In 1968 when the duo LINDSAY AND JACQUI were performing in HULL, QUEBEC, they met another young married couple named ALAN and GEORGIA MORISSETTE. This was the start of a life long friendship.
A short time later 1970, the MORISSETTES became parents, CHAD EVERET was born and four years later in 1974, twins, a boy WADE and a girl ALANIS. During those years the MORGAN duo appeared frequently in the OTTAWA region. It was during one of those visits that the twins were born, enabling them to celebrate with the family at the hospital the very next day.
Other than the few years ALANIS' family spent in GERMANY, the MORGANS and the MORISSETTES would visit and stay at each other's homes regularly. In 1970, LINDSAY and JACQUI had bought a 125 year old stone farmhouse on 200 acres of beautiful, gently, rolling hills close to MOUNT FOREST, ONTARIO. CHAD, WADE and ALANIS would love to visit with their parents. In 1983 LINDSAY started to build a small 8-TRACK studio at the farm. According to GEORGIA MORISSETTE, ALANIS started showing interest in music at a very young age, for example, she memorized all the sound track to "GREASE".
LINDSAY QUOTE: 'There was definitely one significant occasion I remember'. "JACQUELINE and I were performing at THE MUSKOKA SANDS resort, by BRACEBRIDGE, ONTARIO, one summer". "The twins were about 7 years old, I think". "The MORISSETTE family had come down to stay with us for a few days". "The room we were performing in looked out of these huge sliding glass doors over the lake, a beautiful location". "Because of their age the kids were not allowed into the club itself, but they could stand at the door with their parents and look in". "ALANIS just stood there as if mesmerized, I can still see her eyes, wide and staring, especially at JACQUI". "She always knew we were entertainers, but it was as if she was seeing something for the first time". "I like to believe that, that was possibly the start of the germ of an idea, that self awareness, in the heart of a child that ("Hey! If they can do that, I can too!")"
"Things really started happening when one night in 1983, after a week on the road, JACQUI and I arrived home, as usual in the early hours of the morning". "There was a bunch of mail we were going through, and there was this cassette tape from ALANIS". "On it she was chatting to us about her favourite music, and she had recorded some tunes, such as MADONNA'S "LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD". "She had said that this was her favourite song, and then at the end of it she said 'This is my favourite song too, and I wrote it', and with that she started to sing". "The song had no real structure but parts and lines would jump out at me, ('FATE, FATE, FATE STAY WITH ME'), and I had this strong sense that there was a quality there that was definitely exceptional for a 9 year old". "I remember saying to JACQUI, "listen, listen to that! There's something there!"
"A short time later we were visiting the MORISSETTES in OTTAWA, and I took the opportunity to sit ALANIS down at the piano and 'coach' her through her song. I gave her a sense of structure for the song (e.g.: verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus), and got her to think up alternate words if I didn't think they worked, such as not using words like "thee". "I made it a point NOT to put words into her mouth, but let her come up with them, and I would play a chord and say "is that what you hear there?" "She would say yes or no, then I would try another until it was what she wanted, and that's how she ended up writing, "FATE STAY WITH ME". ALL the words, and ALL the music were hers at 9 years old." "I had an idea at the time I would record a 'bed track' for the song, and the next time her family was visiting 'the farm' I would record her vocal. It was to be a surprise for her parents, so they didn't know anything about it."
"That's exactly what happened, when the rest of the family were out somewhere, I took ALANIS into the studio, and she put down a lead vocal and harmonies. She was great. Her intonation was 'right on', she had her own style, and her harmonies perfect." "When the rest of the family came home we played it to them, I remember GEORGIA, her mum, could hardly hold back the tears, she was so thrilled."
"Before they left to drive back to OTTAWA, I told ALANIS to write some more." "There's a saying that everyone has at least one book in them, and writing one song does not make a person a songwriter. I wanted to see if this was the start of something 'special', or just a 'flash in the pan'.
A couple of months went by and soon I was back at the MORISSETTES, sitting at their piano. I asked ALANIS to bring me anything else she might have written since I'd last seen her."
