CBC Books recently had the opportunity to ask the Canadian singer, radio host and now author Jann Arden about her new memoir Falling Backwards, and her studio album Uncover Me 2. We also collected some of your questions and posed them to Jann. Here are her responses!
Q: Falling Backwards looks back at the first 30 years of your life, from your childhood in the prairies to getting your music career off the ground. What were the most challenging parts of your story to write? Which parts gave you the most joy to revisit?
JA: I enjoyed writing the entire book. Every chapter that unfolded in my mind and then eventually onto the page felt like a relief of sorts. I had a LOT of laughs along the way.
Q: The book was released in November along with your latest album Uncover Me 2. How does the experience or feeling you get from expressing yourself in a literary form differ from expressing yourself musically?
JA: I think they are very similar for me. When you are writing anything of a personal nature, it's always a risk. You always open yourself to criticism. Obviously a book allows me to go into more detail, but the method is very similar. I don't prefer one form over the other.
Q: In the book, you describe this important moment when you heard the Carpenters' Ticket to Ride for the first time and how revelatory it was to you. Have you ever been jolted like by a work of literature?
JA: The first time I read [George] Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath I was dumbfounded. The way he described the mundane meals eaten on the side of a dusty road, or of the profound effect that sorrow had on a down-and-out, God-fearing family, took my breath away. I try and read that book every few years...it always inspires me.
Q: You mention that you've struggled with self-destructive behaviour and how your mom once said, "Thank God you could sing, or who knows where you'd have ended up." What could have happened to you if your music career never took off?
JA: I have no idea. I think I would have survived no matter what. I never faulted for long. I never give up. I am doing what the universe had lined up for me...
Q: We've got some questions from our readers for you as well. These one comes from @BCFamilyMedia via Twitter: What does it take to write a compelling first sentence and paragraph in a memoir?
JA: You cannot think about it. You have to just start writing. You can't try to be clever. People can see right through someone who is " trying" to write.
Q: Katherine Kaufman wants to know: Outside of the music and media worlds, who would you say was the most influential person in your career?
JA: My parents.
Q: A question via Facebook from Scarletts Garden: When do you start to get a feeling that a song you're writing or have written could be a hit?
JA: I never know ... I really don't. I only know what I like.
Q: Yvonne Thompson emailed us this question: "I have a 20-year-old son who is studying Applied Music -- Percussion at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont. What advice do you have for a young aspiring musician today and a mom who supports him wholeheartedly?"
JA: Be yourself at all times. Persistence is bigger than talent.
Thanks to Jann for taking the time to answer these questions and thanks to you for submitting them. We're now going to reveal the three lucky winners of our random draw!
Congratulations to Michael Mercier, Katherine Kaufman and Scarletts Garden! They will each receive an autographed copy of Falling Backwards
, as well as a Jann Arden necklace
Related links:Jann Arden on Q