Musically inclined since early age, she started learning piano at the age of six and by ten had self-composed her first song, ‘Fate Stay With Me’. However, the song remained unreleased.
After her stint at music, she tried her hand at acting and appeared in five episodes of the television show, ‘You Can’t Do That’. With the money earned from her acting, she funded her debut track, which despite the efforts remained shelved.
It was in 1991 that she finally made a breakthrough signing up a two-album deal with the MCA Records Canada. Together, they released her self-titled debut album, ‘Alanis’. She co-wrote every track of the album with producer Leslie Howe.
‘Alanis’ was well received and reached the platinum status. The singles, ‘Too Hot’, “Walk Away’ and ‘Feel Your Love’ not just topped at the charts but won her a couple of nominations and an award in the category of best Promising Female Vocalist.
The success of her first album led her to release her second album subsequently, titled ‘Now Is The Time’. Unlike its predecessor, ‘Now Is The Time’ met with little commercial success. However, its singles, ‘An Emotion Away’, ‘No Apologies’ and ‘Changer is Never a Waste of Time’ did manage to get into the top 40 list.
Acting upon the advice of manager Scott Welch, she moved to Toronto in 1993. It was at Toronto that he met established producer and songwriter, Glen Ballard who allowed her to use his studio.
Working along with Ballard, she recorded her album, ‘Jagged Little Pill’. By 1995, she signed a contract with the prestigious Maverick Records, which agreed to release the album internationally.
Originally intended to make average business, the album gained overnight fame with its single, ‘You Oughta Know' - getting immense popularity for its explicit lyrics. The success of the single led to the release of a music video of the same which received much air time both at the MTV and MuchMusic.
While ‘You Oughta Know’ initiated a trend, the other singles of the album, ‘All I Really Want’ and ‘Hand in My Pocket’ went on to make the album popular. However, it was her pioneering work with the single ‘Ironic’ that set the fire ablaze making it her biggest hit.
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Subsequently, she released the singles, ‘You Learn’ and ‘Head over Feet’ which went on to make ‘Jagged Little Pill’ remain in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 chart for more than a year. The album became the second biggest selling album with more than 33 million copies sold worldwide. It earned a couple of awards including four Grammys.
Post the massive success of the album, she embarked on an 18-month world tour, which left her stressed out and frazzled. Following her return, she was featured in a number of albums of other artists.
In 1998, she released her fourth album, ‘Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie’, co-written and produced by Glen Ballard. The album peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, recording a sale of 469,000 copies, the highest ever of an album by a female artists.
Though it was positively reviewed, ‘Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie’ could not duplicate the massive success of ‘Jagged Little Pill’. It, nevertheless, did went on to win a couple of awards, with the single, ‘Thank U’ being nominated for the Grammys.
In 1999, she gave vocals to four of the tracks of Jonathan Elias album, ‘The Prayer Cycle’, including ‘Mercy’, ‘Hope’, ‘Innocence’, and ‘Faith. Additionally, same year, she released a live acoustic album ‘Alanis Unplugged’. The album contained four new tracks apart from those from her first two ventures.
In 2002, she released her fifth studio album, ‘Under Rug Swept’. Unlike her previous outings, the album had tracks solely written by her. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than one million copies. It earned a platinum status with its singles, ‘Hands Clean’, ‘So Unsexy’ and ‘Precious Illusions’ attaining much popularity.
Two years later, she came up with her sixth album, ‘So-Called Chaos’. The album broke her record of a successful albums league by becoming her lowest-selling album. It received mixed critical reviews. Furthermore, the singles also fared badly thus doing little to make up for the loss.
In 2005, commemorating the tenth anniversary of her first international album, ‘Jagged Little Pill’, she released an acoustic version of the album, ‘Jagged Litle Pill Acoustic’. Same year, she released a compilation of the greatest hits album, ‘Alanis Morissette: The Collection’. The album contained one new track, ‘Crazy’.
She did a variety of work subsequently, such as giving soundtrack for the song ‘Wunderkind’, releasing a whimsical cover of Black Eyed Peas’s selection ‘My Humps’ and performing gigs for The Nightwatchman. She even performed in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, on the national anthems of both America and Canada
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In 2008, she released her eight studio album, ‘Flavors of Entanglement’. Other than this, she lend her support to the survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake crisis by contributing an acoustic version of the song ‘Still’ for the compilation album. Furthermore, she recorded ‘Versions of Violence’ for the album ‘Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace’ to promote peace.
She reportedly started working on her next album in October 2011. The album was released in 2012 under the label Collective Sound, entitled, ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’. The album, her eight offering, contained twelve tracks. It opened to mixed reviews from the critics and music fans.
She did not give up on her acting career completely and de-toured from singing to take up a couple of acting projects in 1999. She played God in the comedy film, ‘Dogma’ and reprised her role further in the film, ‘Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’. Furthermore, she made cameo appearances in ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, ‘Celebridade’ and ‘Malhacao’
Her other acting projects include guest appearance in television shows such as ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’, ‘Lovespring International’, ‘Nip/Tuck’, ‘Weeds’, ‘Up All Night’. She also appeared in the movies, ‘De Lovely’, ‘Just Friends’ and ‘Radio Free Albemuth’ and in the stage play, ‘An Oak Tree’