Vulture's Rachel Handler was skeptical when she received an email from a "nondescript Hotmail address" claiming to be the reclusive singer-songwriter Fiona Apple. It was shortly after the premiere of Hustlers, which features a be-sequined Jennifer Lopez pole-dancing to Apple's breakthrough 1996 single "Criminal," and she allegedly wanted to discuss a case of blatant dubbing in a Variety interview with the film's director Lorene Scafaria.
"I saw that you were one of the only ones to notice," Apple wrote, referring to a moment where the director could be seen praising the singer's decision to donate two years of "Criminal"'s royalties to organization While They Wait, which provides legal and other services to refugees—but the word "refugees" was blatantly overdubbed with the phrase "to the movie," a clearly intentional decision that the publication would attempt to pass off as a technical glitch.
"No one seems to think this is a big deal, but I think it is," Apple continued in her email. "I'm wondering if you'll write something about it. Email me if you want to talk." Thankfully, Handler did, and shared much of the ensuing 45-minute phone conversation, that saw Apple riffing on everything from new music to Billie Eilish, on Wednesday.
• On Brendon Urie calling her a bitch: "I don't remember hearing the song [Brendon] wanted to put [a sample of 2012's 'Every Single Night'] in. The reason I didn't give it to [him]—besides the fact that I don't remember it, so it probably wasn't that great to me—is because this other guy had just used a sample of that same song and had signed to my label... I was just trying to not shit all over somebody else's sampling of my song by doing it twice, but [he] called me a bitch. Which I think is hilarious."
• On controlling her narrative: "It's honestly a direct result of me never getting people's phone numbers and never getting chummy with a lot of people. So then people don't think of me to call up and badger to come out and do stuff... I assumed in the beginning I could do whatever I want. If you're just doing that from the beginning, and don't have any doubt about it, then that's how it goes. I had no idea I was setting my own narrative by not acting a certain way or taking anybody's advice."
• On "This world is bullshit": "The world is many, many, many, many things. I never said the world was bullshit, I just said this world was bullshit. Referring to the room that I was in and the whole music scene, which—it's not bullshit anymore. It's the bull who ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and then ate that shit and then shit it out again, and now it's that bullshit." [Laughs loudly]
• On releasing new music: "I worry a lot about what it's gonna be like when I actually have to put out an album and go out there. I think I'm getting close to finishing. [...] I was supposed to be done a million years ago. And I go off and I take too long making stuff. I'm hoping for early 2020. I think."
• On being an icon: "Hearing you say that... I like the sound of that. I will choose to believe that. I’d like to internalize that. That would be great."
• On the new generation of female artists*: "I don't really follow, uh, I don't. I feel bad. But I don't."
"The whole music scene — it's not bullshit anymore. It's the bull who ate that shit and then shit it out again." Fiona Apple spends most of her time at home, working on a new album. That doesn't mean she's not paying attention https://t.co/2CaT3WzhLK— Vulture (@vulture) September 25, 2019
* Mentioned by Handler are Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, and Maggie Rogers.
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