When Alanis Morissette was balancing school and stardom

Alanis Morissette had already sold 100,000 records before she even finished high school.

The future rock star had already sold 100,000 records before finishing Grade 12

Woman with Juno statue
Alanis Morissette is seen after winning a Juno award in March of 1992, just a few months after CBC's Newsmagazine ran a profile of the up-and-coming music star. (Bill Becker/Canadian Press)

Alanis Morissette was already a certified pop star in high school, having sold more than 100,000 records before her Grade 12 year was even half-over.

"This is Alanis — the teenage pop surprise of 1991," the CBC's Denise Harrington reported, when profiling the up-and-coming singer for the CBC program Newsmagazine in November of that year.

As Harrington told viewers, the sales of her self-titled debut record Alanis had already reached platinum status.

And Morissette had warmed up the crowd for Vanilla Ice — then at the peak of his short-lived popularity as a recording artist — when he performed in Ottawa the previous summer. 

Short-haired white man with music awards
When Vanilla Ice performed in Ottawa in 1991, the teenage Alanis Morissette helped warm up the crowd. (Reed Saxon/Associated Press)

But that doesn't mean Morissette was already living a superstar's life — far from it, as the Newsmagazine profile would reveal.

Because back then, Morissette was still living at her parents' Ottawa home and relying on her dad to pass on the faxes meant for her, which got sent to him at work.

Taking bookings ... via fax

Meet the Morissettes

32 years ago
Duration 0:25
In 1991, CBC visited the home where Alanis Morissette lived with her parents.

"When did you get this fax, Dad?" the 17-year-old Morissette asked her dad, when CBC's Newsmagazine dropped by the Morissette home in November of 1991.

Alan and Georgia Morissette were trying to keep a close eye on the people who were getting involved in Morissette's life, as the young singer was developing her career.

"We're really kind of enjoying the ride, if you wish," said Alan Morissette. "Our basic purpose is to try to make sure that the right people are surrounding Alanis and that we're being able to choose who those people are."

'Is that OK?'

Alanis and her non-stardom life

32 years ago
Duration 0:44
At 17, Alanis Morissette gets to make a lot of decisions ... but not all of them.

The Morissettes' soon-to-be very famous daughter was like any other kid in many respects.

After preparing a meal of Kraft Dinner for her dad — "I'm the big gourmet chef" — while CBC cameras were rolling, Alanis Morissette then decided to press her father for permission to head south for the holidays with some high school friends.

"I'm going to Florida for Christmas," she told him, laughing while making her pitch. "Is that OK?"

Her dad laughed, too, before telling her "we'll see."

Despite the stardom she was seeking, Morissette seemed fairly grounded when talking to Newsmagazine about her future.

She was working to graduate high school early, so that she could then focus on her music full-time.

"I'm sure, you know,  there are some people that don't want to see me get ahead anymore," said Morissette, expressing a seemingly realistic view about the fact that her growing fame would not sit well with everyone who knew her.

"The close people that I surround myself with ... they all want the best for me."

Things would work out just fine for her, though, with Morissette continuing to grow as an artist and soon seeing massive commercial success.

In 1995, Morissette's mega-selling Jagged Little Pill was released, making her one of the most famous entertainers in the world. The album and its singles would capture four Grammys as well.

Smiling woman with microphone
Alanis Morisette, seen in a November 1998 photo, would hit mega-stardom with the release of her 1995 album "Jagged Little Pill." (Kevin Frayer/Canadian Press)

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