Family & Companions
Alanis Morissette turned her angst into an art form and delivered one of the most groundbreaking albums of all time with her 1995 opus, Jagged Little Pill. The iconic album bridged the gap between post-Nirvana grunge and pre-Britney Spears pop with the singer-songwriter's unapologetic and haunting tracks such as the confessional "You Oughta Know" and "Hand in My Pocket." The Grammy Award-winning album also branded Morissette as the poster girl for the 1990s "angry young woman," an alternative rock answer to Madonna's overt sexuality and Courtney Love's gutter-punk attitude. However, Morissette's multilayered music - as well as her quiet, down-to-earth demeanor - reached out to more than just Generation X rockers and riot girls, extending her 15 minutes of fame. She released several other successful albums and had memorable acting roles in films like "Dogma," (1999) and on television on programs such as "Weeds" (Showtime, 2005-12). Yet for all her efforts both in music and the acting realm, none delivered the caliber and pop culture impact of Jagged Little Pill, which put Morissette on the map as one of the most definitive artists of her generation.
Alanis Nadine Morissette was born on June 1, 1974 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Alan Richard Morissette and Georgia Mary Ann Feuerstein. She had a twin brother, Wade, and an older brother, Chad. The future star learned to play the piano at the age of six, and recorded her first song, "Fate Stay with Me," in 1986. That same year, Morissette made her acting debut on the children's variety show, "You Can't Do That on Television" (CTV/Nickelodeon, 1979-1990), where she appeared in comedy skits and was doused with green "slime" in several episodes. She also had an uncredited role opposite 1980s teen idol, Corey Haim, in the cross-dressing comedy "Just One of the Girls" (a.k.a. "Anything for Love") (1993). Using the stage name Alanis Nadine, she auditioned and made the first round of the popular talent show "Star Search" (syndicated, 1983-1995), before landing a record deal with MCA Records Canada. Going only by her first name, Morissette released two dance-pop albums in her native country, "Alanis" (1991) and "Now Is The Time" (1992). At age 18, she moved to Toronto to work on a new album, however, Morissette could not quite find the musical chemistry she was looking for. That was about to change.
In 1993, Morissette met producer and songwriter Glen Ballard, who previously worked with artists such as Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul. The duo collaborated and recorded Morissette's breakthrough album, Jagged Little Pill. She also signed a contract with Maverick Records, founded by pop legend Madonna in 1992. Jagged Little Pill slowly crept to the top of the charts, fueled by the first single "You Oughta Know." Morissette came guns blazing with a carnal, angry, and explicit track aimed at an ex-boyfriend who did her wrong. The song was allegedly written about her former lover, the comic actor Dave Coulier, whom America fell in love with as "Uncle Joey" on the ABC family comedy, "Full House" (1987-1995). Her follow-up singles "Hand In My Pocket" and "Ironic" did equally well on the charts, and received heavy rotation on radio and MTV. Critics lauded Morisette for fusing anger and intellect in her music, while fans bought over 30 million copies worldwide. Morissette and Jagged Little Pill also opened the floodgates for fellow female singer-songwriters to dominate the charts in the late '90s, including Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, and Joan Osborne. The album's successful run was capped off with a sweep at the 1996 Grammy Awards, where it won Best Rock Album and Album of the Year. Morissette also picked up trophies for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and Best Rock Song for "You Oughta Know."
Following a world tour in support of Pill, Morissette went straight to work on her second album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (1998). The provocative music video for the first single "Thank U," a song inspired by a six-week trip to India, featured the artist naked and standing in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. The clip was symbolic of Morissette's sophomore effort -less anger, more vulnerability. Even though it reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, Infatuation Junkie sold considerably less than Jagged Little Pill. The artist also tried her hand at directing, helming her own music videos for the songs "Unsent" and "So Pure." In 1999, Morissette released Alanis Unplugged, which included acoustic performances of her hits from a taping of "Unplugged" (MTV, 1989- ). That same year, she delved into acting again, portraying God in Kevin Smith's religion-themed comedy, "Dogma," which also starred Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and as a bisexual woman who locks lips with New York writer Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) during a game of "Spin the Bottle" on HBO's hit series "Sex and the City" (1998-2004).
