Alanis Morissette: You ask the questions

So, Alanis Morissette are you proud to be an American? And what would you do if you were God for a day?

Alanis Morissette, 30, was born in Ottawa, Canada, and named after her father, Alan. At 10, she was cast in the Canadian children's sketch show You Can't Do That on Television, and released a pop record the same year. By 16, she had a platinum-selling album in Canada. Moving to Los Angeles when she was 19, she recorded the album Jagged Little Pill, which has sold 30 million copies. She has also dabbled in acting, playing God in the 1999 film Dogma. She lives in Los Angeles, and is engaged to her boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds.

Alanis Morissette, 30, was born in Ottawa, Canada, and named after her father, Alan. At 10, she was cast in the Canadian children's sketch show You Can't Do That on Television, and released a pop record the same year. By 16, she had a platinum-selling album in Canada. Moving to Los Angeles when she was 19, she recorded the album Jagged Little Pill, which has sold 30 million copies. She has also dabbled in acting, playing God in the 1999 film Dogma. She lives in Los Angeles, and is engaged to her boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds.

Why are none of the examples in your song "Ironic" examples of irony? Isn't that ironic?
CHRIS HORNER, BY E-MAIL

Isn't it, though? It's true, a lot them aren't examples of irony: they are coincidences or whatever. People point it out to me quite a lot. I was in a bookstore in New York recently and a woman followed me into the bathroom. She cornered me and said, "You realise that 'Ironic' is not full of ironies!" And I said, "Yes, I do."

If you had known what you know now about fame, would you have pursued it so doggedly?
MATT RICHARDS, HOVE

Yes. I found fame most difficult in my early twenties after Jagged Little Pill came out. I kind of lost my mind for a while, but that was because even when I was in my hotel room, people would be waiting outside the door. And then when I came back to my room after a show, people would have been in my room and left notes on my bed, which was gross. When it got really bad, I went off to India for a month and it helped to be slightly anonymous and be my dirty little hippie self for a while. I don't let the pressure of fame get on top of me any more.

Are you still angry?
NICOLA CLARK, BY E-MAIL

Sure, it depends when you catch me. Premenstrual syndrome always helps - that gets me a little riled. When I'm not in my highest place, when I'm attacked, when anyone says, "Alanis, you should do this...", I want to backhand them. But I think I'm a lot better at conflict now; my partner would probably attest to that.

Do you ever watch the TV shows you made as a child? How do you rate your performance?
MARK COLLINS, LONDON

On You Can't Do That on Television, I played the love interest of the two lead male characters. It was my first experience of getting hate-mail - there were a lot of girls out there who were jealous. I don't get hate-mail any more about that show, but I still get it, all the time. When I watch those shows back, I enjoy them. I don't squirm.

Do you ever wish the world knew a little less about your personal life?
KIRSTEN GREIG, BY E-MAIL

No. My aspiration is to be more transparent as every day goes by, and I have a long way to go. I like the fact that people know a lot about me from my songs before they meet me. It means the "getting to know you" phase of the relationship is really short. People do come up to me in the street and talk to me about my life quite often, but it's more that people come up and share details from their life because they related to my songs.

You've recently become a US citizen. Why did you decide to take the oath? And are you proud to be an American?
BECKY FRENCH, SHEFFIELD

Prouder than I thought. At the swearing in, I was actually a little choked up. The US and Canada are very different so there was a cultural shock when I moved here 11 years ago. Canadians are a lot more interactive. Americans, especially in Hollywood, tend to just monologue at each other and think they are having a conversation. But I love America; it's been good to me.

I've read that you're looking forward to old age. What are you hoping it will bring you?
MARK BECKWITH, BY E-MAIL

A calm. The older I get, the steadier I become. Being a loose cannon is fun but it's exhausting. I really enjoy the equanimity I equate with getting older. Also, I'm curious to see how my body will age, to see what I'll look like at 65. Of course, I have moments of fear about it. But I've watched my mum and grandmother age and I think they are stunning.

Which musicians do you consider your heirs?
EVE SANCHEZ, BY E-MAIL

I feel an older sisterhoodness towards people like Avril Lavigne. I know that I'm an influence on her, but I also know that she would be writing what she is writing if I had never made a record.

Do you care what we think of you?
PENNY ENTWISTLE, HAYWARDS HEATH

In my high moments, I don't give a shit. In my more fragile moments, it would be nice to have support, but I don't need it.

I hear you're re-recording Jagged Little Pill for the 10th anniversary of the album. How close do you feel to the 20-year-old who wrote those songs?
GAIL CURTIS, BY E-MAIL

It's hard to see myself objectively, but I'm certainly much more comfortable now. We've just finished the record and I love it. When I sing the songs now, I don't feel emotionally compromised.

You played God in Dogma. What would you do if you really could play God?
JO ARTHUR, BARNSTAPLE

I would give people a sneak peak at their spirituality. People forget that they are spirits in human form and because of that they hurt each other.

Why have you given Starbucks exclusive access to your forthcoming album?
CHARLOTTE RYAN, COLCHESTER

They have exclusive rights for six weeks. I think it's a great idea. I go to Starbucks all the time. However, I know little coffee shops have had to close down because of Starbucks. So, I see both sides: I enjoy a quality product and I also want to support the little guy.

You've done a lot in 30 years. What's left to do in the next 30?
REBECCA JAMES, BY E-MAIL

Write books. I'd like to share whatever wisdom I've accrued. Musically, I'll always be evolving. I can't predict what I'm going to do, but I can say I'll be making music until I'm dead.

Alanis Morissette plays the Brixton Academy, London, tonight

Your questions, please For BBC political editor Andrew Marr and For the novelist Jeanette Winterson. Send your questions to: You Ask The Questions, Features Desk, The Independent, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9RS (fax: 020 7005 2182; e-mail: myquestion@independent.co.uk). The best question wins a bottle of champagne.

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