truly, sadly, deeply
Fiona Apple sings the young girl blues
SPIN    June  '97

by Sia Michel

SPIN: How does it feel to have a gold record at age 19?
Fiona Apple:

Everyone says, "Oh, you've had this overnight success," and "Lucky you."  I am very lucky because every-thing happened so fast, but I'm also the most unlucky person in the world because I've had to learn how to do all this stuff in front of everybody.  My fourth performance ever was on television.  How would you like it if you had to juggle on TV but only had a day to practice?

Do you worry that perhaps you should have taken things more slowly?
Five years from now I'm probably going to look back on the things I'm doing and cringe.   But suddenly, all these opportunities were there, and I knew if I passed them up, I'd regret it the rest of my life.  Sometimes I look around and I think, "Wow, maybe I totally screwed up my life."  My shrink told everybody, that I'm going to go insane if I don't get some time off.

What does he think about your career?
He knows that it's necessary for me psychologically.  I've spent my whole life not being listened to, or taken seriously, or respected for my opinions.  That makes me need to say what I feel and have complete control over the way that it's done.  And to make hundreds of people sit down and listen.  That's kind of sick when you think about it, that I have to get up there and grind my hips in front of a bunch of people.

You've said that you were sent to therapy at ten for "antisocial behavior."
Basically, I was young and I wasn't running around with a yo-yo and a jump rope all the time, so people thought there was something wrong with me.  I refused to go to school for weeks straight 'cause everyone was calling me "dog of the school," crazy, weird, stupid.  When I switched to an alternative school, my principal thought that I was emotionally disturbed.  Which I am.

I'm serious.  I'm going to end up in an institution at some point.  I think it would be good for me.  I think that I have some kind of chemical imbalance.  I'm just kind of fucked-up by everything.  But it's not like I have this terrible life.   I'm fine, I'm cool, I like myself.  I'm a pretty strong girl.

In many photos, though, you look scared and waifish.  Do you have misgivings about your sexuality being manipulated like that?
Sure, but how am I supposed to help that?  Of course my image and sexuality are going to be manipulated.  The best that I can do is just be as purely me as I can be, because it's out of my hands after that.  I know that there are people out there that like me just because of my belly button.  I'll tell you right now, if I cut my hair and put in brown contact lenses, my career would end before it starts.  If I'm not pretty I'm not to make it.  That's the sad truth.

Whose idea was the nave bare-belly look?
That was a New Year's resolution years ago.  I was just sitting thinking it'd be cool to have one.  People always think things that but never act on them.  I did it and now it's a symbol saying -- did what you wanted to do -- though there might have weird consequences.  You yourself happy.  For a moment."

A friend thinks that you elicit what he calls the "male predator thing" that you come across as this very vulnerable troubled girl who needs to be saved but could also be manipulated and used.
That makes me feel like kicking ass [laughs].  That's not what I'm about.  I'm open about my senses because that's where I get my strength.  If somebody's vulnerability induces someone to manipulate and control them, then that's their problem.   Your friend needs to get his head checked.

What's the worst thing a boyfriend's ever done to you?
I had a bunch of shit going on in my life, and this guy who was supposedly also a friend of mine saw me crying and looked at me "God, you are so fucking weak."  I think that's the cruelest thing anyone's ever said to me.

Do you think you're a fundamentally sad person?
No.  But there are some people in this world that have a certain vision because they've been through shit.  What I've seen has shaded my perspective and sometimes it makes me sad.  But what's wrong with being sad?  Does that me not cool or something?

When are you most a bitch?
Whenever I can be [laughs].  Most of the time I hold it in.  When I go home to my family, though, everything just comes out.  That's when I'm really bad.  fin