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Alanis Morissette - Biography

Canadian singer Alanis had been engaged to actor Ryan Reynolds

Alanis Morissette
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Having recorded her first song aged ten and received her first Juno Award at 17, Alanis Morissette has already accomplished more than many musicians do in their entire lives. And so it was perhaps no surprise that, at 33, the Canadian singer also had a lifetime achievement award to her name. 

However, as she made clear when accepting the honour in March 2008, it by no means spelled the end of her ambitions: "I really do think I'm going to live until I'm about 103 or so... There's a lot to go."

Her early life

Alanis Morissette and her twin brother Wade were born on June 1, 1974, in Ottawa to parents Georgia, a Hungarian-born teacher, and Alan, a French-Canadian high-school principal, joining their older sibling Chad. And it didn't take long for her to take to music, starting playing the piano aged six. Just four years later, the ten-year-old wrote her first song – Fate Stay With Me – recorded with the help of local folk singer Lindsay Morgan, who recruited the talented youngster as his protégée. 

A subsequent appearance on American talent show Star Search in LA ended at the first round stage but served to get her noticed – in 1988 she was signed by MCA Publishing. She released her dance-pop debut album Alanis in Canada in 1991 and it went platinum, with many of the singles hitting the top 40 and earning her the title of the Canadian Debbie Gibson. 

The following year, the 17-year-old was nominated for three Juno Awards, winning for most promising female vocalist. Later that year she graduated high school and released her second, less successful ballad-driven album in Canada before deciding to head to LA to pursue her dream. It was there she suffered an unfortunate encounter with a mugger. 

Her rise to fame

The thief got away with her purse, but luckily didn't take the thing most valuable to her – the notes for the album that would eventually make her famous. Jagged Little Pill was released worldwide in 1995, after she had met collaborator Glen Ballard and signed a deal with Maverick Records in LA. The album became an international smash with You Oughta Know and Hand In My Pocket played all over the airwaves and fourth single Ironic becoming her biggest success. 

Alanis scooped six awards at the 1996 Junos with the 12-times platinum disc, including the prestigious best album, single, female vocalist and rock album gongs. At that same year"s Grammy Awards, it won her four prizes, including best rock album and album of the year. In late 1996 the now 22-year-old Alanis hit the road for a gruelling 18-month tour, taking up yoga to help counteract the chaos of life on the road. 

Her acting career

On her return in 1998, she released her fourth album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, and also made her big-screen acting debut alongside Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in the fantasy flick Dogma. Taking a liking to her new craft, she followed this up with roles in TV series Sex And The City and Curb Your Enthusiasm and later trod the boards in The Vagina Monologues

And it wasn't only her showbiz career that was in transition. In mid-2004 Alanis added another title to her name when she became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church. Then in June 2004 she got engaged to big-screen heart-throb Ryan Reynolds, though the pair eventually broke up in February 2007, leaving the singer with a huge adjustment to make in her personal life as well. But after a break from music, spring 2008 saw new beginnings. 

She returned to performing, setting out on her international Flavours Of Entanglement tour to coincide with her latest album. Despite her March 2008 lifetime achievement award and simultaneous induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame, it's clear the seven-time Grammy winner was set to continue to succeed in whatever she pursued both professionally and personally in the future. 

Her personal life

And in 2010, the singer scored a double whammy when she launched herself back into the charts – and tied the knot. Just a month after releasing I Remain for the Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time soundtrack, she married rapper beau MC Souleye in an intimate ceremony at their LA home. "Hi guys! So happy to share with you that my man Souleye and I got married," she wrote on Twitter. "We're very excited to embark on this journey with each other … sending love … connect soon xo."

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