Fiona crashes the party
Athens Daily News    Oct 03  '97

by Jeff Montgomery

Fiona Apple isn't known for her "bubblegum" pop.

Her debut album, "Tidal," is filled with songs about loss, deteriorating relationships and introspection. It has also gone on to sell almost 1.5 million records with the help of hits such as "Shadowboxer," "Sleep to Dream" and "Criminal."

But while Apple's slinky alto voice and varied musical stylings have captured the ears of fans and critics, her lyrics sometimes find her unfairly filed away as a bitter young singer.

"Of some things I'm jaded, but I'm also aware that the things that I am jaded about, that's not the end of it," admits Apple in a phone conversation from Charleston. "If somebody is jaded about love, it doesn't mean that they're never gonna fall in love again or think love is wonderful."

Apple would be justified in being jaded.

Her parents separated when she was 4, and her dad, actor Brandon Maggart from the '80s Showtime sitcom "Brothers," moved from New York to Los Angeles. When she was 12, Apple was raped by an intruder in her building, a traumatic experience that she has talked about openly.

But if Apple was jaded about love and relationships before, she isn't now. She says she could even get married someday.

"I don't see myself in a church, wearing a white dress, putting on a gold ring and having a baby shower and stuff, but I could definitely (get married)," Apple says. "I'm in love right now."

There's no need for Apple to hurry to the altar.

She turned 20 last month, making her lyrical and musical maturity even more impressive. Compared to artists such as Carole King, Tori Amos and Nina Simone, Apple quickly crooned her way into a record deal and the studio before having enough songs finished for an album."The only problem was,I had to kick my dad out of the house for a couple of hours (to finish them)," she says with a laugh.

Apple has been playing piano and writing since early childhood. Inspired by the poems and writings of Maya Angelou, her writing became a way to deal with the awkwardness and isolation of youth. Dubbed "the weird one" by other children because of her quietness and "funny looking" hair, Apple is still getting used to her sudden acceptance by fans and other celebrities.

A poignant example came during last month's "MTV Video Music Awards." After accepting the award for Best New Artist, Apple gave an off-the-cuff speech about her sudden star status that was wildly interpreted by some as a suicidal message and others as a kiss-off to the entertainment industry.

Although Apple says neither interpretation is true, the speech showed that she has an honesty that can come back to haunt her.

"You walk into this room of the MTV Video Music Awards and it's like you opened up People magazine, and you're walking through, and it just seems so fake," Apple explains. "I felt like I should still be on the other side of the television because this has happened very, very fast for me, so I kind of don't feel like I'm here yet. I kind of feel like I've somehow snuck into the party."  fin