Fame is hollow. It amplifies what is there. If there is any self-doubt, or hatred, or lack of ability to connect with people, fame will magnify it.
My favourite pastime used to be sitting on a park bench watching people. But after ‘Jagged Little Pill,’ the eyeballs turned, and I was the watched one.
Alpha men are very turned on by the alpha woman, really high chemistry, really fun to work with, probably really fun to have affairs with, but there’s not sustainable harmony in that lack of complement. There can only be one person in the driver’s seat.
I think it’s child abuse to have someone in the public eye too young. Society basically values wealth and fame and power at the cost of well-being. In the case of a child, it’s at the cost of someone’s natural development. It’s already hard enough to develop.
Your political views really denote your spiritual views.
Peace of mind for five minutes, that’s what I crave.
Fame is hollow. It amplifies what is there. If there is any self-doubt, or hatred, or lack of ability to connect with people, fame will magnify it.
What’s that line from TS Eliot? To arrive at the place where you started, but to know it for the first time. I’m able to write about a breakup from a different place. Same brokenness. Same rock-bottom. But a little more informed, now I’m older. Thank God for growing up.
Ageism works in both directions. As a teenager in the public eye, people would talk condescendingly to me. When you get older there’s this feeling that you have to start carving up your face and body. Right now I’m in the middle ground – I think women in their thirties are taken seriously.
Do I appreciate the idea of jealousy, revenge and all these so-called dark qualities? Yes. Do I write these songs in order to engage in some public war with someone? No.
A good man often appears gauche simply because he does not take advantage of the myriad mean little chances of making himself look stylish. Preferring truth to form, he is not constantly at work upon the facade of his appearance.
We’re taught to be ashamed of confusion, anger, fear and sadness, and to me they’re of equal value to happiness, excitement and inspiration.
I make up new lyrics to well-known lullabies. Mostly because I don’t actually know a lot of the lyrics.
Part of being famous is offering up this blank screen upon which people can project everything, and it’s a sacred act, putting yourself out there, in a way that lots of celebrities aren’t steeled for; they’re not prepared for the degree to which people define them.
When people ask me who I’d want to have dinner with, dead or alive, I always say, ‘John Lennon.’ I just feel that he was an artist who was, in his own way, committed to wholeness and authenticity in a not dissimilar way that I am years later.
My greatest achievement is being able to write records that are real snapshots of what’s going on in my life. I won’t repeat myself for the sake of commerce, or to please other people.
My main objective with every album is to capture a moment in time, which usually makes the whole process very relaxing. I only discover in retrospect when looking back at the songs how my life is going!
In LA, where I live, it’s all about perfectionism. Beauty is now defined by your bones sticking out of your decolletage. For that to be the standard is really perilous for women.
Long hair is a security blanket for me. I cut it short a few years ago and I really never want to do that again. When I do cut it, I cut it myself.
We’ll love you just the way you are if you’re perfect.
Breakups are a horrible thing for almost everybody I know. For someone who is a love addict, it’s debilitating.
I’m excited about there being more of a sisterhood these days. Back in the ’90s there was a lot of hate – the women I looked up to as artists were dissing me! It’s not so patriarchal these days – there’s more love and a lot less hate!
There’s cleanliness to how I eat now. I’m much more in tune with my body, so now that I’m so in tune based on having become a semivegan, I can tell what foods affect energy levels. I can tell when I’ve been eating particularly high nutrient foods or I can tell when my glycemic levels are all over the place.
In the face of patriarchy, it is a brave act indeed for both men and women to embrace, rather than shame or attempt to eradicate, the feminine.
I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.
The person who knows HOW will always have a job. The person who knows WHY will always be his boss.
I want to walk through life instead of being dragged through it.
Making a movie requires 20 to 500 people to make and a lot of money and the stakes are a lot higher.
They’re different kinds of challenges depending upon what phase of life I’m in.
When I was producing on my own, I was doing it in order to – in a very patriarchal entertainment industry, let alone planet – very much hell-bent on trying to prove to myself, if nothing else, that I could do it as a woman.
