Alanis Nadine Morissette was born on the 1st of June 1974,
to French-Canadian and Hungarian parents. Raised in Ottawa, Canada, Alanis got
her start as a pop diva in the Canadian music industry, an industry that has
seen fellow natives Shania Twain and Celine Dion also rise to international
The young ingénue was playing piano by the age
of 6, and songwriting by the age of 9. Thrust into the spotlight at 10 years
old, Alanis was cast in the children's television variety show You Can't Do
That on Television. The child star also had a single on her plate, entitled,
"Fate Stay With Me".
While her work on You Can't Do That on Television had
already given Alanis name power, it was her meeting with Stephan Klovan in 1987
that turned her into a real pop diva. Impressed by Alanis' talent after having
cast her to perform in Ottawa's Tulip Festival, Klovan helped Alanis land a
string of gigs such as singing pop-inspired versions of Canada's national
anthem at sporting events, and even a shot on the talent show Star Search.
Alanis was signed to MCA/Canada at the age of 14 and in
1991, her pop-induced self-titled debut (at the time she was penned simply as
Alanis) was released. At a time where female pop music was at its peak and
riding on the coattails of pop stars Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and Belinda
Carlisle, Alanis was a hit.
While still in high school, Alanis already had a
platinum album and a Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist. After the
pop princess did not see as much success with her second album release, Now Is
the Time, Alanis had to reevaluate her career choice.
After becoming a high school graduate, the former
teenybopper moved to Toronto in hopes of pumping some life into her fading
career as a musician. But her efforts were in vain.
With nothing to lose and only plenty to gain, Alanis
headed to Los Angeles, and had the good fortune of hooking up with
songwriter-producer Glen Ballard in 1994. Along with Ballard, who had
previously worked with Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul, Alanis was given the
canvas to reach the core of her soul and sing with her emotions.
The resulting demo tape made its way to several record
companies, but Madonna's Maverick was the lucky label that signed Alanis, and
saw the fruits of her talent. Madonna even bought Alanis a hefty watch as a
gift for the success of Alanis' album, Jagged Little Pill.
The album, which has sold more than 16 million copies
since its release, spawned hit singles such as "Ironic", "You Learn," and "You
Oughta Know." The latter can be considered a 90's version of "I Will Survive,"
a tribute to women who have been hurt in the past by a man.
Jagged Little Pill, the result of Alanis' introspection
and soul-searching earned the female rocker Grammys for Album of the Year, Best
Female Vocal Performance for "You Oughta Know" and Best Rock Album (out of a
total of 6 Grammy nominations). The album also set the record for the
best-selling US debut by a female solo artist, a record previously held by
After the phenomenal success of Jagged Little Pill,
Alanis took some time off to contribute a single to the City of Angels
soundtrack, and appear as God in the film Dogma. She also went to India to do
some soul-searching of a different kind, this time to find inner peace.
The result of this hiatus was the follow up to Jagged
Little Pill, entitled Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. With singles such as
"Thank U", "Unsent" and "So Pure", listeners were treated to another side to
the former "Jagged Pill": a much softer, less edgy one.
Although the album did receive critical acclaim, it did
not see as much success as Jagged Little Pill (which was a tough act to
follow). Alanis showed that she is no longer angry, and that she is more
dimensional than the alternative rocker we once knew. She was finally at peace,
having found herself, and the album had a sense of closure and renewal.
Her latest contribution to the music industry, Alanis
Unplugged, consists of acoustic recordings. As for acting, she made her
on-stage debut in March, performing in The Vagina Monologues, and recently
appeared on an episode of Sex and the City, sharing an on-screen kiss with
Sarah Jessica Parker.
Alanis Morissette's aggressive yet genuine lyrics have
given women worldwide a voice, and have shown men and women everywhere what
they "oughta know" -- that one can overcome adversity and heartache -- and