Living

One on one with Jann Arden

The singer/songwriter tells us a little bit about who she really is

One on one with Jann Arden
The singer/songwriter tells us a little bit about who she really is

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a woman like Jann Arden? Here’s your chance to find out. We caught up with her and asked her a few questions, including how being a Canadian celebrity really affects her life, how she unwinds and what’s on her iPod. Keep reading for her inspiring and honest answers. And to be even more inspired by Jann’s life lessons, click here for information on seeing her speak at one of Chatelaine’s My Life, My Way events.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Canadian women today?

I think women everywhere, especially North America, struggle with body image. It’s actually an epidemic. I am not sure why. The media plays a huge part in how we see ourselves. Our society has a very narrow margin of tolerance for anybody who doesn’t look the same as everybody else. We basically are losing ourselves in a giant pit of self-doubt.

Do you have an iPod? What are the most-played tunes on it?

I do have an iPod – can’t live without it! I have too many favourite songs to list. Right now I am listening to East Mountain South, Sia, Death Cab for Cutie, Rosie Thomas, the new Madonna record, Feist’s remix record that just came out…a lot of music. I could go on and on. The new SHeDAISY album is a current fave.

What’s your favourite spot in Canada and why?

The property I own west of Calgary. My parents live on a piece of it as well. We are like the Kennedys – without the politics…or the money.

How do you cultivate balance in your life?

I have a lot of help! My office is paramount to me being able to do all the things I need to do. Friends are always there to lend a hand, picking up dry cleaning or feeding my cats. My parents do a whack of stuff for me as well. I say NO a lot. It’s hard to do, but a really important thing to get used to saying. You have to take time for yourself!

What’s your favourite way to unwind?

I buy The New York Times every Sunday. In Calgary it’s 10 bucks!

How do you feel about your status as a Canadian “celebrity”?

I don’t see myself as a celebrity at all. I live a mile from where I grew up, in fact, a thousand feet from my parents’ – my life is unchanged. I am in music, but not the music business. I have three wonderful people who work with me and who worry about all of that.

How do you think your fame sets you apart (or brings you closer to) Canadian women?

I think women know that I am one of them. Not above, but beside. I hope they recognize a part of themselves in me.

How have you overcome obstacles in your life?

I forgive myself; I keep going forward. I am not what I did, but what I will do.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My friendships.

Why has it been so important to you to be open about your life experiences with your fans?

I believe in people. I like to think that through my ordinary experiences they’ll realize how extraordinary they are. We are all so similar. Our emotional states bind us together no matter where we are from, what we do, who our parents are or what our religion is.

You’ll be speaking at two upcoming My Life, My Way events in Calgary and Ottawa. Can you give us a taste of the kinds of stories you’ll be sharing at these events?

I love the challenge of public speaking. I love the fact that I can show women how valuable humour has been in my life. I learn something about myself every single time I walk out there in front of their shining faces. To share experiences that I have had makes me understand myself better. I never know what I am going to say or what I am going to do. I will be just as surprised as anybody else sitting there. Lots of laughs are always on the menu, maybe even a few tears, but all in the name of going forward and being proud of who you are.