Grammy-winning artist Alanis Morissette recently chatted online with sonicnet.com. Here are excerpts:
Q:Considering the abundance of female Grammy nominees this year, did it seem to you like 1998 was a good year for music in general, but especially for female artists?
A:It's a great year for music in general. I don't think about the gender of the people being nominated.
Q:What keeps you motivated, or is all your writing and work automatic for you?
A:I think rejuvenating keeps me inspired, and if I'm in an environment that isn't nurturing I can't create, so I just keep that in check. I find it liberating to be honest in the process, the more that I speak truthfully the more healing it is.
Q:Why did you think that Thank U was a good one to reintroduce fans to your sound and lyrical vision?
A:That was the first song I wrote for the record (Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.) I was just overwhelmed with this sense of gratitude and excitement, and I really wanted to write about it.
Q:Who are your greatest musical and literary influences?
A:Carole King, everything from ABBA to Bob Dylan, and what my dad played. I've read a lot of classics, a lot of psychology, Freud, Carl Jung.
Q:With this album such a success already, does it relieve any of the pressure to follow up Jagged Little Pill?
A:I didn't really feel that much pressure. The challenge was to get back to that un-self-conscious place to write.
Q:What was the point of being nude in your video?
A:To celebrate my body and not objectify it. Not to impose the societal standard of what my body should look like. To acknowledge our inner being. I was naked in the streets of L.A. for two nights in a row.
Q:What's been going on in your world since Jagged Little Pill? And why the long layoff between projects?
A:To get back to who I was in the midst of it all, the illusion, the beauty, etc. I regrouped with my family and got to know them and they got to know me.
Q:Are your lyrics personal, or do you prefer to make them out of other people's lives?
A:If I'm writing about someone's life, it's usually indirectly about me.
Q:If you weren't a musician, what would you have chosen as a profession?
A:I would love to release a book at some point. I'd probably be a director or a photographer. I'd love to teach at some point.
Q:What inspires you to write your songs? Is it things that happen in your life?
A:Yes. A lot of times I write in retrospect, but sometimes I write about things in the moment. I can listen innocently. I'm a huge fan of any style of music.
Q:When you reflect on your life, what do you see and what do you have to say to all the younger women of the world?
A:Just to have compassion for yourself, and we're all connected.
Q:What has been the hardest thing about becoming the superstar that you are? Have you made a lot of sacrifices to get there?
A:I've made a lot of choices, but I don't know how much I've sacrificed. I couldn't do certain things, but it was a conscious choice. When I took my time off, I made a list of things to do, and I did them all.
Q:Do you think people close to you are now more cautious or self-conscious because they're aware they might end up in future songs?
A:Not the people that I spend time with. I'm not that harsh. The people I'm close with are present in the relationship, and they know I'd keep their privacy intact.
Q:Where did the title Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie come from?
A:It came from my busting my own chops, and saying that I no longer had time for infatuation, and how ridiculous that is.
Q:It seems like you have a supportive family. Did they influence you musically?
A:They influenced me by never saying I couldn't do something. They didn't pressure me. I am very appreciative for their support. They're avid music fans.
Q:If you were to speak to a group of young women, what is the best advice you could give them on living their lives as strong women?
A:Speaking their truths and surrounding themselves with people that love them. And expressing themselves and being connected with men, and not seeing them as the enemy.