Alanis beams about son, marriage

Reuters file photo

Reuters file photo

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

The recent past and near future has been and will be a series of firsts for Ottawa-born Alanis Morissette.

And given her history that's saying a lot.

The now 38-year-old singer-songwriter -- who became a music sensation when 1995's Jagged Little Pill sold more than 30 million copies -- got married to Boston rapper MC Souleye (Mario Treadway) in May 2010, gave birth to their son Ever in December 2010, and has penned her first book, due in 2013.

Needless to say there was a lot of fodder for Morissette's first album in four years, Havoc and Bright Lights, out Aug. 28.

"I'll look back at this when I'm 108 on my deathbed and I likely will say, 'Well, that's the record I wrote when my son was five months old,' " says Morissette in an eye-catching turquoise blazer and bright yellow high heels.

"It's really a testament to the deepening of intimacy and commitment in relationship. So son, husband, long-time commitment, I wasn't necessarily known for that. Certainly, committed to music and art and expression in that sense, but I used to hide away in the songwriting process. Whereas now I'm taking that courage and bringing it into my actual friendships and relationships, which I think is warrior work frankly. It's so hard...

"Instead of writing all these angry songs, or frustrated songs, to actually (direct my anger) to someone I love, that's terrifying."

Not to say she isn't enjoying both motherhood -- currently breastfeeding Ever "til he's done," she says -- and marriage.

"It's awesome," says Morissette, who plans to bring both hubby and son on the road this fall in North America after doing so in Europe already.

"I am best friends with coffee. I rarely have a minute to myself. But the three sort of fighting -- in the best sense of that word -- priorities: Marriage -- huge for me -- and being a mom and living this vocation and career.

"And then I'm fourth," she adds with a cackle.

"It's torture but it just feels really appropriate right now. It went from three hours of idle time to three minutes. The rejuvenation, battery-recharging moments, are 11 minutes long."

Morissette wrote Havoc and Bright Lights with British collaborator Guy Sigsworth, who worked with her on her last album, 2008's Flavours of Entanglement, forcing them to write a song a day in a makeshift studio in her house.

It's a process she has used since Jagged Little Pill.

"I was dying to write this record while I was pregnant actually," she says.

"But it was a naive notion because at 3 p.m. every day I would be down for the count on the couch. I couldn't stand up. I was so exhausted."

And if postpartum depression made its way into her lyric-writing on the new disc, she's not sure.

"I think maybe the song Receive, that was a big commentary on what it was to be (in) such constant service.

"I think it's a biological imperative for us women to serve. We are maternal by nature. It's about us calibrating where we are appropriately maternal.

"I used to care-take very inappropriately. Now it's very appropriate."

Another new song, Celebrity, deals with Morissette being in the eye of the storm at the height of Jagged Little Pill's success.

She feels like a survivor from that time.

"I still have moments of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)," she says.

"I don't know if I'll ever really push through that one. It was pretty intense for me ...

"All of a sudden, everybody's eyeballs were turned toward me. And although I am a ham and I do love to perform, for the most part, I'm an introvert so it was a freakish experience.

"No one had told me at the time that that fever pitch would wane -- and it did. I'm alive. I'm not dead.

"But ... there were moments when I really didn't want to be here anymore. I just thought, 'I was sold the same bill of goods that fame would offer high self-esteem and connection and friendship.' And all it really did was amplify what was already there.

"So if there was any self-doubt or any self-hatred, it sort of put steroids into that system. I just thought, 'Wow, I don't think this whole fame thing is going to work out so much for me.' "

But it did and now Morissette -- long known for her interest in self-discovery and self-help -- is about to become a first-time author as well.

She says the book will be about a lot of women's issues and spiritual practice -- using herself and life as a case study -- but stops short of calling it a "self-help book."

"It will be helpful," she says with a laugh.

"I don't know what category it will be in. It'll probably be a confused book, in the same way that Jagged Little Pill was confusing for people.

"They didn't know how to categorize it. I think the book might be the same in that sense."

Alanis in her own words

On giving herself 30-40 minutes to write a song:

"The pressure cooker. I don't like it. It's exhausting and harrowing at times. But that's how it's written. It's kind of my being on the hot seat. And it's very conversational."

On fame:

"It's sexy and it's seductive and you get to wear really awesome shoes and that's really fun because I'm a full girly-girl but in and of itself it can be very hollow and doesn't really provide the connection with spirit or with self that it promises."

On writing her first book:

"I've had this pressure for it to be some magnum opus, seminal expression, so just get it over with, just get it out, volume one!"

On what she tells rising Canadian star Carly Rae Jepsen right now about fame:

"I would offer more support to the young person in the hot heat of that kind of kitchen. I didn't know that I could reach out for it ... My generation was about being independent, flying in the face of this dependency issue. And now, thankfully, there's more interdependence, it's fully appropriate and quite lovely actually to admit that you need someone."

 


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