Jann Arden catapulted into the Canadian music scene in 1993, and has since become a beloved music icon who can bring a hall full of people to tears through song, only to have them, moments later, rolling in the aisles from her off-the-cuff comedy.
Last summer it was announced that Jann was going to take on television as the star of a new half-hour comedy series on CTV called Jann. Premiering today — March 20, 2019 — this show follows a fictionalized version of the singer-songwriter who is trying to revive her career while grappling with her mother’s early stages of dementia.
Jann recently spoke to the Toronto Star about her new show:
“I’m such an idiot in this show. It’s fun to laugh at someone who really doesn’t get what’s going on around her. She’s worrying about her and what happens to her, and there’s no sense of responsibility.
“But I really don’t care if people confuse TV Jann with the real me because I think it’s hilarious. You don’t know what’s real or not, which I think makes it a little innovative.”
In the opening episode of Jann, we see our fictional star gigging at a farmers’ market and being paid off with a wheel of cheese.
It’s stretching it, but not all that far from the truth. Years ago, she performed at a corporate gig and was paid, she says, very well. But the sponsor also gave her $15,000 worth of gift certificates redeemable for chocolate.
“My parents loved them. I gave some to charity; every kid I knew got $50 gift cards of chocolate. They were so happy. But I had those gift cards for like 10 years.”
Not everything is based on reality. While her TV mother does have dementia, in the show she has a sister; in real life she has two brothers.
“I did need some separation because it helps to create a new world for me,” says Arden. “It gave me room and space to play a little bit. TV Jann is a fluid character, she has girlfriends and boyfriends, she makes decisions based on her heart about what she’s feeling that day.”
While the show allows its writers to launch into serious subjects such as sexuality and dementia, the bedrock remains the grounded performance of Arden. But she says it was the hardest work she’s ever had to do.
“It was crazy town. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. You’re getting up at 4:30 in the morning, you’re finished by 8 p.m. at night. With touring, you sing for two and a half hours and you’re done. But this was shot in 20 days and everything was really challenging, even just learning my lines. But I did learn a lot. Holy crap.”
Jann premieres tonight on CTV at 8:30pm. Watch the trailer and get ready for some hilarious and heartfelt adventures!
Whether she’s performing her music, hosting an event, or telling her deeply personal and affecting stories, Jann Arden’s wisdom and wit shine in everything she does.
Interested in learning more about Jann and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].