And if I had a preference, it would be to be able to not be in the studio until 4 in the morning.
And ultimately the people who produce my records, they know that they’re here to serve the purpose of me expressing who I am at this period of time and augmenting that or pulling it forward and I love that process.
It’s when someone has an agenda of their own for the record that it doesn’t work for me.
But once I acclimated and really used fame for what it was offering me as a tool to serve my life purpose of inspiring and contributing, then it started to get fun again.
And I always laugh at that, because I think I’ve always been doing what I want to do since Day 1.
I’m doing it because I choose it. And if it’s not working, I can make a change.
Well, as a kid I did not get Shakespeare. I just never understood it.
I remember thinking during those times that I wanted to write in a way where there are no rules.
As long as I can say what it is that I need to say, then I’ll fit whatever I’m trying to say around a melody.
In my opinion, I think sarcasm and humor in a song, without turning it into a novelty song, is really charming.
When I start writing songs and it turns into an overly belabored intellectual process, I just throw it out.
I felt like I was making a record under the radar, and that is my favorite way to do anything.
At some point, I would like to write a book and other things, but I work best when there is some sort of deadline in my own mind, but not when fifty people or fifty million people are breathing down the back of my neck.
I was born in ’74, so I missed out on all the great early ’60s and early ’70s.
I love songs that are very autobiographical.
At one point, I was just perceived as only being angry, but now I’m being perceived as angry, peaceful, and spiritual.
I think some fans want everything to stay they same because they want to stay the same.
The thing I always default to is that I’ll always be here to write songs.
I’ll keep evolving and put that into my songs.
Down the road, I’ll probably have a kid or two or three. And there will probably be political events or spiritual things to comment on, and humor.
I could write six songs in one day with everything that’s going on.
I try to keep a low profile in general. Not with my art, but just as a person.
Anything I do has to be directly related to my music. If it isn’t, I don’t really see a point to it.
I was motivated by just thinking that if you had all this external success that everyone would love you and everything would be peaceful and wonderful.
I saw music as a way to entertain people and take them away from their daily lives and put smiles on their faces, as opposed to what I see it being now, which is a way for me to actually communicate, and a way for me to tap into my subconscious.
I see the whole concept of Generation X implies that everyone has lost hope.
I happen to be lucky in that I knew what I wanted to do as far as a career since I was nine years old.
I guess what people forget sometimes is that when I write songs, I write them sometimes in about 20 minutes.
What I try to keep in mind is that there are going to be a lot of articles that are going to be misrepresentative of what I’m about as a person and as a writer.
You live, you learn.
I wish people could achieve what they think would bring them happiness in order for them to realize that that’s not really what happiness is.
Then I realized that secrecy is actually to the detriment of my own peace of mind and self, and that I could still sustain my belief in privacy and be authentic and transparent at the same time. It was a pretty revelatory moment, and there’s been a liberating force that’s come from it.
Typically I go in the studio and whatever I’m contemplating that day will wind up being a song. I don’t come in with lyrics… I just go in and let it happen.
With songwriting I spend a lot of time living life, accruing all these experiences, journaling, and then by the time I get to the studio I’m teeming with the drive to write.
To me the biggest irony of this lifetime that I’m living is that for someone who thrives in the public eye in the creative ways that I do, I actually don’t enjoy being in the public eye.
But I love to entertain. My vocation is to accrue all these experiences, to write about them, to get them out of my system, to not get sick, and then to share them publicly.
I’m a liability to them – I’m a woman, I’m empowered, I’m an artist. I’ve had executives who can’t come to my shows they’re so scared of me. I’ve been a thorn in many people’s sides just by existing.
Canada has a passive-aggressive culture, with a lot of sarcasm and righteousness. That went with my weird messianic complex. The ego is a fascinating monster. I was taught from a young age that I had to serve, so that turned into me thinking I had to save the planet.
As a teen, I was both anorexic and bulimic.
For four to six months at a time, I would barely eat. I lived on a diet of Melba toast, carrots, and black coffee.
