my mom certainly made up for everything, but I'm not going to paint this perfect picture of what my family was."
So did Jann have a good mother? Only Jann knows for sure---what is a good mother anyway? There is one thing she knows for certain; she's not Celine Dion.
"Just be yourself."
The National interviews Jann Arden after the death of her good mother.