Fiona Apple singlehandedly delivered the best album of the year when she dropped Fetch the Bolt Cutters, and she was acknowledged for doing such with a handful of Grammy nominations last month. Now, in a new interview, Apple has shared her thoughts about what it means to be honored at the Grammys, her frustrations with producer Dr. Luke, and much more.
The Guardian interview with Apple goes deep into a handful of subjects, spanning everything from the impact of her iconic 1997 MTV Awards speech to the very real person who inspired “Shameika”. However, the most topical segment arrived when Apple inadvertently brought up the Recording Academy, their suspended President and CEO Deborah Dugan, and their decision to nominate Dr. Luke (under the pseudonym Tyson Trax) despite Kesha’s allegations that the renowned producer sexually assaulted her.
“They had [Kesha] up there singing ‘Praying’ and now they’re gonna go: ‘Oh but it’s Tyson Trax!'” said Apple. “I’m waiting to hear more about what Deborah Dugan has to say [about the culture at the Recording Academy] because that all reeks to me. When you hire somebody and they raise questions and then they get fired? There’s a lot of things that she brought up that make it so that I can’t vet that situation and I don’t really wanna go there and support it.”
As much as Apple wants to boycott the Grammys over their treatment of Kesha and Dugan, she also said she wants to celebrate the fact that she, Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, Brittany Howard, Adrienne Lenker, and Grace Potter are all up for Best Rock Performance — marking the first time ever that all the nominees in the category are women.
“I wish I was in a room with these ladies and we could celebrate,” said Apple. “Every week I send a selfie to Simon, who runs the Tumblr site on me. I thought, for that week’s selfie, I’m gonna make a t-shirt with everybody’s names in little hearts: Phoebe, Brittany, Danielle, Este, Alana, Adrienne, Grace. But then I threw it away. I felt like this is exactly what they want me to do: It’s better now! I got nominated! And it’s all women this year and the Grammys are great!”
“I keep going back to them putting Kesha on stage like, ‘We believe you’ — and I believe her — then two years later, fucking Tyson Trax. Not to go back to that word, but it’s bullshit,” she continued. “The feeling of wanting to celebrate with these women was genuine. But I should have that feeling anyway. I don’t know if anybody who’s nominated can help having the thought: what would I do If I won? My vision was that I would just get up there with a sledgehammer and I wouldn’t say anything, I would take the Grammy and smash it into enough pieces to share and I would invite all the ladies up. My second thought was I wonder if I can get all these ladies to boycott this shit because of Dr Luke.”
Time will tell if Apple ultimately decides to ditch the Grammys. Until then, don’t feel bad for Apple about the fact that she wasn’t nominated for Album of the Year. If anything, she seems very grateful to have dodged that spotlight because it would have pitted her against Taylor Swift — an artist she respects, but whose fans she genuinely fears.
“I am so on board for Taylor Swift re-recording her songs and I want them to outperform those old recordings,” said Apple. “It’s nice to know that the Swifties [her fans] will make that happen. As much as the Swifties terrify me, I respect their power for doing good for her! I was so terrified that I was going to be nominated for [Grammys] album of the year along with Taylor Swift, though. I’m so relieved [I’m not] because I didn’t wanna get bullied!”
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