Jann Arden Collaborates With Bette Midler

Jann Arden finally discovers freedom
Posted By JANE STEVENSON, Sun Media
Posted 2 hours ago

At age 47, Jann Arden feels free at last.

Thus the title of her new album, Free, her first original studio record in five years, and 10th overall. It went on sale last week.

“(My manager Bruce Allen) wanted me to really think about an album title that spoke a lot about change,” says the Calgary singer-songwriter, who plays a string of Canadian dates starting next month that won’t conclude until February.

“(The title Free) is not the most original thing in the world, but it’s a great word. And it’s certainly a word fitting for the times that we’re living in right now. I mean, everyone’s looking for their own version of freedom, I guess, from their jobs or their relationships or how they feel about themselves.”

Since releasing her 2007 covers album, Uncover Me, the biggest change in Arden’s career has been hiring Vancouver-based veteran Allen (Bryan Adams, Anne Murray) to manage her. The two were longtime friends previously. They’d have dinner a couple of times a year going back at least a decade.

“He said, ‘You need to let me manage you. Rumour on the street … is that you’re unmanageable,'” Arden says. “And maybe I have been.

“I’ve been managing myself for 20 years (through a management company). You just come to a fork in the road and you take it. There’s nothing that made me go, ‘I gotta get away from these people.’ I just thought I feel stifled and I need to make changes.”

At the time, Arden says she wasn’t even sure how she felt about making music anymore.

“I just thought, ‘Like, am I interested in music?’ ‘Cause I just don’t want to put it out for the sake of doing it. That’s no good for anybody. But I think I was disillusioned. And I was tired of making all the decisions.”

After Arden called Allen for advice, he rang her up in July 2008 when he was in Calgary, seeking a meeting.

“He says, ‘You’re just an untapped talent. You haven’t reached your potential. And you’ve been (screwing) around too much and you’ve got to be more focused.’

Arden, for her part, agreed.

“I think I’ve been lazy. I think I’ve done just as much as I need to make it work.”

After Allen spent two-and-a-half years off and on in Nashville co-producing the SHeDaisy record with old friend Bruce Leitl, he wound up working with Arden on Free using Nashville musicians.

“It was a really organic way of getting there,” Arden says. “I knew it wasn’t even going to be a country record, which it isn’t, but all those organic elements — they work themselves perfectly into anything, whether it’s urban or hip hop. I think you’re going to hear more and more … hybrid sounds.”

Over the past year, Arden also got to record a duet, Angel in the Wings, on Olivia Newton-John’s most recent album, at the suggestion of the song’s composer, Amy Sky — “I could hug Amy for that,” Arden says — and has been corresponding via e-mail with Bette Midler on a couple of songs, after meeting the Divine Miss M backstage at Midler’s Las Vegas show.

“She said, ‘Send me some songs,’ and so it took me a month to get the courage up to send a song. I’ve sent her a few I’ve never recorded, so we’ll see what happens. She was really lovely and I left there thinking, ‘You know, I’ve admired her my whole life, and listened to her records, and she didn’t let me down.'”


Nov 18-19: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver

Nov 23-24: Jack Singer Concert Hall, Calgary

Nov 25-26: Northern Jubilee, Edmonton

Nov 30-Dec 1: Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg

Jan 16-17: National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, Ottawa

Jan 19: Sudbury Arena, Sudbury

Jan 20: John Labatt Centre, RBC Theatre, London

Jan 21: Hamilton Place Theatre, Hamilton

Jan 24: Centre In The Square, Kitchener

Jan 25: K-ROCK Centre, Kingston

Jan 27-28: Massey Hall: Toronto

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5 thoughts on “Jann Arden Collaborates With Bette Midler

  1. She is an AMAZING artist. If you haven’t heard her stuff look it up on YouTube. She is the voice singing “you don’t know me” on “My Best Friends Wedding” soundtrack.
    She’s huge on this side of the border 🙂

    She’s also Opening the tour in my town Nov 16, and I can’t wait to meet her backstage.

  2. That is exactly how I felt when I met Bette too. I admired her so much and it was nice to know that she was as great a person as I pictured her in my head.

  3. Just a heads up for all the Jann Arden fans across the pond, the “LONDON” listed above is London Ontario, Canada, not London England. Sorry for the bad news. however she did do a tour with Michael Buble and came to the UK a year or 2 ago, so she might again!

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