The scraggly tressed, leather-dressed former Debbie Gibson of the Great White North posed a musical question that blasted a fresh arctic wind through the recording industry: "Are you thinking of me when you f—k her?" Spurred by "You Oughta Know," a scathing diatribe from a jilted lover, Alanis Morissette, 22, spit out her bubblegum and spent 1996 planting the flag of in-your-face femme rock firmly in the mainstream with Jagged Little Pill, the bestselling (14 million) solo debut album in U.S. history.
Before settling in L.A. and winning four Grammy Awards this year, the daughter of two schoolteachers was best remembered in her Ottawa homeland for two early-'90s dance-pop albums and as a frolicking 10-year-old on Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television. "I was shocked," recalls one of the show's producers, Geoffrey Darby, of his introduction to "Oughta Know." "Here was sweet little Alanis and.... Oh, my God!"
With boyfriends in tow, teenage girls flock to Morissette's kinetic live shows, drawn by the same qualities that impressed veteran songsmith and Pill cowriter Glen Ballard, who met Morissette back in '94. "She's a remarkably well-adjusted, intelligent, curious young woman," he says. "Ennui is not part of her personality." Nor is Pill's bitterness, assures actor Dave (Full House) Coulier, who dated Morissette on and off for a year. "She has a great sense of humor," he says. "She's very introspective, but at the same time a bright and happy person." Probably a lot like all those girls in the audience, singing along to her every word. "Oh, man," Morissette told The New York Times in February. "I wish I had me to listen to when I was 14."
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