"She walked into the room with her little note book in her hand and stood in front of me." "Normally fearless, there was a brief moment of hesitaion and she said "Now promise you won't laugh". "ALANIS", I said, "there is no way I'm going to laugh, now go ahead". "She opened up her book to the first song and without any musical accompaniment, started to sing". "FIND THE RIGHT MAN". "I sat there transfixed, the words and the music just flowed out, remember she had just turned 10 years old." "Over the years I've frequently been sent lyrics and songs that people have written, and the overwhelming majority usually are well below average to terrible". "I'll swear by anything you want me to, that at that moment I could literally feel the hairs on the back of my neck start to bristle". "I knew with absolute certainty that I was hearing something incredible, I don't mean the song was the greatest ever written, but just listening to it I realized that this little girl, had taken my few pointers on songwriting, absorbed the whole concept of song structure, appropriate lyrics, and wrote a song from her 10 year old point of view that I really couldn't find any fault with." "If she could do that at this age I knew at some point in the future, this bundle of talent would someday be a superstar". "I love it when I'm right". "That wasn't the end of it, she turned the page and went off into another song, and another. Her little notebook was chock full of songs, and poem s, some complete, and some unfinished. She was like a sponge. She absorbed everything around her, especially music, never one particular influence , she'd drink it all in, and then pour it all out in her writing".
"Once again when she came back to my studio I had a bunch of tracks laid down of her new tunes, and she recorded her vocals. We now had about five songs." "There is an organization in CANADA called FACTOR. FOUNDATION TO ASSIST CANADIAN TALENT ON RECORD. My idea at the time was to apply for some funding for ALANIS, so that I could record her "properly ". My studio only consisted of an 8-track TASCAM 'reel to reel' recorder and a SHURE microphone. 1985 my marriage to JACQUI had broken up, and I was now starting to think of myself as a solo performer for the first time. During 1986 I had also started to produce another singer, PAULA MANDERSON, a talented country performer, from HARRISTON, ONTARIO. I applied to FACTOR for three separate grants, ALANIS, PAULA and myself. A few months later I got a letter in the mail giving me an individual budget for all three of us."
"I booked two days at "MARIGOLD STUDIOS", TORONTO. Owned and operated by RICH DODSON, member of the CANADIAN 70's band, "THE STAMPEDERS", and writer of major worldwide hits such as "CARRY ME" and "SWEET CITY WOMAN". I also booked a hair and make-up appointment, followed by a photography session for ALANIS, the next day." "She was to fly down to TORONTO alone. I remember going down to meet her at TORONTO ISLAND AIRPORT, and standing at the terminal watching all the people coming out of the plane. All these adults in business suits, with their briefcases and rolled up newspapers, and there amongst them, this little 11 year old. 'NO FEARS'."
"The recording session went incredibly. ALANIS had dreamed that this was her destiny, and she had spent a good part of her time, in front of her mirror at home, singing into a 'pretend' microphone, and all that practicing was paying off." "The other thing I remember from that time is that she was 'tireless', and I'm not using that word lightly. She could go on forever, and was always ready to keep going when all the adults were calling it a day". "When she is in a 'hyper-focus' state she had no concept of the passage of time".
"During the evenings back at the farm, I would play her music like 'THE MOODY BLUES', 'ELO', ETC., and she would introduce me to new artists I hadn't picked up on yet, like 'JANE SIBERRY' who ALANIS had just seen performing in OTTAWA."
"Over the last couple of years, she had really started to go for other opportunities, like getting parts in musicals, TV appearances, modeling, etc. During one of those evenings at the farm I had asked her about how things were in school, with all this exciting stuff she was getting into. She told me that one school friend had told her "You can't be my friend anymore", and when ALANIS asked why, the girl answered "Because every time we go for anything, you always get the part". I asked her how she felt about having that said to her. Now remember this is just an 11-year-old. ALANIS said "Well I can't really do anything about that." "How can I be less than what I am".