[oasis] [columns]

Kenneth Melanson

March 1997

An Interview with Jann Arden

Well hello everyone! Time has come for another Oasis column, and before I get to it, I thought I would just keep you up to date on how things are going with me.

Things lately have been super cool! People have asked me why I didn't have a column last month. Apparently, my column did not make it in on time, and so did not appear. My Christmas holiday was very busy and so I didn't really get a chance to sit down and write it untilnear the end of December.

As for other stuff, I want to wish my dear friend Anthony a happy birthday. His birthday is this month, and he turns legal age to drive. So, Anthony, happy birthday to you kiddo!

Also, last month, my friend Steve turned 20. So hats off to Steve, happy birthday kiddo. I hope you liked to party I threw for you.

One last thing I want to mention, is that I had the chance to meet a fellow writer for Oasis over the weekend. I met Simon, from the Annapolis Valley. He was up to Halifax this weekend, and I managed to run into him at our bar reflections. I believe that we are forming a very good friendship, because we seem to have some common interests, and thoughts, and we just seem to get along so well. I look forward to his return so we can go for coffee and have further spiritual debates. I also convinced Simon to attend a meeting of the youth group which I attend here in Halifax, we had a great time, since mutual friends Darren and Rob gave a presentation on the Internet, so we got to show everyone who hasn't seen Oasis, what exactly Oasis is. I think it might have convinced some people to write for Oasis, so there maybe an influx of even more writers from Nova Scotia!? Who knows!

Well, now to my article! This is an attempt to put a transcript of an interview I had with Jann Arden after one of her concerts, into a somewhat interesting article. The actual article itselfI did not recopy, I wanted to change it around and try to make it different, but for all intents and purposes, it is the same.

On September 19, Jann Arden made her third appearance in Halifax, at the Rebecca Cohn auditorium, playing on the incredible success of her present album, "Living Under June", which followed on the heals of her previous debut album "Time for Mercy".

Jann hit the music scene in 1992, with the release of her first single off "Time for Mercy", "Will you remember me?", which didn't pick up at first. However, when her management decided to release one more single in an effort to see if it would pick up, the single "I would die for you" as released and people found the song fascinating, and picked up on her incredible ability to put life to words, and words into song.

From that point on, interest in her, and her music just sky rocketed, and her management forecasted a second record. "Living under June" was born, with the first release from it, being theupbeat, dance style song "Could I be your girl?", chronicling love, and life. The song, which stayed number one for over 3 months in Canada, earned Jann the Juno for Song of the year, at the 1995 Juno awards. Upon the release of her second single from the album, "Insensitive", people saw that her songs had a uniquely personal way of seeing things. The song, which she did not write, earned Arden the award for Single of the year at the same Juno awards. The song, which was written by Anne Loree, earned her the award for Songwriter of the year.

It was the success of these two songs, I talked to Jann about, after seeing her concert that evening. Upon asking how she finds the topic of her songs, she simply replied "My life. I've been through relationships, and I see how love works, and I just put it to words. I don't know how it is that I come up with some of these things. Sometimes, I things just pop into my head. Other times, objects just inspire me. When I wrote the song "Unloved", the lyrics came to me ina dream."

As we began the interview, I could not help but be graced by Jann's incredible presence and sense of humor. Her presence on stage has not only been described as graceful and elegant, but funny and amusing. "Your sense of humor is just...incredible. Where do you find thestories and gags for your act?", I asked.

After taking a sip of water, as that she was sweating profusely from the concert she just gave, she responded, laughingly, "My mother. No, seriously, I think the whole humor thing, I just get from life. People always comment on my sense ofhumor, and I think where it comes into my shows, the professional portion of it, is from playing in bands that just didn't have a large number of songs to sing, and so the lead singer would say "Talk for a while", so I would tell jokes. Most of the stories I tell, are from real life. If I make something up, its not funny, but if I tell about real life...I was talking to my back up singer, Lin, on the bus about a birthday party I went to when I was sixteen, the Old Spaghetti Factory in Calgary,I sneezed, and pulled a complete string of spaghetti out of my nose. But just to make people laugh, I ate it. I figured since it was out of my nose, it was okay, had it not been out of my nose I wouldn't have done it. But, I did it just to be funny."

