This much I know: Alanis Morissette

The singer, 38, on crying, healing, parenting – and the importance of vegetable soup

Fame is hollow. It amplifies what is there. If there is any self-doubt, or hatred, or lack of ability to connect with people, fame will magnify it. It gets easier when you realise you can use it as a means to an end, to suit your own agenda.

There was a time, around the release of Jagged Little Pill, when everything was overwhelming. And so the secret was to keep looking down and keep walking. If I had looked up I wouldn't have been able to breathe. I am not afraid to say I had my suicidal moments.

My parents offered me the idea of ceilinglessness. There was no limit in terms of what was possible; no messages sent to me to say that I couldn't do anything.

Trauma happens in relationships, so it can only be healed in relationships. Art can't provide healing. It can be cathartic and therapeutic but a relationship is a three-part journey. First there's infatuation, then there's conflict – the part where most people jump ship. The third part is becoming an active participant in your partner's feelings, and that's the method to the madness.

Attachment parenting has America up in arms but I really do believe in it. I understand that kind of skin-on-skin contact and intimacy is scary for people but my son [18-month-old Ever] comes everywhere with me. It feels intuitive.

Ageism works in both directions. As a teenager in the public eye, people would talk condescendingly to me. When you get older there's this feeling that you have to start carving up your face and body. Right now I'm in the middle ground – I think women in their thirties are taken seriously.

My greatest achievement is being able to write records that are real snapshots of what's going on in my life. I won't repeat myself for the sake of commerce, or to please other people.

Men are threatened by alpha women. In fact, "threatened" is putting it kindly. Alpha-alpha in a relationship doesn't create long-term harmony but there's a lot of art and professional success that can be yielded. I am much happier with an alpha-beta dynamic.

Variety is important when it comes to exercise. I don't do anything that bores me to tears.

These days my hair is a little cleaner and my clothes are a little fancier. I'm obsessed with perfume and high heels. Beauty relaxes people. You can't shy away from it.

Crying is a cleansing experience. I cried the other day when I got home from touring in Rome. I have a new marriage, a new baby, a new professional team and oh my God, I'm exhausted.

I'm a soup woman. I live for soup. Anything with greens. I'm predominantly vegan, which my friends hate because it's not monogamous; 80% is vegan; the other 20% is following what my body needs.

Alanis Morissette's new album Havoc And Bright Lights (Columbia) is out on 28 August

Kerry Potter

The GuardianTramp

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