'Red Red Red'
By Fiona AppleUpdated Jan 2020
Fiona Apple McAfee-Maggart (born September 13, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Classically trained on piano as a child, Apple began composing her own songs when she was eight years…
Fiona Apple McAfee-Maggart (born September 13, 1977) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Classically trained on piano as a child, Apple began composing her own songs when she was eight years old. Her debut album, Tidal, written when Apple was 17, was released in 1996 and received a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the single "Criminal". She followed with When the Pawn... (1999), produced by Jon Brion, which was also critically and commercially successful and was certified platinum.
For her third album, Extraordinary Machine (2005), Apple again collaborated with Brion, and began recording the album in 2002. However, Apple was reportedly unhappy with the production and opted not to release the record, leading fans to erroneously protest Epic Records, believing that the label was withholding its release. The album was eventually reproduced without Brion and released in October 2005. The album was certified gold, and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. In 2012, she released her fourth studio album, The Idler Wheel..., which received critical praise and was followed by a tour of the United States.
Born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City in 1977, Apple is the daughter of singer Diane McAfee and actor Brandon Maggart, who met when both were cast in the Broadway musical Applause. Her father is from Tennessee, and through him, Apple has Melungeon ancestry. Her maternal grandparents were dancer Millicent Green and big band vocalist Johnny McAfee. Her sister sings cabaret under the stage name Maude Maggart, and actor Garett Maggart is her half brother. Apple grew up in Morningside Gardens in Harlem with her mother and sister, but spent summers with her father in Los Angeles, California.
Apple was classically trained on piano as a child, and began composing her own pieces by the age of eight. When learning to play piano, she would often take sheet music and translate guitar tablature into the corresponding notes. Apple later began to play along with jazz standard compositions after becoming proficient, through which she discovered Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, who became major influences on her.
At age 12, Apple was raped outside the apartment she shared with her mother and sister in Harlem. She then developed an eating disorder, purposely slimming her developing body, which she saw as "bait." After the incident, Apple also suffered panic attacks while walking home from school, which led to her relocating to Los Angeles to live with her father for one year. In 2000, she insisted that she did not write songs about this trauma: "It doesn't get into the writing. It's a boring pain. It's such a fuckin' old pain that, you know, there's nothing poetic about it."