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Please note that some if the information here is very outdated and/or incomplete. Over time I hope I can make it as accurate and up to date as possible.
Full Name - Alanis Nadine Morissette
The Morissette Family
Father - Alan Morissette
Mother - Georgia Morissette
Siblings - Alanis has two brothers, one of which is a twin. The
two sing back-up on her debut album Alanis
Place Of Residence - Alanis spent most of her first eighteen years in Ottawa, Canada. She went to kindergarten in Laar, Germany, where she lived for three years, speaking German fluently. After graduating from high school, she moved briefly to Toronto. She stayed in Toronto for less than a year and eventually moved to Los Angeles, California. The day before the Grammy Awards Alanis moved out of her apartment and placed her belongings in storage. In 1997 she moved into a house in L.A. again which is located near the Ghetty Museum. Aparently her house is very "woody".
Alanis was robbed at gunpoint a few days after moving to Los Angeles, but claims that the experience is part of what makes her love the city so much. She says the "darkness" of the city and its "underlying sense of danger" is what drew her there.
Religious Affiliation - Alanis was raised in a Catholic household and attended church every Sunday. She drew her inspiration to write the song "Forgiven" from her experiences with the church. Although she no longer considers herself a Catholic, she claims to be very interested in the "spiritual aspect of life".
Musical Influences - Alanis' favorite musicians while growing up were ABBA and Annie Lennox. She says that she was inspired to write as honestly as she did on Jagged Little Pill after hearing Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes. "I cried the first time I heard it. That someone could write so openly and honestly opened my eyes to a whole new world. Alanis has been performing a cover of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" in some of her more recent shows. She even wrote an article in the New York Times about how the song has rekindled her interest in listening to music strictly for the pleasure of it. Seal is also one of her favorites.
Alanis began taking jazz and ballet dance classes at the age of seven.
Albums - Alanis has released three full studio albums and an independent single released on her own label.
"Fate Stay With Me" (1987). (Independent label)
Fate Stay With Me - Lamor Records (Alanis' own label)
Alanis - MCA Canada
Now Is The Time - MCA Canada
Alanis is not responsible for Maverick Record's attempts to prevent her previous work from reaching the public. She claims to be very proud of her past and welcomes any attempts to locate and listen to Alanis and Now is the Time.
Jagged Little Pill - Maverick Recording Co.
Sold over 27 million copies worldwide
Jagged Little Pill Singles
You Oughta Know
Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
All lyrics written by Alanis
The album title: in the past when i felt infatuated with someone i wanted to pass through that phase if not skip over it entirely because i felt out of control and overwhelmed...relationships equated confusion and pain to me...upon realizing why relationships exist and understanding myself more, i can now enjoy the heart-palpitating phase of infatuation once again...
Front row: a stream of consciousness recounting of three separate conversations with people or situations that inspired me in some way. the chorus allows me to express how privileged i feel to be able to be intimate with these people to provide an environment for them in which they can feel safe...where i can see all parts of them without judgment.
Thank u: first song written with glen for the record...after having stopped for what felt like the first time in my life and experiencing a deep stillness, i was left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, inspiration and compassion...it felt natural for this to be the first song release as it encapsulates the heart-space from which all the songs on this record sprung.
Are you still mad: on jagged little pill i viscerally reacted to certain people/situations that resulted in a cathartic release...on this song i allow myself the emotional reaction (which i think is important) while also taking responsibility for my role in the relationships which resulted in a sense of closure that had not been realized by my simply reacting or solely pointing the finger.
Baba: my direct experiences with spiritual materialism within certain communities (particularly in the west), and the idealism of eastern/exotic spiritual practices...sensing the dissonance between the competition, elitism and judgment within some of these culturally adopted rituals/gods and compassion itself.
Sympathetic character: i needed to get to the root of why i was so afraid of conflict and being around anger. we live in a society that sees rage as something that is to be repressed or something that is explosive and destructive...we aren't taught how to express our rage, having it be heard and released in a non-destructive way. this song was my recounting my fears of having spent a lot of time around people who couldn't contain (their rage). the writing of this song enabled me to see anger as natural and understand it even more than i had before.
That i would be good: i was meditating in my closet and i asked myself "what do you want?"
