From The Buzz Bin III

(Starts with a live clip of shadowboxer)

Welcome to the world of Fiona Apple, where personal struggle and heartfelt emotions form the landscape of her hauntingly beautiful songs. Songs whose subject matter is surprisingly mature for a first-time composer who's still in her teens.

Fiona: I've had people ask me questions about like well have you had a million relationships or something? like your only 18 well 19 now but like you know your only this kid and you haven't had so many years to experience everything, but I'm such an incredibly stupidly sensitive person that everything that happens to me I experience it really intensely, I feel everything very deeply and when you feel things deeply and you think about things alot and you think about how you feel, you learn a lot about yourself and when you know yourself you know life.

Fiona: (before live clip of Sullen Girl) This song is basically about the frustration of being misunderstood and the tendency of the misunderstood to kind of sink into their own world, or my tendency to do that, so uhm, this is called sullen girl.

Critics of Apple's ability to write deeply emotional music at such a young age need only consider the singer's life experience, which includes a traumatic rape at age 12.

Fiona: This is a tough situation for me because I don't want to trivialize it but I also don't want to make it something bigger than it is, you know, I don't want it to be my identity. But it, you know, it's basically within my music, it's part of who I am like all of my experiences are...

Apple, a native New Yorker, who grew up in an artistically inclined family, found her own musical path when she discovered the piano, and began using the instrument as an emotional conduit which ultimately brought her music to the masses.

Fiona: I always like to just sit at the piano and, you know, improvise. If ylou feel overwhelmed by something that's going on in your life you just feel like sitting down and doing whatever it is you do, you know you write or you play the piano or you paint or whatever and I just felt like improvising and letting whatever I felt come out through my fingers.

Unlike most artists who tour incessantly before being signed, Apple was discovered on the strength of a demo tape, and didn't even see a stage until a pressure packed performance last summer to a crowd of record label executives.

Fiona: It was in paris in front of seven hundred people, mainly like sony people and press people, and I'm like this litle girl who's never played before in my life. I felt like such an ass. But it's weird because I see it from two diferrent perspectives, on one hand I think I'm really, really lucky because I never had to play a gig before I got signed, but then on the other hand I'm really unlucky because you know, just like anyhting else you kind of have to develop your stage presence and develop being comfortable.

Fiona: I had like, a nervous breakdown after my first performance, I went back and I was like crying, but it was weird, It wasn't like I was crying, at the time I said because I was like "I sucked, I sucked..." but I don't hink that I actually thought that I sucked, I think that it was actually because it was like an emotional release because I'd been waiting to do it so long, you know, and not to be, I don't know if this is gonna make any sense, but it's kind of the same thing like for girls I think like when they lose their virginity and they cry, it's not because they're sad because they had sex, or because they're so happy that they had sex, it's just like an emotional release, because it's somethign very important that's happened to you, it's very life affirming, and it overwhelms you, and it was like the same thing when I went on stage, it was like somethign that I felt that I had been waiting to do for so many years, basically my whole life...

The first single from Fiona's debut album, Tidal, was the track Shadowboxer, an MTV Buzz Clip, which also signaled the singer's first foray into the visual medium.

Fiona: The thing was that I hadn't done a photo shoot yet, and there was like some big sony branch meeting and they wanted a visual on me, and so they just sent a camera crew into the studio one night, and that was my first time on camera, and we didn't prepare for it, we didn't have some kind of, like, concept, it was just really cool film.

Fiona: Shadowboxer is about just angry desperation, wanting, needing, you know wwhen your mind is fighting with your heart, when you know that something isn't good for you but you want it anyway, and you're trying really hard to do the right thing for yourself but then finally you're just like, you know, I'm gonna do what I wanna do, I gotta do what my heart wants me to do, otherwise, you know, I won't learn anything and then my mind won't be any good to me.

With Tidal already certified gold and a second MTV Buzz Clip for the track Sleep To Dream, Fiona Apple continues doing what she wants to do, while keeping a clear perspective on her newfound fame.

Fiona: I remind myself a lot about how cool it is that all this is happening, as much stress as it puts on me, and as much as sometime I just feel like, I don't know, kicking a wall or something like that, uhm, I think it's the healthiest thing for me to do is to just remind myself of how lucky I am so I don't start taking it for granted and start becoming some kind of, like, premature diva or somehting like that.

I don't wanna start doing this for the wrong reasons, I want to stay the way I am and experience the real joys of this whole thing which is the writing and the singing and the performing.

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