Songwriter & producer
Mississippi native Glen Ballard, 45, was already a major force in the music industry when he hooked up with Alanis Morissette in 1994. Among other accomplishments, Ballard had co-written Michael Jackson's hit "Man in the Mirror" and produced Wilson Phillips' eponymous album, which earned him three Grammy nominations and resulted in two No. 1 singles.
The partnership with Morissette, however, sealed Ballard's reputation as a star maker. The 20-year-old singer had been a minor teen-age success in her home country, Canada, recording mainstream pop songs and ballads. Under Ballard's direction, Morissette adopted the now-familiar persona of an angry young woman and recorded the chart-topping album "Jagged Little Pill."
Produced by Ballard, who also co-wrote many of the songs, the album sold about 28 million copies worldwide and won Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album.
Ballard is modest about his role in working with artists. "It is all about them," he said. "My role is to encourage and develop what is genuine and real about their talent."
On the heels of "Jagged Little Pill," Ballard launched Java Records in a deal with Capitol Records. Java has since signed a number of well-known artists, including Terence Trent D'Arby, Billy Idol and Lisa Marie Presley. Ballard wants Java to stay a relatively small label in order to better focus on the individual talent. "We are looking to create a career for our artists rather than just one hit record," said Ballard.
Meanwhile, he has expanded into new territory. Together with fellow producer David Foster and multimillionaire sports owner John McCaw Jr., Ballard formed Intrepid Entertainment. The company's first venture is an independent movie, "Clubland," written by Ballard. The movie, about an aspiring young rocker trying to make it in Hollywood, will come out next spring. Although Ballard has three other pictures in development, his primary focus remains music. "It's easier to put out 10 records than it is to make one movie," he said.
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