Photo shoots are always exciting and one of the many reasons I love my job as an art director at Live Happy. Whether we are photographing a celebrity, a family at home, or an entrepreneur on the job, there are always colorful personalities and environments to capture on film—and a team of people behind the scenes that make it all come together.
My last photo shoot was a highpoint for me personally. I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles and be part of the team photographing Alanis Morissette for our August Live Happy cover.
I have been a huge fan of Alanis since her debut album Jagged Little Pill was released in 1995. Her music and lyrics resonated when I was 18, and still do to this day. Although the subjects and focus of her songs have evolved over the years, I feel I’ve gone on the journey with her.
My best friend Rachel and I used to drive to community college together every day back in the ‘90s; Jagged Little Pill (along with Dave Matthews Band and Beastie Boys) was our soundtrack for that ride—and for our late teens/early 20s in general. We would belt out the lyrics from “Ironic” ("It’s like Raaaaiiiiiinn, on your wedding day!"), as well as “All I Really Want,” “You Learn” and many others. Later I would put my hair up in “Alanis braids,” go to her concerts and soak up her free spirit. I probably looked silly but I didn’t care; she inspired me.
Another reason I think I feel such an affinity for her music is that we share a passion for yoga, spirituality and mindfulness.
The album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie also had a profound effect on me. It was more spiritual, the sound was different from JLP … it referred to India, gurus, and delved deeper into subjects like relationships, self-awareness and confidence: All things I could relate to in my life at that time. I was in a serious relationship with my soon-to-be-husband and trying to figure out who I was and what the rest of my life would look like after college.
I thought I would try this yoga thing out, and Alanis was something of a guide for me in that direction, too. As years went by, I understood and related to her lyrics even more as I went on my spiritual journey. Some of my favorite lyrics from this album still move me to this day.
“How bout me not blaming you for everything, How bout me enjoying the moment for once”
“The moment I let go of it was the moment I got more than I could handle
The moment I jumped off of it was the moment I touched down”
Now I’m older and a parent, and I still love her music. What makes me smile most is when my 4-year-old Kensie asks to hear “You see Everything” or “It Figures” (Ironic). She also asks for “the softer version” of “You Oughta Know” (the acoustic version) which just makes me laugh because it’s not exactly the song you want your toddler listening to! Alanis’ music has definitely come full circle in my life.
Back to the garden
The hidden Los Angeles garden is filled with gorgeous flowers in bloom, providing the perfect backdrop for Alanis’s cover shoot. I’m a little nervous to meet my idol, but on set, she is just as self-aware, confident and calm as I thought she would be—as is her son, Ever, who joins her on set and is very sweet as he quietly explores the garden.
Although we don’t get a chance to chat much at the shoot, I can sense that she is totally genuine and kind. She introduces herself to everyone personally, shaking our hands, and is gracious and patient throughout the shoot. It seems that her lyrics come from a real place inside her—that in a way I already knew a part of her.
I feel so grateful for this experience and so lucky to have met one of my favorite musicians. This was a meaningful moment for me, and I hope our readers find her presence in our magazine as magical as I do.
Thank U, Alanis.