OWN
09/18/2014 10:32 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Alanis Morissette On The Trauma Of Fame: I Didn't Laugh For 2 Years (VIDEO)

Before she became known in the late '90s for her alternative sound and angst-ridden lyrics, Alanis Morissette was a little-known Canadian musician who had been releasing pop albums in Canada. But, after moving to Los Angeles and exploring a more introspective approach to her music, the then-20-year-old singer released her first international album: "Jagged Little Pill." That's when her world changed.

Morissette opens up about the head-spinning aftermath of "Jagged Little Pill" in a new interview with Oprah for "Super Soul Sunday." Though she had been successful in Canada, Morissette says that her past experience in no way prepared her for the mayhem that followed the 1995 release of "Jagged Little Pill."

"We were playing 100-seater clubs and then we were playing stadiums," she recalls. "It went from zero to 650 in 3.5 seconds."

"Jagged Little Pill" received wild praise from critics, went on to win four Grammys and sold more than 33 million copies, breaking the record for a U.S. debut by a female artist. Morissette had become the success she had dreamed of, but wasn't prepared for life in such a spotlight.

"My head spun around 360. I just remember having been the person who loved to sit and watch people... and then I immediately became the watched," she tells Oprah. "That was really disconcerting."

This sudden fame took its toll on Morissette, affecting not just her psyche but also her outward behavior.

"I remember looking down a lot. I remember I didn't laugh for about two years," she says. "A lot of self-protection."

As Morissette's popularity grew, so did her fans' intensity. "People would break into my hotel room while I was doing a show and leave notes and take things," she says. "There was a lot of invading of boundaries."

The entire experience of fame had a severe effect on her. "You use the term 'PTSD,'" Oprah says to Morissette. "What do you mean, really, by that?"

"Traumatized," Morissette explains. "On some level, I think becoming famous and wanting fame, there's some trauma."

Though she readily admits that she had been seeking fame -- "I don't think it happens by mistake for anybody, frankly," she says -- Morissette also feels that life in the spotlight often does great damage, when the expectation is that it will lead to happiness and fulfillment.

"The traumatized person -- in this case, me -- gets traumatized by the very thing that I thought would be the balm," she says. "I thought that all would be helped and healed and soothed by fame... 'I will be less lonely and I will be understood and I will be loved, and that love will go in and heal any of the broken parts.'"

The type of mindset isn't exclusive to celebrities, as Oprah points out. "The truth is, there's no difference between fame or 'when I get thin' or 'when I get rich' or 'when I meet the right guy... then everything will be okay," she says. "It's the same thing."

Watch Alanis Morissette's full "Super Soul Sunday" interview on OWN this Sunday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m. ET, when it also streams worldwide on Oprah.com, Facebook.com/owntv and Facebook.com/supersoulsunday.

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Alanis Morissette Through The Years
CONVERSATIONS