Much more than being adored for parodying her own iconic song with an updated millennial version, Alanis Morissette shifted the image of the female performer in 1991. While most successful female artists’ images were sexually objectifying and/or overtly feminine, Morissette kept things raw and never held a less than pretty feeling back. She defied the softness of the more generic female artists around her while liberating her listeners.
Morissette’s lyrics brought out the radical, and sometimes angry angst in the everyday woman. Normalizing a free spirited presence amongst sisters different and alike. Her rawness and willingness to be authentic in a genuine and natural way showed more women it was safe to not always be gentle or soft.
In particular, songs like “You Oughta Know,” “Ironic,” “Hand in my Pocket” and “You Learn,” from the groundbreaking album “Jagged Little Pill,” which sold 33 million albums worldwide, were incredibly healing and liberating for many women. Recently in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said these songs also had a similar healing effect for her own life many years later. She then took up producing her own albums. Morissette’s eighth album, “Havoc and Bright Lights,” was released in 2012, selling more than 60 million albums worldwide.
Morissette continued this authenticity and transparency throughout her bodies of work as well as her life. This level of integrity continues to create space for her poetic storytelling lyrics to inspire healing within listeners. Itunes named her the “Canadian queen of searing, soul-bearing songs” for a reason. She has also been dubbed the “Queen of alt-rock angst” by Rolling Stone. I can’t think of anything more Rock and Roll than being unforgivingly authentic and genuine within one’s life and work.
The body of work Morissette has birthed is impeccable and ever evolving. With the accomplishments and accolades to match. Throughout her career she has been open in sharing her lifestyle, charity work, and spiritual path.
Not only is it important for women and their successes to be acknowledged in the music industry, in all industries truly, it is equally important to have inspiring women recognized as role models and examples of what it means to be an impactful artist. As it reads on alanis.com, “Art, in countless forms, is how we express our humanity; how we express and define our very selves. It gives a welcoming platform to any part of ourselves that may have no other known outlet.”