Her 2002 album Under Rug Swept proved to be Morissette's most ambitious project, where she took on sole writing and producing duties. The album reached No. 1 on the charts, but the media had turned its attention less on the singer's work and more on her personal life. The singer had begun dating actor (and fellow Canadian) Ryan Reynolds that year, and was engaged to him by 2004. The couple's on-and-off relationship, which included sharing homes in Los Angeles and Vancouver, ended two years later. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of her hit debut album, Morissette released Jagged Little Pill Acoustic in June 2005, followed by a greatest hits packaged titled Alanis Morissette: The Collection that fall. Her song "Wunderkind," featured in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (2005) was nominated at the 2006 Golden Globe Awards for "Best Original Song - Motion Picture." Morissette won over a new generation of fans after she released a tongue-in-cheek cover - and an accompanying viral video on YouTube - of The Black Eyed Peas' 2005 hit, "My Humps." The singer's folksy take on the hip-hop dance track amused even BEP's own vocalist, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, who sent Morissette a buttocks-shaped cake in gratitude. Even though Morissette initially refused to discuss why she covered "My Humps," she later admitted spoofing the song and music video was a way to release a lot of the emotional weight of recording her seventh studio album, Flavors of Entanglement (2008).
In 2009, Morissette landed a recurring role on Showtime's dramedy "Weeds" as the main character's (Mary-Louise Parker) no-nonsense obstetrician, Dr. Kitson. Morissette finally walked down the aisle on May 22, 2010 when she married Massachusetts-raised freestyle rapper Mario "Souleye" Treadway in a small ceremony held in Los Angeles. That same year, she made a surprise appearance on the Season Nine finale of "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) where she performed a duet of her timeless hit "You Oughta Know" with runner-up Crystal Bowersox.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Wrote her first song, "Fate Stay with Me," which she sent to a local folk singer, Lindsay Morgan
Cast as a regular on the CTV/Nickelodeon show, "You Can't Do That on Television"
Landed a spot on "Star Search," but lost after one round (used the stage name of Alanis Nadine)
Signed a publishing deal with MCA Publishing
Released debut album, Alanis (Canada only), Morissette co-wrote every track on the album with its producer, Leslie Howe
Released second album, Now Is the Time; Morissette wrote the songs with the album's producer, Leslie Howe (Canada only)
Appeared in the film "Just One of the Girls" starring Corey Haim
Singed a deal with Maverick Records
First internationally released album, Jagged Little Pill
Recorded the song "Uninvited" for the soundtrack for the film "City of Angels"
Released her fourth album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which she wrote and produced with Glen Ballard
Appearing as God in the Kevin Smith film "Dogma"; also contributed the song "Still" to its soundtrack
Played a lesbian on an episode of HBO's "Sex and the City"
First album solely written and produced by Morissette, Under Rug Swept
Appeared as herself in an episode of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Appeared in the Off-Broadway play "The Exonerated" as Sunny Jacobs, a death row inmate freed after proof surfaced that she was innocent
Appeared briefly in the Cole Porter biographical film "De-Lovely"; also performed the song "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)"
Released an acoustic version of Jagged Little Pill Acoustic; released exclusively through Starbucks' Hear Music retail
Contributed the song "Wunderkind" to the soundtrack of the film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"; nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song
Guest-starred in three episodes of FX's "Nip/Tuck," playing a lesbian named Poppy
Released a tongue-in-cheek cover of The Black Eyed Peas's song "My Humps"; also released an accompanying YouTube-hosted video
Released seventh studio album, Flavors of Entanglement
Appeared in several episodes of "Weeds" (Showtime), playing Dr. Audra Kitson, a "no-nonsense obstetrician"