Apple is the daugher of singer Diane McAfee and actor Brandon
Maggart. As a child she was believed to be anti-social and as a
Apple's public persona began to overshadow her music. In
particular, while accepting an
During a relationship with magician
Critics immediately dismissed the album, many without hearing it. The initial review in Spin Magazine simply quoted the title, and then underneath read "Whoops. Now we don't have room for a review. One star." The album's sound was more mature both musically and lyrically, but it did not fare as well commercially. Although several singles were released, the videos received very little airplay. Many critics eventually heralded the material as a musical achievement, but the pomp and ego surrounding her public appearances (and the lengthy title) made it inaccessible to many listeners. The album's lyrics were also often difficult to decipher due to Apple's usage of archaic and intellectual words in place of layman's terms, for example: "My derring-do allows me to dance the rigadoon around you. But by the time I'm close to you I lose my desideratum [..]"
Apple is currently working on her as-yet untitled third album
along with Jon Brion, producer of When the Pawn. The
album's release, originally set for September
In 1996 (see 1996 in music) Apple's debut album Tidal was released by a subsidiary of Sony Music Corp. The album went on to sell 3 million copies (certified triple platinum) domestically.
"Criminal", the third single from Tidal, became the breakthrough hit for the songstress. The song's suggestive opening lyrics ("I've been a bad, bad girl..."), accompanied by a controversial music video in which a waifishly thin Apple appeared in various degrees of undress, garnered a great deal of attention. Unsurprisingly, the video received heavy rotation on VH-1 and MTV. Years later, Apple confessed about the dubious Criminal video, "I wasn't [comfortable]. And you can see that in the video. It's not s--y. It's disturbing." Other singles from "Tidal" included "Sleep to Dream," "Shadowboxer," "Never is a Promise," and "The First Taste."
After a series of fiery public appearances, Apple's image started to be regarded with some reservation. Most notoriously, while accepting an
When the Pawn ...
When The Pawn... 1999In 1999 Apple's second album, When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King/What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight/And He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring/There's No Body To Batter When Your Mind is Your Might/So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand/And Remember That Depth is the Greatest of Heights/And If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land/And If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right (commonly shortened to When the Pawn) was released.
The album was cultivated during Apple's relationship with film director Paul Thomas Anderson. It was well-received critically by the New York Times and by Rolling Stone, but some press immediately dismissed the album. The initial review in Spin Magazine simply quoted the title, and then underneath read "Whoops. Now we don't have room for a review. One star."
The album used more expressive lyrics and experimented more with drum loops and heavily incorporated clavichord and organ. It did not commercially fare as well as her debut, though it was an RIAA-certified Platinum selling release in the United States. Several singles were released ("Fast as You Can," "Paper Bag" and "Limp"), but the videos (directed by then-boyfriend Anderson) received very little airplay. The album's lyrics were also often difficult to decipher due to Apple's usage of archaic and creative wording in place of layman's terms. For example: "My derring-do allows me to dance the rigadoon around you. But by the time I'm close to you, I lose my desideratum [...]" Despite critical support, the lengthy title, obtuse lyrics, and controversy surrounding her public persona rendered her music - and Apple herself - inaccessible for many.
A third album, Extraordinary Machine, which was produced by Jon Brion, was submitted to Sony executives in May
In 2004, the tracks "Extraordinary Machine" and "Better Version of Me" were leaked on the internet in MP3 format and played on US and international radio; subsequently MP3s of the entire album, believed produced by Brion (although he later claimed the leaked tracks were "tweaked" beyond his own work), went online. Although a website distributing the album was quickly taken offline via the DMCA copyright law, they soon reached P2P networks and were snapped up by fans eager to hear Fiona Apple music after a five year wait. The bootleg was reviewed by major news outlets including the New York Times, and was received favorably with caveats; words like "innovative", "experimental", and "brilliant" were used alongside words like "unsteady", "uneven" and "unfinished".
In response to the label's alleged reluctance to release the album, fans started a website called Free Fiona with the idea of sending "apple-related" items to the head of Epic, in January 2005, with notes insisting that the record be released. The mailings were accompanied by a small protest outside Epic's headquarters in New York City on January 28, 2005. No response came from either Epic or Apple.
On August 15, 2005, the long awaited third album from Fiona Apple was given a release date of October 4, 2005. The label announced that production had been completed by Mike Elizondo (though known for his work with hip-hop artists such as Dr. Dre, he had previously played bass for Apple on Pawn) and co-produced by electronica experimentalist Brian Kehew. No mention was made of Brion's participation, but it was quickly determined that of the 11 tracks previously leaked, 2 would appear unchanged, but 9 were completely retooled, and there would be one brand new song. The album will be a DualDisc, the DVD side of which will contain new videos for "Not About Love", "Tymps (The Sick In The Head Song)", and "Parting Gift", three of Apple's perfomances with Jon Brion filmed at Café Largo, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews.
According to Elizondo, although he listened to Brion's versions, "Everything was done from scratch." He went on to state that most of the production sounds "radically different." The New York Times suggested that Epic Records was unimpressed by fan interest in the bootleg, and that Apple herself never considered the album finished. By the time of the leak, she and Elizondo had already started the re-recording process. Elizondo praised Apple's "amazing core" of fans, while acknowledging the awkwardness of working on an album that was already being dissected publicly, but defended Apple for sticking to her ultimate vision for the album.
Facts remain unclear as to what exactly transpired. There were suggestions that either Sony, or Apple herself, were unhappy with Brion's work. Brion has a reputation for perfectionism, which could have interfered with completion, but it had been understood that he completed and delivered a master tape. His penchant for, literally, bells and whistles could also have led to artistic differences. Elizondo has stated that Apple ultimately saw her "vision" for the album through, which may obliquely reference an unhappiness with Brion's work, but the singer has never publicly confirmed that. The only statement Apple has released regarding the new album states "Now that my album is finally finished, I am very, very excited to have people hear what we did — I am so proud of it, and all of us who worked on it."
Despite suggestions that the album had caused a rift between Brion and Apple, they regularly perform together at Largo, a club in Los Angeles, including a joint appearance with Elizondo on bass just before the news broke of an official release. Elizondo has hinted that he might join Apple on a live tour to support the album. Until the time of the album's release, Fiona's official website will be updated with new clips every Friday.
Apple is also a vegan and supporter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In 1997, Apple recorded a message on PETA's hotline expressing her concern for the plight of turkeys on Thanksgiving. In reference to a Butterball Turkey hotline people could call to get tips on cooking their turkeys, she claimed, "There's no proper way to kill and cook these beautiful birds." She continued, "Millions of people are learning that a vegetarian diet is the healthy choice for themselves, the Earth and the animals."
This Fiona Apple Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub