Glen Ballard (born 1953 in Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.) is a veteran songwriter and record producer, best known as the producer of Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, which went platinum sixteen times in the U.S. and more than 30 million sold world wide. He started playing the piano from a very young age and later learned the guitar. Ballard was ten years old when he wrote his first song, and he was in local rock bands beginning in grade five.
Ballard has a love for diverse musical styles. When he was younger, Jerry Lee Lewis lived within ten miles of his Natchez home, and young Ballard grew up watching him perform. Ballardís favorites included southern rhythm and blues singer Irma Thomas, Memphis based soul singer Al Green, and nearly all of the great blues and jazz singers emerging from New Orleans. When the Beatles became popular, Ballardís appreciation of pop music expanded.
Ballard attended the University of Mississippi, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He studied English language, political science, and journalism, and he graduated with honors. He had the option of attending either graduate or law schools, but Ballard was intent upon a career as a songwriter. Within a week of graduation (1975), he moved to the West Coast.
Ballard joined Elton Johnís organization in Los Angeles. Starting out as a lower level assistant, Ballard eventually ended up playing piano for Kiki Dee. He was writing constantly, and when Dee recorded his song "One Step" in 1978, Ballard had his first charted single. This success enabled him to secure a professional songwriting job at MCA Music Publishing. Even though Ballard was only earning $100 a week, he was occupied full-time with the work he loved.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Ballard composed scores of songs, including "Whatís on Your Mind," a Quincy Jones-produced hit for George Benson, along with many others for various artists. Jones saw promise in Ballard and took him under his wing. Thanks to his connection with Jones, Ballardís ďTry Your Love AgainĒ appeared on James Ingramís 1983 debut album, It's Your Night. Along with Clif Magness, Glen co-wrote and produced two tracks for Patti Austin entitled ďIts Gonna Be SpecialĒ and ďShoot the Moon.Ē By the time Austinís album came out in 1985, Ballard was writing and producing full time for his mentor, Quincy Jones, at Quest Records. Once Ballard learned to apply his wide-range of musical sensibilities, he produced for rhythm and blues artist Evelyn ďChampagneĒ King, Teddy Pendergrass, and Jack Wagner. Ballard and Magness wrote ďAll I NeedĒ for Wagner, and it soared to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.