fiona apple and the music that changed my life
finding the right music at the right time
Hello dear reader,
Good morning! I hope you’re having a lovely start to your Sunday. I’m once again dropping in your inbox to say hello and talk about music.
When I think about it, the most I have ever been influenced by anything in my life is music. As corny as it sounds, the music I listen to has literally shaped me into the girl that I am today, honestly. I have practically been raised by it. At first, it was The Cure, then it was Nirvana, then Belle and Sebastian, that my dearest friend Aditz and I would marvel at, at his apartment on quiet, uneventful afternoons, after college. I love the memory of us finding great music and calling each other to share it and appreciate it together. How many times has he sat me down, even against my will at times, and introduced me to some great artists. In Aditz, I found my twin. Someone who shared my enthusiasm towards music equally, if not more. I get too emotional too fast and start meandering. Silly. (I am sure Aditz will jump with joy if he reads this and then he will call me and say, “Aashvooo, I’m in your newsletter, aaaaaa, I feel so good!”)
Meanderings aside, my first encounter with music was when I was a baby. I wouldn’t eat without my favorite cassette playing. Everyone thought I’d become a singer when I grow up. When I knew I was in love with music was when I was in eleventh grade. I had newly discovered The Cure and I still remember the essence of what their music made me feel, I’d go two entire years without listening to anything else, I’d become possessed. Their music was so sad and lyrical and I loved the front man Robert Smith, and the way he appeared in public, messy hair, bright red lipstick, black clothes and smudged eyeliner. I was amazed. “Disintegration” alone was responsible for getting me through the hellish two years of pre medical prep. For that, I will forever be grateful. I found the right music at the right time.
Nirvana came into my life because life wanted me to fit in with people at college. I made so many friends in my first year of undergrad solely because I was obsessed with Nirvana. I went through it all, the t shirt phase, the blasting “Smells Like Teen Spirit” phase, the trying-to-make-sense-of-the-lyrics phase, everything. And it happened when I needed it the most, when I needed to snap out of my old self and start making new friends and a new identity for myself. It worked great and everything, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay in touch with my friends from then.
Then came the year of turmoil. Things getting worse, the first signs of life happening to a little bud who is about to blossom into a flower. The harshness, the vulnerability, it was all there. That’s when I found Fiona Apple. One rough evening, I was pissed off and vulnerable and sad and angry and nothing made sense to me and I felt like I had to be the only person who was feeling that way. That was the night when Across the Universe came through for me. Not the version by The Beatles, the Fiona Apple cover. It felt exactly like the melancholy and disquietude that I was feeling. I was entranced and for one entire week, I listened to nothing but that song, on loop.
As I started going through Fiona’s discography, I found out how much her songs validate my feelings and my anger and how it was sort of comforting to know that there was someone who felt the same. I found solace in her music, I felt like through the voice and words of Fiona Apple, my own mother was trying to comfort me. Like she was telling me that I know, I understand and its all okay, its going to be okay, you are going to get past this. I have shed all my skin and taken a new one since then. Nothing is the same. I am, unapologetically. I take space and I am myself, just stronger and more confident. I can never in any life thank Fiona Apple for making me this way, for being there for me when I was angry, when I was sad and on days I needed to feel unhinged. Fiona was there and she gave me her wings. (Fiona has a tattoo on her lower back that says FHW, meaning Fiona Has Wings, how ridiculously cute!)
I still listen to her whenever I feel like I’m losing sight of myself, whenever I need to remind myself of who I am. They are better than therapy, her witticisms and her words. In Paper Bag, she sings,
I said, “Honey, I don’t feel so good, don’t feel justified
Come on, put a little love here in my void.”
He said, “Its all in your head.”
And I said, “So is everything.”
But he didn’t get it
I thought he was a man but he was just a little boy
What a take on gaslighting! I mean, I was straight up fascinated.
Hunger hurts and I want him so bad
Oh, it kills
‘Cause I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up
I gotta fold ‘cause these hands are too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts but starving works
When it costs too much to love
Pay attention to this, everyone. How effing powerful, how effing true. I’m just going to leave this here. I have so much, so much more to write but I guess I’ll send another letter soon where I continue this, or maybe I won’t, I don’t know. It is becoming impossible to find any time these days.
Here’s a Big Moon Energy song recommendation, like always, as a thank you for reading what I wrote in a fit of excitement. Have a beautiful day!
Lots of love and warmth,
**India is facing the worst of times as another deadly wave of COVID-19 hits it. In these times, we need to stay strong and help each other out. If there's anything that I can do to help, please don't hesitate to reach out by replying to this email. It is only through help that we can get out of this absolute nightmare of a situation. Sending you and your loved ones lots of strength and wishes of wellbeing.