LOS ANGELES Alanis Morissette is about to pour the past few years of her life into another introspective album, she revealed during a question-and-answer session with fans Thursday night at the Museum of Tolerance.
"I liken it to a sponge I spend two or three years absorbing this crazy water, and then I get into the studio and I just squeeze it," she said.
The 26-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter said she plans to head into the studio within the next month to begin work on the follow-up to 1998's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, which features the single "Thank U" (RealAudio excerpt). Morissette said she will produce the effort herself presumably without the help of longtime collaborator Glen Ballard.
The producer, who is working with Lisa Marie Presley on her debut album, recently said he did not expect to be involved in producing Morissette's next album, but characterized their professional relationship as "longstanding."
The question-and-answer session with fans came amid an acoustic performance by Morissette and her five-piece band, capping their three-week, 11-country The One Tour. The trek took them through the Middle East and Europe, hitting such countries as Croatia, Turkey and Lebanon. Morissette said she wanted to play in cities where fans rarely get the chance to experience live American music.
The intensely spiritual singer said the tour reinforced her belief that "we're all one we're all connected."
Morissette chose the Museum of Tolerance which is devoted to Holocaust remembrance and the defense of human rights and the Jewish people as the final stop of the tour because of its efforts to promote harmony in diversity, said Joe DiNunzio, CEO of the night's host, Z.com. The Internet company webcast parts of the tour and will air Thursday's event starting Sept. 12 at club.z.com.
Clad in black leather pants and a shiny pastel top that was for the most part concealed by her long brown hair, Morissette sat on a stool center stage and took questions. Most of the 300 attendees had won tickets through the tour's Web site, while celebrity guests included Goo Goo Dolls singer/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik and actress Calista Flockhart.
Honesty As Survival Strategy
At several points during the session, Morissette was asked about the raw honesty of her lyrics, which often give a diary-entry feel to her songs.
Morissette said she wasn't always able to be so open as a songwriter, adding that she spent her teenage years trying to hide some of her emotions even from herself. "I felt that I had to fragment myself and only show certain parts," she said.
Morissette attributed some of the introspection that marks her music to her "intolerance of pain."
"If I felt any chronic amount of pain for too long, I had to start to understand it," she said. "I knew that we weren't innately suffering beings. I still feel that we're innately joyous. So when I had period of times when the joy wasn't there, I would always try to figure out how to get it back."
Morissette said her real breakthrough as a songwriter came when she entered the studio with Ballard to record her 1995 smash, Jagged Little Pill. "I was actually being listened to for what felt like the first time in my life," she said. "I felt there was no part of me that wasn't welcome."
Most fans preceded their questions by expressing their adoration of Morissette. One young woman became so emotional as she told Morissette how much she'd learned from her music that she barely got out her question about what first inspired the singer to write songs.
An obviously touched Morissette replied that she remembered seeing friends of her parents playing in a band when she was 8.
"I just remember watching them and thinking that that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life," she said. "So I started writing songs, and I had a record out when I was 10."
"You don't get the chance to see her like this, in such an intimate way," said 15-year-old Britney Dowd of New York, who flew in for the event after winning tickets online. "I loved every second."