I still indulge in a glass of wine or chocolate – treats are mandatory. Without deviating from the day-to-day healthy diet once in a while, it wouldn’t be sustainable for me, and that’s what I wanted: an approach to eating to last my entire life.
I’m really clear about what my life mission is now. There’s no more depression or lethargy, and I feel like I’ve returned to the athlete I once was. I’m integrating all the parts of me – jock, musician, writer, poet, philosopher – and becoming stronger as a result.
I didn’t have high self-esteem when I was a teen-ager, as I think most teen-agers don’t.
I found that the more truthful and vulnerable I was, the more empowering it was for me.
The more vulnerable and the more confused the song is, the equal and opposite effect is how I feel after having written it.
If I could sell 500 million records every time, it would be great. But I’ve also had the luxury experience of having it when I was a teenager, in a very kind of model version of it.
In the past, I had workaholic issues.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve really worked toward balancing my life out more, having a little bit more time with friends, family and my boyfriend. There was a period of time when they were way down the list. It was all about music and touring and if everything fell by the wayside, so be it.
Unless I really loved it and felt really passionate about it, I would just kind of abort the song and start a new one.
I grew up in a very masculine environment. So I was around a lot of men, my brothers and their friends. There was just a lot of guys around.
I started playing piano when I was 6. And I knew that wanted to be involved in that form of expression, whether it was through music, or acting, or dancing, or painting, or writing.
I’ll be writing songs till I die. There’s just no question.
The whole celebrity thing is not something I’m overly interested in. I don’t pop up at parties. It’s just not my thing.
Music will always be a part of my life. I love music and I don’t care how many units I sell.
I think some people think I’m a smarty-pants. Some people think I’m intense, some people think I’m super-esoteric and nuts.
I was always such a people-watcher. I would sit on street corners alone and watch people and make up stories about them in my head. Then, all of a sudden, I was the one being watched.
I didn’t want to be one of those women who wake up at 63 years old and realize they’ve missed the window of opportunity for marriage and children.
America’s a very traumatized society.
Beauty is now defined by your bones sticking out of your decolletage. For that to be the standard is really perilous for women.
Europe seems a little softer, but in America it’s harsh. In L.A., where I live, it’s all about perfectionism.
The ego is a fascinating monster.
I was taught from a young age that I had to serve, so that turned into me thinking I had to save the planet.
I get angry at myself for staying in relationships way too long.
I live with some of my best friends from high school, very commune-like, in my house. It’s my hippie way of life.
My brother says that I was writing songs about fate while he was off playing soccer. Now I tell him he’s 33 and being a professional while I’m playing soccer with my friends. Ha!
Courage and willingness to just go for it, whether it is a conversation or a spontaneous trip or trying new things that are scary – it is a really attractive quality.
The people that were invested in me staying the same way after a decade will most likely by default have to be disappointed.
There were a lot of people who were a little afraid of the rage or blaming stance I was taking, and find what I am doing now more refreshing.
My greatest environments in which I can grow, or grow up, is in personal romantic relationships with a man.
I thought the more famous I became, the more friendships I would have, but the opposite was true.
My three addictions of choice are food, love and work.
Infidelity is a deal breaker for me. I’ve broken up with people over it. You can’t do monogamy 90 percent of the time.
My own approach has always been to push intense emotions down and attempt to deal with them later.
When I was younger, I was terrified to express anger because it would often kick-start a horrible reaction in the men in my life. So I bit my tongue. I was left to painstakingly deal with the aftermath of my avoidance later in life, in therapy or through the lyrics of my songs.
I was left to painstakingly deal with the aftermath of my avoidance later in life, in therapy or through the lyrics of my songs.
I’ve been doing a lot of different cross-training and kickboxing and Capoeira and kite surfing, and I’ve just really been back to what I consider my original athletic self.
I think there is no better way to invite a human being to view their body differently than by inviting them to be an athlete, by revering one’s body as an instrument rather than just an ornament.
I’m about 90 percent vegan. I think veganism is really well suited for training, at least for me anyway.
Getting married and starting a family has been a lifelong goal and one that I have persevered through different paths up to it!
I can’t not write, if I don’t then I get really depressed.
