Fiona Apple blasted The Grammys in a new interview with The Guardian. She segued onto the topic from an unrelated question, about the similarities between the mid-2000s "Free Fiona" movement campaigning to Sony and Epic for the release of Extraordinary Machine, and the more recent calls to Free Britney Spears, as well as Taylor Swift's efforts to regain control of her masters.
Asked if she felt a kinship with both artists, Fiona told The Guardian, "Absolutely. I am so on board for Taylor Swift re-recording her songs and I want them to outperform those old recordings. 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, I’m so relieved [I’m not] because I didn’t wanna get bullied! Britney Spears, I don’t know too much about."
"Also, I’m bringing up the Grammys and that’s really something that I shouldn’t be doing," she continued, "but really, Dr Luke is nominated [under pseudonym Tyson Trax]? They had [Kesha] up there singing 'Praying' [a song about her alleged experiences of abuse by Dr Luke, which he denies; Kesha’s case was dismissed in 2016 and the producer is suing her for defamation and breach of contract] and now they’re gonna go: 'Oh but it’s Tyson Trax!'"
Dr. Luke produced multiple songs for Doja Cat, including the Grammy nominated "Say So," and a track with Tyga, under his Tyson Trax pseudonym, as well as one for Benny Mayne.
"I’m waiting to hear more about what Deborah Dugan [former Recording Academy president] has to say [about the culture at the Recording Academy] because that all reeks to me," Fiona continued to The Guardian. "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."
Dugan was brought in to replace former Grammy president Neil Portnow, who recieved widespread criticism (from Fiona, among others) over his call for female artists to "step up" if they wanted to win awards, and who stepped down after the 2019 Grammys. She was fired not even a year into her tenure, and after filing a lengthy complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about irregularities in the Grammys' voting practices.
One of the categories Fiona is nominated in for 2021 is "Best Rock Performance," where, for the first time, she's in a field of all female nominees. Commenting on that to The Guardian, she continued, "I immediately had this feeling: I wish I was in a room with these ladies and we could celebrate. I felt really nice for a second. 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 [Bridgers], Brittany [Howard], Danielle, Este, Alana [Haim], Adrienne [Lenker, Big Thief], Grace [Potter]. 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. 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."
Read the interview in full at The Guardian.