Alanis Morissette The energetic and talented new singer on the radio is not what you would call laid-back. She is in no way a “here today, gone tomorrow” singer. I believe, she has and will revolutionize the entertianment industry. The daughter of Alan and Georgia Morissette, Alanis, an Ottawa native, is one of three children in the family. She has an older brother named Chad and a twin brother named Wade.
Although the name Alanis is Greek itself, Alanis Morissette has no Greek background whatsoever. As it turns out, Alan Morissette wanted his daughter to have a female version of his name, but he wasn’t particularly fond of the name Alanna. One day, by chance, he spotted the name “Alanis” in a newspaper (Chaplin 21). Alanis loved dancing and acting when she was young and probably still does. She started learning ballet and jazz dancing at the age of 7 (Chaplin 21).
She has also done a lot of stage and theater work, including a part on the highly popular kids’ television show “You Can’t Do That on Television” when she was 11 (Chaplin 21). Alanis also appeared in the TV movie “Just One of the Girls” in 1993, which starred Corey Haim (Trynin). Alanis also seems to be quite fond of teaching, as she once suggested that she might have been an English or drama teacher if she hadn’t been involved in show business (Willman 5). She has been writing songs for fun since 9. Alanis admired the music and character of Olivia Newton John from “Grease” tremendously when she was young, which is the main reason why she was, and is so interested in music. She also loved the writing style of George Michael. With the help of a friend of the family who was in the music business, Alanis released her first ever single at the young age of eleven.
The song was called “Fate Stay With Me”, and it was independently produced with money coming out of her own pocket. The song was not a hit by any means, but it got some air-play on Canadian radio stations (Willman 5). At age 13, Alanis met Leslie Howe, who did the group one-to-one, and they started writing together. Eventually, she was signed to MCA, and she recorded her first album, “Alanis,” in 1990 (Cuellar G7). Released in 1991, the music on this album is mostly pop and dance, along the lines of Paula Abdul. This recording proved to be a big hit in her homeland, as “Alanis” went platinum in Canada.
She was labeled as a teenager pop/dance sensation. Her success won her a Juno Award which is Canada’s version of the Grammy, as the most promising new female vocalist (Trynin). Her sophomore album “Now Is the Time” was released by MCA in late 1992 (Trynin). “Now Is the Time” is also a pop album, but this recording as a whole seems to be more mature than her first album that sounds less like a dance album. “Now Is the Time” nevertheless went platinum in Canada (Trynin). Despite being relatively well known in Canada, Alanis was a virtual stranger in the United States.
Her biggest gigs so far were singing the national anthem at the first Ottawa Senator’s game and singing her song “Too Hot” on the 1992 NHL Awards (Chaplin 21). This may all change after Alanis is signed to Madonna’s Maverick Label. After trying to co-write with hundreds of people and being disappointed each time, Alanis finally met Glen Ballard through MCA publishing, and immediately the two enjoyed each other’s writing style. Her third release, “Jagged Little Pill” showed a very different Alanis than in the previous two albums. Instead of using MIDI machines, sequencers and other electronic gadgets, Alanis Morissette has human band players (Willman 5). Also, the lyrics in this album are much more intelligent, meaningful, and bitter.
Alanis believes that the catalyst for her change in attitude and character was her move from Canada to Los Angeles, where she learned to live independently in a big city. Alanis says that she is now mature enough to tap into an honesty that she wasn’t ready to deal with when she was younger. Most of the songs on “Jagged Little Pill” are in one way or another autobiographical. People are loving her work, as her album is now a big hit across the United States (Trynin). To those who think the 1980s lacks focus, here’s one bit of advice; take a pill, a Jagged Little Pill! Although she only recently passed her 20th birthday, Alanis Morissette’s Maverick debut proves she has a wealth of insight and a sense of humor that’s at once untainted and mature.
“People have always said I was an old soul,” says Alanis. “They said I was always a little more intense and introspective than everyone was used to seeing girls be, so they didn’t know where to categorize me.” It all boils down to this one fact: “I want to walk though life instead of being dragged through it.” (Trynin) That’s a pretty accurate description of the honest, frequently provocative songs on Jagged Little Pill, Alanis’ Maverick debut. The native of Ottawa Canada, uses her own experiences from a Catholic school upbringing, her many travels through Europe as a youth, and her years as a teenager living alone in Toronto as a springboard for some striking, universal statements. In the incisive “All I Really Want”, Alanis pleads for fulfillment of needs both physical and psychic, while the stirring “Not The Doctor” offers a steely-eyed declaration of emotional independence (Chaplin 21). Works Cited Chaplin, Julia. “Alanis in Wonderland.” Spin Magazine Nov.
1995: p.21. Cuellar, Catherine. “Alanis Jams with Ease.” Dallas Morning News 1 Aug. 1995: p.G7. Trynin, Jennifer. “Jagged Little Pill.” USA Today Oct.
17. 1996: (p. unknown). Willman, Cris. “Quiet Riot Girl.” Entertainment Weekly Mar. 15.