I’ll be writing records until I’m dead, whether people like it or not!
My parents offered me the idea of ceilinglessness. There was no limit in terms of what was possible; no messages sent to me to say that I couldn’t do anything.
Trauma happens in relationships, so it can only be healed in relationships. Art can’t provide healing. It can be cathartic and therapeutic but a relationship is a three-part journey.
When someone says that I’m angry it’s actually a compliment. I have not always been direct with my anger in my relationships, which is part of why I’d write about it in my songs because I had such fear around expressing anger as a woman.
I think quite spiritually of myself. I feel like I’m here to support the human evolution.
I think a common misperception about attuning and tending to a child’s needs so constantly is that they don’t grow in their independence, but I think that the opposite is true.
I could get away with not taking care of myself as a bachelorette but as a mom I can’t.
I think it’s irresponsible when celebrities imply they’re doing it all themselves. My son has aunties and uncles around all the time, and my husband is my hero. He’s really full-on. I couldn’t do it any other way.
When I’m off the road, my husband and I recharge our batteries. It’s a day of deep rest and connection with the spiritual, and that can be anything – going for a walk in nature, being in silence, burning incense.
It’s a joke to think that anyone is one thing. We’re all such complex creatures. But if I’m going to be a poster child for anything, anger’s a gorgeous emotion. It gets a bad rap, but it can make great changes happen.
My message to anyone who’s afraid that they can’t write music when they’re happy is ‘Just trust the passion.’ The passion can write a lot of things.
I just feel compelled to continue to be transparent. It just really levels the playing field and eradicates the shame that I have, or that one might have, about being human. So I’m going to just keep going.
There’s a continuity between what I care about in any form: I care about it in my music, in article-writing, in how I dress, in how I live, in my relationships, in how I navigate paparazzi, how I decorate my home. There’s such a continuity between everything that I don’t really care what form it shows up in.
I’m clearly most well known for my music. Eventually, ultimately, I’ll be writing books. I’m still writing articles now. I just consider myself a writer.
What influenced me was Tori Amos, who was unapologetic about expressing anger through music, and Sinead O’Connor. Those two in particular were really moving for me, and very inspiring, before I wrote ‘Jagged Little Pill.’
It’s not just the ‘Grammys’ that I’ve pulled out of. I also pulled out of the English awards as well. The reason that I wanted to pull out was because I believe very much that the music industry as a whole is mainly concerned with material success.
I did commit to myself that I would not jump back into being the workaholic that I can be before I gave myself an honest opportunity to create the marriage of my dreams and to create the beginning of the family of my dreams, and that took a hot second.
I find as an artist if I’m not expressed relatively consistently, I get really depressed.
I need to be performing. I need to be acting. I need to be designing a condo and ripping down walls and buying new plates and looking at fashion magazines. There always has to be some movement in the artistic department for me to not get really, really low.
I have a profound empathy for people who are in the public eye, whether they manifest it themselves or whether it happened by accident – it doesn’t matter to me. I think there’s a great misunderstanding of what it is to be famous.
I’ve been really enjoying writing articles and writing music and music for movies.
Partnership is the way. Dictatorial win-lose is so old-school.
I really do see that anywhere I am, whether it’s doing interviews a hundred in a row, that every situation I’m in, I’m at choice in the matter.
I know that I’m deeply, spiritually, profoundly philosophical and I also know that I’m about the flakiest person you’re gonna meet.
I have not an ounce of regret. Every link is so valuable in forming the chain that is my life. Who I am today is because of those links, and I wouldn’t change any of them.
Anger has been a really big deal for women: how can we express it without feeling that, as the physically weaker sex, we won’t get killed. The alpha-woman was burned at the stake and had her head chopped off in days of old.
I think fame became exciting for me in the late ’90s because I could actually use it as a means to an end. I could actually have it help me serve my vocationfulness.
There was a period of time during the ‘Jagged Little Pill’ era where I don’t think I laughed for about two years. It was a survival mode, you know. It was an intense, constant, chronic over-stimulation and invasion of energetic and physical literal space.
