Alanis Morissette built up an impressive fanbase in the 90s as “that angry girl,” building up an impressive discography of songs about cheating boyfriends and the humor of irony. Now, older and at the other end of the spectrum, Alanis is getting set to build up a new following as the next big name in advice columnists. Ms. Morissette hopes to capitalize on her name to help those angry, confused fans find a path away from their angst on a weekly basis.
Dear Alanis, It’s Ironic. Don’t You Think?
Ms. Morissette will begin answering letters from the lost and lovelorn on January 16, which is when her first column will appear in The Guardian, but the singer has been offering up advice on anything and everything on her own podcast for some time now. Described as advice on relationships and well being, the podcast is featured on the “Thank U” singer’s website.
Alanis sees herself as that one meddlesome aunt that everyone has and she thinks each if us could benefit from a little input from time to time.
“I’m definitely a therapy girl. I think that’s quite obvious,” Morissette says. “I don’t want to say everyone should [have therapy], but do I think everyone might benefit from it? Yes. But I’m aware that a lot of people have great resistance to it.”
Ms. Morissette says she’s uniquely qualified to be the world’s free therapist, referring to her upbringing and not to her angsty music. She says she served as a sounding board for her extended family as a young girl and teenager. The “You Oughta Know” singer says she was a superb listener for her parents, brothers, aunts — anyone that felt a need to pour out their soul to an understanding ear.
Getting a leg up on her advice column, Alanis commented on her own troubles, which revolve around eating disorders. Revealing personal battles with bulimia and anorexia, Ms. Morissette expressed her feeling that food-related addictions are the hardest to overcome, because, unlike alcohol or drugs, an addict can’t just quit eating.
“The big question for me around eating-disorder recovery is, ‘What is sobriety with food?’ You have to eat, so how can one go from, in my case, binging and purging, starving, overeating, the scale going up and down – how can I go from that to a ‘sober’ approach?”
When she finds an answer — and Ms. Morissette is determined enough to keep at it until she does — there’s little doubt that her Guardian readers will be the first to find out about it.
The 20th Anniversary Of Jagged Little Pill Reminds Alanis Morissette Of Her Long, Strange Journey To Hollywood
Alanis had two albums out when she made the career-altering decision to pick up and move from her Ottawa home to Hollywood, California. She found the idea of jumping right into Los Angeles to be more than a little frightening, so the “Ironic” singer spent some time in Toronto, first. She kept busy, writing new music day and night, so, by the time she did arrive in California, Ms. Morissette had more than 50 songs at her disposal.
As she became settled with life in Hollywood and found a co-writer with whom she shared some professional chemistry (Glen Ballard, who previously worked with Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul), it became easy to forget about the outside world and settle into a writing groove.
Eventually, and with Ballard’s help, Alanis had an album to present to Warner Bros., but she says the reception she received was far from warm. She says the studio felt Jagged Little Pill was too angry and too intense.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m 19 and I’m intense,'” Ms. Morissette said, laughing. “‘If you want a Steely Dan record, why don’t you go sign a Steely Dan band? Because I’m 19 and I have some intensity, so you just may have signed the wrong person.'”
In the end, Warner Bros. let Alanis use the versions of the songs she preferred and now, 20-years later, the album is essential listening for millions of fans.
[Featured image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]