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The Write Stuff

thanks to Heather

From the Daily News:

When Alanis Morissette says she feels pregnant, you have to be careful not to jump to the obvious conclusion. There’s no baby on the way for the Ottawa-born singer and her fiance, actor Ryan Reynolds.

This is her slightly eccentric way of describing where she’s at in terms of songwriting.

“I’ve been writing a bunch of songs, actually,” Morissette says. “This period of my life has been very rich, with the engagement, just growing up and turning 30. I’ve filled probably four journals and typically, I start writing a new record after I’ve filled three, so I’m more than pregnant right now …

“With songs,” she is quick to add, sensing a moment of astonishment on the other end of the line. “Yikes. Not really pregnant. Let’s get married first, OK.”

OK, OK. We’re just glad to hear she’s writing new material. With the recent news of a TV series in the works, guest appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Degrassi: The Next Generation, and a plan to re-record her breakthrough disc, Jagged Little Pill, fans may have begun to wonder if there’s still time for songwriting.

Evidently so. The plan is to start work on a new disc next year, although Morissette isn’t sure she can wait that long.

She may not have a choice. Just look at her schedule in the next few months. On Monday, she’ll be in Regina to shoot a scene with Reynolds in the romantic comedy Just Friends. Next month, she’s in the studio to reinterpret Pill with her touring band, then work on her TV series. There’s a European tour in April, a North American excursion this summer and a greatest hits disc expected in the fall.

The television series is We’re With the Band, a reality-style comedy drawn from her own backstage experiences. The idea developed while she and her photography director and longtime friend Brian Blondell were editing the footage for her 2002 DVD, Feast on Scraps.

“A lot of the footage that we didn’t wind up using, and some of it that we did use, was very funny to us,” Morissette says. “We would laugh really hard in the editing room and say, ‘it would be so fun to share this with people.’ A lot of stuff that happens is crazier than art.”

Some of the comedy is inspired by encounters with fans. Morissette gives an example: “I’ll be somewhere and I’ll be really frazzled and someone will say, ‘Are you Alanis Morissette?’ and I’ll say, ‘Not right now.’

“One time, I said that to someone, and they said, ‘well when you see her, tell her that I really enjoyed her second record.’”

“It’s just little things like that where I’m trying to be kind of coy and boundaried and they slip it under the table so sweetly. There are so many subtle things like that,” says Morissette, an executive producer of the series. She financed a movie-length episode more than two years ago, but put the series on hold until now.

Another major project for her is the acoustic version of Jagged Little Pill, which will be released June 13, exactly a decade after the multimillion-selling disc first came out. She will bring her touring band into the studio to re-record the songs with the disc’s original producer, Glen Ballard.

“We were initially just going to reissue the record, but someone said to me,‘why would you do that? Anyone who really wanted that record already has it.’

“So I just thought, ‘what would be fun to do that would not only tip the hat to 10 years ago, but also give an indication of the evolution of the last 10 years as a singer, writer, musician.’ My bandmates and I love the acoustic versions of our songs.”


‘Different emotion’

“It often brings out a different emotion than the one that is sort of felt in the plugged-in, rocking-out version,” she says.

“The typical example is You Oughta Know … whereas the plugged version is angry and seemingly empowered, the acoustic version has more of a sweet kind of patheticness to it.

“I find that different emotions come out and I also think that there’s a lot more focus on the lyrics. Because I’m a lyricist, that always makes my day.