Isn’t it ironic?
Ottawa singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette feels she’s “being invited into a very sweet, illustrious club,” as the latest Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee at Sunday night’s Juno Awards (CTV, CTV GO) in Hamilton.
But she also hates being the centre of attention.
“It’s an opportunity for me to receive acknowledgement and recognition and honouring in a way that can often leave me feeling awkward - so I just have to push through that,” said Morissette, down the line from her adopted home of L.A. before she arrives Saturday to rehearse a Jagged Little Pill medley for the Junos, being held at FirstOntario Centre.
“The irony of all ironies for me is that I love being on stage and I love expressing myself through music and other forms and, at the same time, I hate when people look at me,” she added with a laugh.
The 40-year-old married mother of one joins previous CMHOF inductees such as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Gordon Lightfoot, among others, in receiving the honour, in her case from Glen Ballard, her co-writer-producer on Jagged.
Morissette’s 1995 juggernaut album transformed her from a Canadian teen-pop singer to modern-rock’s ‘it girl” after it sold over 33 million copies and picked up five Grammys and six Junos (the latter in Hamilton in 1996).
“It’s a sweet club,” said Morissette of the CMHOF list of honourees. “And I feel, especially as Canadians, that there’s something in the water, a very stream-of-consciousness, dialogical, storytelling impetus that we seem to have as a culture ... It feels like home to me.”
Big things are also planned for this year’s 20th anniversary of JLP, including a re-release of a remastered version of the disc with new unreleased songs, and never shared before images and writing, plus Morissette is working on a stage musical version of it.
“We’re just at the beginnings of it and it’ll be a fictionalized story,” said Morissette. “I mean at some point down the road, I would love to do a one woman show, where it’s entirely autobiographical, but I’m in no rush to do that.”
She’s also finishing up an untitled book for HarperOne (an imprint of Harper Collins) that she’ll hand over in June for publication shortly afterwards, which she says uses “the memoiresque storytelling aspect of things in order to illustrate a lot of what I want to offer to people,” from the position of “trauma recovery.”
“Little things like being in the music industry from a very young age, and exploitation,” she explained. “Not a lot people were attuned to how I was feeling versus what I was producing. The main intention was to make sure that I kept producing and was making money for people who had a vested interest in me staying the robot that I was... I wouldn’t do it over again. I definitely feel better now than I did 20 years ago. Just more comfortable and more grounded in my own skin. I just think getting older is wonderful. I highly recommend it.”
However, she does appreciate that, at the time, her confessional, emotional songwriting helped “millions of people around the world,” but says her temperment just didn’t suit fame.
“Being famous is just not interesting to me - it’s very hollow,” said Morissette. “I was sold the same bill of goods that everyone is, which is when you’re famous (you’re) hanging out with Johnny Depp and hi-fiving Sharon Stone, and we’d all just be best friends. And that wound up not being the case for me. It was quite isolating and my intention was to connect on a deeper level with human beings but with the amount of projection and misinterpretations that were going on around who people thought I was. It was devastating, actually.”
Morissette, whose last album was 2012’s Havoc and Bright Lights, has written new music with “about 15 songs ready to go” but isn’t rushing the next disc.
“I’ve asked everyone to put a pause button on everything just because if I don’t finish this book I’ll just feel pregnant for 50 years,” she joked.
Speaking of which, she says her and husband-rapper Mario Treadway’s four-year-son Ever is showing signs of taking after his parents.
“He loves stream-of-consciousness lyric writing and I just love hearing what comes out of his sweet little brain and heart,” she said. “He’s got a beautiful voice. We sing together a lot. It’s pretty funny.”