The couch: this song was written following a conversation i had with my dad regarding his life story. i was able to see him for who he was (outside of his role as my father) for what felt like the first time. it was very healing for both of us.
Can't not: this song was written in 1995 after i had started touring for jagged little pill and it reflects some of what my mindset was at the time. it was originally being recorded as a b-side but once it was recalled i wanted it on the record.
UR: a brief and retrospective look at my "career" in chronological order. the first verse being about when i was 10 years old. the second verse being about my mid teens. and the third verse being about the time right after the jagged little pill tour. parts of the choruses are other people's perspective and parts are mine.
I was hoping: the choruses in this song are about my having been excited with the newly discovered opportunity that i saw--the relationship i was in--and what it was providing for the both of us. i had never understood the healing quality of safety and intimacy, or the consciousness that was required of me to be in that kind of relationship until that point. the verses are my recounting three separate conversations/experiences.
One: i was safe enough with this person to show him parts of myself that i needed to express in order to change them. i hadn't been able to do so in the past because those parts of myself would have been judged. in being judged i would not have been able to move through them. i also explore and understand the concept of our interconnectedness.
Would not come: revelations based on what happened in the past three years in particular. fame, money, "status"...constantly feeling that i had to look outside of myself to see who i was and to feel bliss. having to "achieve," run, grasp or "become" something other than what i was in order to be worthy/accepted. putting it down on paper made me realize the disservice i was doing to my true self and how transparent and unfulfilling it can be to put all my happiness in the hands of external brass rings.
Unsent: this song started with my writing the first verse and realizing that there were many more people with whom i hadn't had closure...romantic, platonic and professional relationships. some of the names are nicknames, some of them are variations on their names and some of them are their real names...i talked to some of the people that inspired the verses and came to realize that this song encouraged me to connect with these people directly and not rely on songwriting as a way of my avoiding direct/difficult contact.
So pure: both the expression of anger and the expression of joy have been equally vulnerable for me at different times in my life. i allowed myself to be inspired and infatuated with this person who is unapologetically and exuberantly themself.
Joining you: my reaching out to a friend who was questioning his own suffering by my saying that who we are within can manifest itself externally rather than allowing society's illusions to define who we are.
Heart of the house: my tribute to my mother and to femininity in general. i thought in order to function in what i saw as a patriarchal society i had to adopt masculine qualities in order to be treated with the respect i deserved. in doing so i was unwittingly being chauvinistic myself and further confirming the lack of integrating both the feminine and masculine qualities in all of us. upon finding the gray area i naturally wanted to honor my relationship with my mother and with femininity itself.
Your congratulations: feeling for so long that i had to compromise/downplay my power, intelligence or talent in order not to threaten and lose the affection of those that i loved. there being this underlying belief that somehow both people couldn't share the power, that one person had to win and that the other had to "lose." my wanting for it to have been possible for both people to "win." with being in the public eye since i was young, those that were close to me often felt as though i was being inundated with praise from so many people that they themselves (the people i was closest to) wouldn't acknowledge what i was doing.
The pressure question: i see every recording i've done as a snapshot of that time in my life. i feel fulfilled when i feel the songs were inspired and representative of myself in the moment. in taking the valuable time off that i did, it allowed me the freedom to write from a place of love and inspiration (even if it was about pain or confusion) rather than a place of impatience or fear. i consider my records to be "successful" the moment they're finished and i had/have no expectations for them.
You Oughta Know - directed by Nick Egan Shows Alanis' transformation from a crying girl in a prom dress to an angry young woman in leather pants and boots
Hand In My Pocket - directed by Mark Kohr Alanis is a chauffeur in a small-town parade. She says the song is about her day-to-day observations, so the video depicts someone casually observing the people around her. She says she likes the idea of a video that does not focus entirely on her.
Ironic - directed by Stephane Sednaoui Features four different Alanis' riding in the same car. The different characters represent the different aspects of Alanis' personality. Alanis' favorite character is the one sitting in the front passenger seat. She says it reminds her of someone's older sister. There is also another video of Ironic featuring Stephane Sednaoui's daughter in the role of Alanis.
You Learn - directed by Liz Friedlander Follows a bedreaded Alanis on a not-so-average day in New York City. In the video, she causes a car crash, rides a horse, kisses a stranger, jumps off a bridge, plays basketball, and boxes. Each experience offers a lesson . . . "You live, you learn".
