Jann Arden was born Jann Arden Richards in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Two of her biggest musical influences during her childhood were John Denver and Karen Carpenter. Arden didn't have abundant dreams of stardom back then, but she did love music and began writing her own songs when she was only 13. At 17 she recorded a debut single, "Never Love a Sailor," released in 1980 under the name Jann Richards. After the single, she spent years performing at numerous clubs and festivals. As a singer, she joined bands like Factor Four and Hip Hugger, perfecting her skills over time. It took Arden 13 years to move from that first independent effort to a full-length release, Time for Mercy, on the A&M Records label. A couple of the singles from the debut album became hits and helped Arden claim a Juno. In 1994, Arden completed a sophomore offering, Living Under June, proving she was no fleeting success.