Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alanis Morissette Biography and Full Profile.


Born: 1 June 1974
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada
Best Known As: Singer of "You Oughta Know"

Alanis Morissette's 1991 album Alanis, a collection of danceable pop ditties, was a big hit in Canada and won Morissette a Juno music award while she was still a teenager. In the mid-1990s she reinvented herself as a mournful rock goddess, and her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill sold millions, won four Grammy awards and rocketed her to fame on MTV and around the world. The album included the hit singles "You Oughta Know," "Ironic" and "Hand in My Pocket." Since then she's recorded albums and toured internationally, occasionally charting on adult contemporary hit lists. Her other albums include Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998, with the single "Thank You"), Under Rug Swept (2002, with "Hands Clean"), So-Called Chaos (2004, with "Everything") and Flavors of Entanglement (2008). Morissette released a greatest hits album and an acoustic version of Jagged Little Pill in 2005.
She played the role of God in the 1999 Kevin Smith movie Dogma... Before her singing career took off, Morissette had a role on the kids' TV show You Can't Do That on Television... From 2004-06 she dated actor Ryan Reynolds.
Morissette took to music at an early age, and was playing the piano by age six and writing songs by age nine. When she was 10, she took part in ‘You Can’t Do That on Television’, a children’s variety show on the TV network Nickelodeon. After leaving the show’s cast, Morissette was signed to MCA Canada at the age of 14 and, in 1991, she released her debut album, ‘Alanis’ (1991). It sold 100 000 copies and earned her a Juno Award in 1992, for Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year. The dance-pop album also saw comparisons being drawn between Morissette and other female pop singers at the time like Debbie Gibson, Madonna and Paula Abdul.

Her second album, ‘Now Is The Time’ (1992), a ballad driven album that was slightly less successful than its predecessor. She left MCA soon after, and relocated to Toronto. In 1994, Morissette moved to Los Angeles, where she met songwriter-producer Glen Ballard, who had previously worked with Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and David Hasselhoff. In spite of her dance-pop beginnings, Ballard and Morissette were determined to pursue an edgier, more ‘alternative’ approach. This resulted in ‘Jagged Little Pill’ (1995), released on Madonna’s Maverick Records.
‘Jagged Little Pill’ struck a malodorous chord that resonated with the mainstream CD-buying public that was wallowing in the last throes of grunge, that welcomed an inward-looking, introspective, self-obsessive type of music that was both angry and cathartic. The lead single ‘You Oughta Know’, typified this attitude perfectly – a bitter, harsh song about an unfaithful lover and his cowardice; an anthem for the millions of jilted people who could identify with her when she sang “It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced/Are you thinking of me when you f*** her?” With bassist Flea and guitarist Dave Navarro (both in Red Hot Chili Peppers at the time), as well as Taylor Hawkins (later drummer for the Foo Fighters) as her backing band on ‘You Oughta Know’, it was a combination that could not fail.

But the massive hit on that album was ‘Ironic’, a song that perhaps spawned a million discussions on the lyrics of the song and the meaning of the word “irony”. Comedians and philosophers and linguists alike have pointed out that the events in her song could be seen as coincidental, karmic, bittersweet, cruel or just plain unlucky. (Was it ironic that ‘Ironic’ contained no traces of irony?) Pedantry aside, it was not hard to respond, at least with a wry smile, to lyrics like “It's like rain on your wedding day/It's a free ride when you've already paid” and say, “yep, I’ve had one of those days.”

The album was a massive success, selling more than 15 million copies in the US alone (10 million in UK and Europe). It won four Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Rock Song and Best Female Vocal Performance for ‘You Oughta Know’ and Best Rock Album. She then embarked on an 18 month world tour that culminated in ‘Jagged Little Pill, Live’ (1997), which won the 1998 Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video.

After the tour, Morissette headed to India for six weeks, “the goddess trip”, she calls it. She briefly volunteered at Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity hospital, and also hiked in the Himalayas. She also travelled to Cuba as part of an exchange group (a group that included Leonardo DiCaprio), and it was there she fell in love with actor Dash Mihok (‘The Thin Red Line’ [1998]).

In 1998, Morissette was a guest vocalist on Ringo Starr’s album ‘Vertical Man’ (1998), and on The Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Before These Crowded Streets’ (1998). She also recorded the immensely popular song ‘Uninvited’ for the ‘City of Angels’ (1998) soundtrack.
Later that year, her follow-up album ‘Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie’ (1998) was released – to critical acclaim but commercial disappointment. The anger and rawness of ‘Jagged Little Pill’ was gone. ‘Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie’ eschewed traditional song structures and lyrical formation, making it difficult for radio audiences to get to grips with. The profanities and vitriol were dispensed with, and nowhere is this more evident than on the album’s lead single ‘Thank U’ – the lyrics “thank you India” directly referencing her self-discovery trip to the East and her achievement of inner peace. From angry young woman to tranquil hippie, Morissette’s musical, and indeed personal, direction took another 90 degree turn.

In 1999, the new transcendent Morissette played God in Kevin Smith’s ‘Dogma’ (1999), also starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The film, a humorous indictment of organised religion and especially Catholicism, saw Morissette play a non-speaking, slightly playful and very zen personification of a loving God.