Head Over Feet - directed by Alanis Morissette This video was shot at Alanis house. It shows Alanis in front of a very dark background, her lips badly synchronised with the music. At one point she doesn't open her mouth at all while you can hear her singing. It's all a big joke, at some stage she is cracking up laughing and from that point on she's constantly grinning at the camera. There are two versions, one with her laughing and one without.
"Can't Not" Tour Information and Band Info
Alanis' "Can't Not" tour began in the fall of 1995 and it ended in the fall of 1996.
Alanis' Band - Alanis' touring band consist of four men: Taylor Hawkins, Nick Lashley, Jesse Tobias, and Chris Chaney
Taylor Hawkins - Drummer/ percussionist
Nick Lashley - Guitarist
Jessie Tobias - Guitarist
Chris Chaney - Bassist
Alanis has said that if they weren't involved professionally that she would definitely have dated the men in her band," except for Nick, he's married". Her band currently consists only of Nick Lashley and Chris Chaney.
Alanis plays harmonica and guitar in concert.
Opening Acts - Alanis' opening acts were Radiohead, Imperial Drag, K's Choice, Loud Lucy, Our Lady Peace and Frente.
Loud Lucy - Touring to Promote their debut album "Breathe"
Signed on DGC Records
Rumor has it that Alanis was dating Loud Lucy's lead singer, Christian Lane.
New Songs - Alanis has several unreleased songs that she performs in concert.
"King of Intimidation" - about sexism in the world
"Death of Cinderella" - appears to be about Alanis herself
"Can't Not" - about the pressures Alanis faces as a result of her new found fame. In concert, Alanis introduces the song by saying "This song is a response to some of the questions that have been posed to me over the last while."
"No Pressure Over Cappucino" - written about and dedicated to Alanis' twin brother, Wade
"I Don't Know (Weekends)" - performed less often than the rest
"A Year Like This One"
"Pray For Peace"
Lyrics to these songs can be found in the lyrics section.
Covers of Alanis' Songs
An L.A.-based punk band, 10,000 Mona Lisas included a cover of "You Oughta Know" as a hidden track on their debut album.
Weird Al Yankovich performs a spoof of "You Oughta Know" as part of a medeley of alternative rock songs on his most recent album.
Debbie Gibson performed a cover of "You Oughta Know" during a radio interview.
Better Than Ezra has covered "You Oughta Know" in concert as well.
Honors and Distinctions
1990 - Juno Award as Most Promising Female Artist
1995 - Club Act of the Year
1996 - Four Grammy Awards
1996 - Three Juno Awards
1996 - The NARA has said that Jagged Little Pill will surpass the sales record set by Mariah Carey as the top selling debut album by a female.
Jagged Little Pill reached number one on the Billboard charts and seemed to have a permanent place in the top five.
Jagged Little Pill reached the top of the charts in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and other countries as well.
How To Contact Alanis
Alanis On The Net
Alanis has given several on-line interviews to date, three of which can
be found in the Interview section.
Alanis Morissette Fan Clubs and Mailing Lists
Alanis Fan Club
Alanis Morissette: The Actress
Few people know that Alanis was a professional actress before she released her first single. At the age of 11, Alanis starred on Nickelodeon's "You Can't Do That On Television". While on the show, Alanis received a steady stream of hate mail from the show's female fans. She was often cast as the girlfriend of the show's male leads which made her the target of intense jealousy.
Alanis used the money she earned on "You Can't Do That On Television" to fund the recording and release of her first single, "Fate Stay With Me".
In 1991, Alanis appeared in the movie "Just One of the Girls". She acts as well as sings in the film.
She is starring in the movie "Dogma", the fourth major release of cult director Kevin Smith. She plays God in this movie. You can read about the movie at Kevin Smith's homepage (link in the links section). She also had a cameo appearance as God in the Kevin Smith movie "Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back".
Alanis In The Press
Although Alanis has received a substantial amount of press coverage, she seldom grants interviews. She is fearful of media overexposure and therefore shuns the press.
Alanis was the target of criticism after the 1995 Grammy Awards for insulting the media. Before the ceremony, she all but ignored the Canadian media, granting interviews primarily to American reporters. After the show, she did not participate in the traditional question/answer and photo session most winners partake in backstage.