"I'm not an alternative rock fan," Fiona Apple declares, distancing herself from the buzz that hypes her as a cross between Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos (Apple, nineteen, sings in a low register, plays piano, and writes about reckless emotions). Apple's truest musical counterpart-- as established by her dark, bluesy debut, Tidal (Work) --is actually Billie Holiday. "That woman had a tough life and it comes out in her voice," she says. "Mine didn't exactly mirror Billie's, but I had some hard times." That's putting it mildly: at age 12, the day before Thanksgiving, Apple was raped in her Manhattan apartment building, an event that only intensified her tendency toward emotional withdrawal. Through years of counseling and inspiration from the poetry of Maya Angelou ("She was honest about her weakness and she was ok with them") Apple eventually came to terms with her sexual assault and learned to channel her feelings into songs. "My problem was that I felt ashamed of feeling sad or angry. Now, I don't hide my vulnerability in my lyrics. There's no way I was going to get raped and not get something out of it," she says. "I learned about power and hope and forgiveness. I like who I am now and I wouldn't be who I am if that hadn't happened." For Fiona, music has been the best form of therapy.