"So could people consider you the class clown when you grew up?", I asked.

"I always had to be funny, and that's just the way I am."

"I find it funny though, you are so funny in person, and your songs speak so much of tragedy. Do you have any idea why, or is that, just the way you are?", I jokingly quipped.

"I think that tragedy and comedy go together all the time. I talk to people about this example, your sitting in a coffee shop and you see an old lady or even a young man slip on the ice, and you can't help but laugh! Then you think, "My god! I am sadistic!" I remember being on the eighth avenue mallin Calgary, and it was really windy, and her dress, god love her, it blew up like a tube sock, right over her body. She would get one side down, and the other side would go up. Now, she had nylons and underwear, you know, the whole winter garb on, but I laughed so hard. I think that'show comedy comes into things, just things that happen in life.", she said as I recovered from hysterically laughing.

"Your lifer hasn't always been roses and sunshine though, a long time ago, you were mugged while busking isn't that right?", I asked while still recovering from her story.

"Yeah, I was mugged. The guy obviously wanted the seven dollars I had more then I did, and all I remember,is turning and the POW. I woke up holding my guitar case, and to this day, I think the he broke something in my cheek, because I have some kind of a dent in my cheek. I find it just incredible that it happened, and I still can't believe it.", she said, candidly, as she felt her cheek.

"You were also an alcoholic when you were younger, is that true? Tell me about it. I recall hearing that your manager, Neil MacGonigill, before he signed you, used to go to see you and you would be great, and then the next night, you'd be falling down drunk?", I asked, seriouslylooking at her.

"Actually, the one night he saw me drunk, it was because my duet was held up due to a damn hockey game, so I had a couple of brews.. But that was the only time he saw me drunk. I did drink a lot, and after a while, I realized, I didn't like who I was. I was smacking upcars, and I just didn't like who I was. I didn't go to an AA meeting, I quit myself and it took a great deal of strength, but I am clean now, and I think I am that much greater of a person for it.",she said as she smiled.

Before I closed the interview, I knew that I had to talk about her parents, who, all over her album "Living Under June" and throughout her concert she kept mentioning. "You parents seem to be big role models in your life. My mom is in mine, how did this come to be? I know you talkabout your mom and impersonate her all the time during your shows, what is up with that? I think its hilarious to see, what do your parents think of this?"

"Well, my mother knows I impersonate her, and she thinks its funny", she says pulling out a photo of her parents, Joan and Darryl. "My parents have been there for me all my life. When you are growing up, you look at your parents, and you think "These are people who arehere at your beckon call, give me money, and that they are there to boss you around", and now that I look back on it, they were my garden angles. That's why I wrote the song "Good Mother", because I wanted to somehow put how I felt into a song, and I think I did that. I also wanted tohelp put my feelings of people, and that its really good to be yourself, and we always end the night with this song. My mom couldn't help but cry, when I played her this song, and she loves it.", she said, as she placed the photo back in her wallet.

I would write more from the tape, but I think that I do have a space limit on my column, so I think I will stop it there. But, just some news on Jann. She has completed a new album, the title, unknown to me. It should be released in late March, in Canada, but it will take much longer to get around to the rest of North America. "Living Under June", is fully available in Canada, and the United States in record stores, and if you would like to find out more about Jann Arden, whydon't you visit her official website.

Well, I love to hear from you, the reader, so why don't you tell me what you think of my columns, or send any suggestions to me, you can do so by e-mailing me at School, or at Home. If you want to see my website, and my Jann Arden page, browse my website.

Take care and we will see you next column!And remember, sex is great, but safe sex is better!

Ken Melanson

 


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