I’m quite obsessed with the idea of nailing the girl friendship. It’s such an art, so delicate.
We live, in North America in general, if I’m given the indulgence of selling us down the river, in a culture of fear of this connective sense of spirit.
I am a firm believer that one way to become enlightened is to be so relaxed, as relaxed as you possibly can be.
My son was five months old, and I built a makeshift studio in my living room so that I could do the attachment parenting approach and write the record at the same time. That was fortuitous, that we could build that in the house.
Only traumatised people want to be famous.
I want to poke holes in the erroneous beliefs about what fame provides. It won’t raise your self-esteem, it won’t create profound connection, it’s not going to heal your childhood traumas, it’s only going to amplify them. You’re going to be subject to a lot of criticism and praise, both of which are violent in their own ways.
My own approach has always been to push intense emotions down and attempt to deal with them later. When I was younger, I was terrified to express anger because it would often kick-start a horrible reaction in the men in my life.
There were websites erected to figure out how to kill Alanis. I just do not need to see this; it’s not good for anybody.
Typically, I would run away from conflict and write about it – that was easier than staying and dealing face-to-face with humans; that’s terrifying for me.
I’ve always been really opinionated, and mixed with being really open hearted, open to people shifting what I think all the time, but I like to speak with conviction.
Women are so powerful they’re scary, and the incentive to squash this has been going on for so long that some of us actually believe we’re subordinate.
I highly recommend getting older! There’s less tendency to people-please.
A lot of preconceived notions that I had about fame and status and money and joy and pain, and all of these things that I thought I knew, I didn’t.
I’ve been surrounded by a lot of people who felt that external success would result in them feeling good about themselves. But it just seems extremely unfulfilling to me.
For me, a life without expectation results in a life with inspiration.
I was so ready to become a mom. Actually, I was ready secondarily to become a mom. I was so ready to have the intimacy and commitment of marriage.
I couldn’t be touring unless my husband was on the road with me, taking care of our son while I’m onstage and doing interviews.
In 1995, I was thrust into the role of reluctant, flag-waving feminist and emotionally-focused artist/advocate.
The fear of this delicate and fierce feminine has more to do with our fear of being vulnerable again, getting hurt again, than it does by our actual distaste for the beauty of the feminine and Her qualities.
I love to get to the underbelly of why people are up in arms about anything. Really, what I see is a big shadow in the West, in America especially, and everyone’s afraid of looking stupid. But the truth is, I’m a genius and I’m stupid at the same time.
I think a beautiful quality that’s a biological, hormonal imperative for women, whether they have children or not, is that we’re built to be empathic. For me, it was finally being maternal in an appropriate way instead of trying to mommy ex-boyfriends.
The spirituality that I experience sometimes touches on religion, in that I resonate with the thread of continuity that permeates through all religions. But in terms of it being a concretized, organized part of my life, it’s not.
I don’t want to offend people and I don’t want to be mean, but social commentary and comedy for me are part and parcel. I think the greatest social activists are comedians.
I’ve just always felt it’s an incredibly empowering thing, particularly for young women, to capitalize on their coordination and their strength. It’s a very empowering thing to feel strong in your body.
Variety is important when it comes to exercise. I don’t do anything that bores me to tears.
As a kid, I was listening to Aretha Franklin, Etta James and hip-hop as well as music my parents were listening to, like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.
I’ll be writing records until I’m dead, whether people like it or not! I can’t not write; if I don’t, then I get really depressed. I’ll keep going, I promise!
Knowing that people make my songs their own is what keeps me going.
I like to make pasta with puttanesca sauce and arugula salad.
I was 9 when I wrote ‘Fate Stay with Me.’ It was this fictional song about romance gone wrong.
I’d rather talk to people about their personal spiritual practices or what they believe love is. I’m born to do that. Could I enter into the political realm and dive into that? Sure, but I don’t think I would want to do that.
The thing you can’t underestimate is the true fan’s intimacy. So Lady Gaga or anybody’s true fan, I don’t think they’re going anywhere. There are people who are into commitment. If they’re connecting with an artist, I think they’ll be there over the long course.