Very few female artists in the world today incorporate the stage performances, searing lyrics, and sultry style that Fiona Apple brings to all of her work. Apple has gained a huge and loyal following, and he will be performing live in several cities across the United States this summer.
Fiona Apple Maggart was born in New York City on September 17, 1977. She was apparently born to perform, as her parents are actors Brandon Maggart and Diane McAfee. Apple’s childhood consisted of several difficult twists and turns, the first of which occurred when he was only four years old, when his parents separated.
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Fiona was raised by her mother in New York, and was introduced to the world of music by learning to play the piano at the age of eight. However, his lifelong independent nature began to show itself at this time, when he decided soon after starting his piano lessons that he was better off learning on his own, which is what he did, mostly working with the keyboard as opposed to the classical piano.
Fiona’s childhood internal problems began to manifest themselves outwardly only three years later, when at the age of 11, she confessed to a friend that she wanted to kill herself and her older sister Amber. This causes her mother to put Fiona through several intense therapy sessions, which only brings Fiona’s dark side down a more advanced corridor, as her attitude towards these sessions is that she must have had something wrong with her to need therapy as a child.
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Her greatest personal tragedy occurred at the age of 12, when she was raped by an unknown assailant as she was returning from school to her mother’s apartment building in New York. Given its troubled psychological past, this incident could easily have landed Apple in a rut. However, he instead turns this tragedy into something positive, as will be seen in his next work, where he alludes to the incident to give a message of overcoming obstacles in some of his songs.
The idea of random chance did not go well with Fiona as a child, but it was this same idea that helped launch her successful music career. Fiona had put together a demo tape, but had not had much success with it until then. One of his friends had a copy, and his friend became a baby-sitter for Kathryn Schenker, a music industry publicist whose clients include Aerosmith and Sting. A friend gave a demo tape to Schenker, and he was impressed enough to send it to Andrew Slater, a prominent producer. Slater signed him to his first recording contract.
From there, the rest is history. His debut album, Tidal, was released in 1996, selling 3 million copies in the United States. One of the singles on the album, Sleep to Dream, won the MTV Award for New Artist Video of the Year in 1997. Apple caused quite a stir during its acceptance speech by tearing up the image-conscious entertainment industry and urging young women to feel good about themselves. Apple has never expressed regret for its statements, and its independent stance is once again on display.
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Since then Apple has released two additional studio albums, and each of them has climbed into the Top 15 on the US Albums chart. He has also won two additional MTV Music Awards, and his work is recognized worldwide.
Apple live shows are known not only for the quality of their music and acoustics, but also for the intimacy that Apple creates even with large audiences. Apple is truly a unique character in every sense, and its deeply held attitudes and beliefs are a breath of fresh air from the mass marketed world of mainstream music.