Que Sera Sera is one of the classic songs Jann Arden reprises on her Uncover Me 2 album. But it could also describe her “what will be, will be” approach to life.
While the Calgary singer isn’t known for sweating the small stuff, she initially had reservations about re-recording songs popularized by Doris Day, Fleetwood Mac and the Beach Boys because of what the original artists might think.
“There’s a saying about only doing songs by dead people,” quipped Arden, who’s on the brink of a national tour that stops on Friday, Feb. 24, for a sold-out show at Red Deer’s Memorial Centre, along with Manitoba country-pop duo Keith and Renée.
But as it turned out, she needn’t have worried.
The 49-year-old Juno Award winning singer didn’t hear any scuttlebutt at all from the original artists and now figures, “They’re probably just happy the cheque’s in the mail.”
As far as hearing much public feedback on the album that includes versions of Only the Lonely, Misty Blue, In My Room, Dreams, Is That All There Is, Glory of Love and You Don’t Own Me, Arden said she has no idea because she doesn’t have “40 hours a day to spend on social media . . . I have a life to live.”
She also has no knowledge of whether it’s getting any radio play or where the recording is on the charts, saying “I don’t pay any attention, so I have no idea at all. . . . The singles go out . . . and I don’t look behind me.”
To say Arden has her hands full with her professional and personal obligations would be an understatement.
She said she’s now looking out for her parents, who are both in their late 70s, with health problems. “My dad’s had some strokes and my mom needs her pacemaker replaced.”
With one brother working in the oilfield and another brother serving a life sentence for murder (Arden has been open about this and recounts it in her recent biography, Falling Backwards), it leaves her as the one their parents lean on.
And yet Arden will soon be flying to New York, Toronto and Victoria for various photo shoots and press ops, before disappearing on tour for weeks and weeks.
Besides having her latest book to promote, Arden is also looking forward to restarting her CBC Radio national summer program Being Jann, continuing various charitable projects, and starting a new album of original material, which will probably be in stores in 2013.
But first things’s first: Uncover Me 2, “surpassed my expectations,” said Arden, who believes this second cover album blows her first platinum-selling Uncover Me right out of the water.
“I love every song on it, I wouldn’t have done them if I didn’t.”
Some were a challenge but it was all a “joyful process,” said Arden, who brought a few interesting choices to the table — including Que Sera Sera, the Day standard her mother used to sing around the house. “I was and still am a big Doris Day fan,” said the singer.
Arden once grilled Anne Murray for tidbits on Day, since Murray had a running correspondence with the 1960s movie actress-turned-animal-rights-advocate.
As someone who rarely leaves home without her tiny “five-pound Morkie” (cross between a Maltese and Yorkshire terrier), Arden confessed that she’s becoming more and more interested in animal causes herself.
Love Hurts, another song Arden wanted to cover, is emblematic of her teenage years. “I played it hundreds of times in my parents’ basement,” admitted the singer, who couldn’t get enough of the Nazareth remake of an Everly Brothers tune.
“It’s a really great unrequited love song” that everyone can relate to, she said, because “nobody gets what they want. Or at least I didn’t.”
Like many teenage girls, Arden optimistically thought she would marry Robbie Benson or John Travolta.
“I loved every heavy, depressing love song” — and radio was filled with them. “Ninety-five per cent of the songs are about falling in and out of love,” she recalled.
The same could be said of Arden’s own hits, including I Could Be Your Girl, Insensitive and I Would Die For You.
But, interestingly, the one original song on Uncover Me 2 is more about life than love.
Arden said the she wrote the tune Mr. McLennen, about the father of her good friend, Sue. He died of a massive heart attack while going to the store one day.
“It’s a fictitious slice-of-life song about how random life is and about how you really have to live your life because things could happen to change it in a second.”