Arden was born in Calgary and moved as a child to Springbank, Alberta, where she attended Springbank Community High School.
Her breakthrough came with her critically acclaimed 1993 debut album Time for Mercy and her first single "I Would Die For You". Her success grew with 1994's Living Under June, which featured her biggest hit to date outside of Canada, "Insensitive", which was released as a single from the soundtrack to the Christian Slater film Bed of Roses (number 12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100). Another single from that same album, "Could I Be Your Girl", has also had significant, and consistent airplay on Canadian adult contemporary radio since its release, and featured a dance remix version which circulated on pop radio at the time
Subsequent albums include 1997's Happy?, 2000's Blood Red Cherry, and 2003's Love Is the Only Soldier. She also released a greatest hits album, Greatest Hurts, in 2001, and a live album, Jann Arden Live with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (2002). In 2005, she released her eighth album (her sixth album of new material); self-titled Jann Arden.
In 1998, respondents to Chart magazine's year-end reader's poll named Arden the Canadian celebrity most deserving of her own talk show. As part of her public honesty about her family life, she has revealed that one of her brothers is serving a life sentence in prison, and that her song "Hangin' by a Thread" is dedicated to him. Arden released her ninth album, Uncover Me, on February 6, 2007. This album was her first comprising cover songs exclusively, except for one original piece, "Counterfeit Heart". This was followed by her Uncover Me Tour across Canada during the spring of 2007.
On the weekend of March 24, 2007, Arden was admitted to intensive care for heart related concerns, diagnosed as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a condition commonly associated with acute stress and exhaustion.
She had a 2007 USA summer tour with Michael Bublé. In 2010, they also carried the Olympic torch. She co-wrote his 2013 song "Close Your Eyes".
In September 2009, Arden released her tenth album, Free, and its first single, "A Million Miles Away," in June. She then undertook a cross-country Canadian tour, which began in November 2009. She toured with proceeds going to the "Raise-a-Reader Concert Series".
In November 2010, Arden released her first ever live CD and DVD set, entitled Spotlight. Her latest autobiography, Falling Backwards, was released on November 1, 2011, along with a second album of cover songs, Uncover Me 2. Arden's thirteenth album, Everything Almost, was released April 29, 2014 through Universal Music Canada.
Arden has also written two books of personal reflections and poetry, If I Knew, Don't You Think I'd Tell You, released in 2002 and I'll Tell You One Damn Thing, and That's All I Know in 2004.
She currently authors a monthly advice column in Elle Canada magazine, and also regularly contributes thoughts, ideas and poems on her personal website.
Arden was also the owner of a diner in Calgary named The Arden which closed down in April 2005. In 2003 she starred in her own Canadian TV reality show called The Arden Diner, a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of the hectic restaurant.
Six of Jann Arden's songs ("Good Mother," "You Don't Know Me," "Hangin' By A Thread," "In Your Keeping," "Mend," and "Sleepless") were featured on the WB teen drama Dawson's Creek. "Good Mother" was featured in two different episodes and is a favorite music moment among fans of the show.
She concludes every concert performance with the song "Good Mother."
Living Under June
How do you cool your lips, after a summer's kiss?
How do you rid the sweat, after the body's bliss?
How do you turn your eyes, from the romantic glare?
How do you block the sound
Of a voice you'd know anywhere?
1-Oh, I really should have known
By the time you drove me home
By the vagueness in your eyes, your casual good-byes
By the chill in your embrace
The expression on your face, told me
Maybe, you might have some advice to give
How to be insensitive, insensitive ooh, insensitive
How do you numb your skin, after the warmest touch?
How do you slow your blood, after the body rush?
How do you free your soul, after you've found a friend?
How do you teach your heart
It's a crime to fall in love again?
Oh, you probably won't remember me
It's probably ancient history
I'm one of the chosen few
Who went ahead and fell for you
I'm out of vogue, I'm out of touch
I fell too fast I feel too much
I thought that you might have some advice to give,
How to be insensitive