In 2002, Morissette released her fifth studio album, 'Under Rug Swept' (2002), which featured the hit 'Hands Clean' and ‘So Unsexy’, found the singer-songwriter taking the production reins and delivering arguably her most accomplished album. She was also the sole songwriter and producer for the first time. Later in 2002, she released a DVD called ‘Feast on Scraps’ (2002), which was a DVD of live concert and backstage documentary footage, and a CD containing eight previously unreleased songs from the ‘Under Rug Swept’ recording sessions.

In 2004, ‘So-Called Chaos’ was released, her sixth studio album. In ‘So-Called Chaos’, Morissette “revisit(s) her old themes of verbose insecurity, self-discovery, and empowerment” (The New Rolling Stone Album Guide 2004), but “allow(s) her music to stagnate under a pop sheen that…recycles the techno touches and Middle Eastern flourishes of earlier efforts but this time weds them to the weakest songwriting of her career.” The public seemed to agree, and it was Morissette’s lowest selling album.

In 2005, Morissette released an acoustic version of ‘Jagged Little Pill’ to commemorate the album’s tenth anniversary. In the autumn of 2005, she opened for The Rolling Stones on tour, and also released a greatest hits album, ‘Alanis Morissette: The Collection’ (2005). She contributed the song ‘Wunderkind’ to the soundtrack of the film ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ (2005).

In 2007, she recorded a tongue-in-cheek cover of the raunchy and provocative Black Eyed Peas song ‘My Humps’, which she reworked into a piano driven, mournful number. In 2008, she released ‘Flavors of Entanglement’ (2008), where she collaborated with producer Guy Sigsworth (Madonna and Bj√∂rk). Allmusic.com called her lyrics “a mangled web of garbled syntax, overheated metaphors, and mystifying verbal contortions”, while Rolling Stone saw the music as possessing a “vaguely New Age grandeur”. ‘Flavors of Entanglement’ was called a “classic breakup record” by Allmusic.com, referring to Morissette’s high publicity split with actor Ryan Reynolds and his subsequent defection to actress and bona fide bombshell Scarlett Johansson.
Along with counterparts Jewel and Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette was one of the most successful singer/songwriters to ride in on the second wave of grrrl rock in the mid-'90s. Born on June 1, 1974, Alanis Nadine Morissette and her two brothers were raised in Ottawa, Canada by French-Canadian and Hungarian parents. By the age of 10, the precocious Morissette had landed a role on the Nickelodean TV show "You Can't Do That on Television" and recorded her first single, "Fate Stay With Me." She spent most of her pre-pubescent years performing throughout Canada, singing "O Canada" at sporting events and even making the de rigueur appearance on "Star Search."

The hard work paid off and at 14 Morissette was offered a recording contract with MCA/Canada. Her debut, Alanis, a collection of dance-pop songs, was released in 1991 and went platinum in Canada. That year, Morissette won the Juno award (Canada's Grammy) for Most Promising Female Vocalist. Her sophomore effort, 1992's Now Is the Time, was recorded and released before Morissette graduated from high school.

However, this album -- another collection of teeny bop dance tunes -- sold only half as well as her debut, and at age 17 it looked as if Morissette's career was on the wane. After high school, Morissette moved to Los Angeles where she had the good fortune to hook up with songwriter/producer Glen Ballard, known for his work with Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul and Wilson Phillips. The creative chemistry between Ballard and Morissette was evident from the beginning. Ballard pushed Morissette to pursue darker, edgier themes in her music, venturing away from the cutesy teenager and toward the introspective young woman.

"Most of the songs are, in a roundabout way, actually addressed to myself," says Morissette of her work with Ballard at this time. "There's a certain aspect of the songs that's very confessional, very unadulterated...It was a very unfettered, spiritual experience."

The resulting demo tape was shopped around to the major labels and Madonna's Maverick imprint eventually signed Morissette. Jagged Little Pill, was released in the summer of 1995. On the strength of the break-out single "You Oughta Know," the album reached platinum status and the Top 10. Follow-up singles "Hand in My Pocket," "All I Really Want" and "Ironic" kept Jagged Little Pill on the album charts the next two years, ultimately selling 28 million copies worldwide.

Morissette was showered with industry awards for Jagged Little Pill, including Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album. Her much-anticipated follow-up, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, was released in November 1998 on Maverick has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.

David Basham After finishing her recent tour with Tori Amos, Alanis Morissette has headed to New Zealand and Australia for a month-long tour, though she took time out to tape an episode of "MTV Unplugged" scheduled to air next month. Morissette's stripped-down set was recorded at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in mid-September, during which the Canadian songstress performed acoustic versions of such songs as "You Oughta Know," "Uninvited," and a cover of the Police's "King of Pain." The Alanis Morissette "Unplugged" is currently scheduled to be broadcast on MTV on November 1. Morissette also plans to release an accompanying "Unplugged" album via Maverick Records on November 23, and a version of "That I Would Be Good" from the taping is tentatively set to be issued as a single in early November. The song originally appeared on last year's "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie."

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