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Fiona Apple

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Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple (born Fiona Apple Maggart on September 13, 1977) is a New York City-born singer-songwriter.

Apple is the daughter of singer Diane McAfee and actor Brandon Maggart. As a child, there was concern she had anti-social tendencies and she underwent psychotherapy. At the age of 12 she was the victim of a sexual assault. She attended high school in Los Angeles where she recorded a demo tape. The tape found its way to a record executive through his babysitter, a friend of Apple's.

Her 1996 (see 1996 in music) debut album Tidal was released to huge popularity and critical acclaim, eventually going on to sell 3 million copies domestically, certfied triple platinum. "Criminal", the second single, became a huge hit commerically and critically. Accompanied by a controversial music video, Apple received a great deal of public attention. Throughout the video, the waifishly thin Apple appeared in various degrees of undress and was shot in a voyeuristic manner. The video, true to form, received heavy rotation on Vh1 and MTV.

Other singles released included "Sleep to Dream," "Shadowboxer" and "Never is a Promise."

After a series of fiery public appearances, Apple's controversial image started to be regarded with some reservation by many and wild adoration by her more intense fans. Most notoriously, while accepting an MTV music video award for Best New Artist Video of 1997 ("Sleep To Dream"), she appealed to her audience not to be enamoured of celebrity culture. Referring to the MTV/Music Industry she proclaimed "this world is bullshit" and quoted Maya Angelou: "Go with yourself." Though her comments were generally greeted with cheers and applause at the awards ceremony, the media backlash was huge. Some considered her remarks hypocritical, seeing a contradiction between her appearance in a risque music video in only her underwear and her telling young women to ignore celebrity culture. However she was unapologetic: "When I have something to say, I'll say it," and saying that perhaps she was afforded greater success because of her image.

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."

During a relationship with film director Paul Thomas Anderson Apple wrote and recorded her 1999 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).

It was extremely well-received critically by the New York Times and by Rolling Stone, but some press immediately dismissed the album as derivative and too whiny, as Apple's reputation reflected. 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. However, 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 received very little airplay. 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 [..]" Fans of Apple, however, consider her esoteric turn-of-phrase as part of her appeal. Many critics eventually heralded the material as a musical achievement, but the difficult lyrics, the lengthy title, and the controversy surrounding her public appearances made her material inaccessible for many.

Apple's third album, entitled Extraordinary Machine was completed in 2002. Originally set for release in September 2003, the album is currently being held from release by Sony Music as they say it doesn't have a marketable single. Despite this, all of the album's tracks, which include "Extraordinary Machine", "A Better Version of Me", "Not About Love", "Used To Love Him", "Get Him Back", "Red Red Red", "Oh Well", "Oh Sailor", "Waltz", "Window", and "Please Please Please" have been leaked onto the Internet and have been played on US radio.

Despite not being released, it has been reviewed by every major news source, including Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The album has been received quite favorably; words like "gem", "innovative", "experimental", "beautiful" and "brilliant" have been used in conjunction with words like "unsteady", "uneven" and "unfinished" in nearly every review.

In response to the label's reluctance to release the album, fans started a website called Free Fiona (http://www.freefiona.com/) with the idea of sending "apple-related" items to the head of Apple's label, 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.

With the newest edition of Entertainment Weekly, fans of Apple have room to rejoice as Fiona is back at work on a Second third album with a new producer: Brian Kehew. Kehew is most well known for his roots in electronica and could infuse some new juice into this already ripe Apple. The article also claims that Apple was displeased with producer Jon Brion's work on Machine, however this is up for dispute among fans.

Discography

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