Genius Is A Package Deal

Once upon a time I was in the room when Fiona Apple did an interview with Sasha Frere-Jones, the music critic for the New Yorker.

When Fiona’s first album, Tidal, came out in 1996, it brought me to my knees. “That’s it, I am Not Talented,” I decided, upon learning that the creator of this brilliant, genre-shattering work of art was barely 18, and had composed, sung, accompanied, and mixed it herself.

And, she was SO GORGEOUS. Life is not fair.

What I didn’t realize, until I met her in person, is that she has the affect of someone who is neurodivergent.

Frere-Jones tried to interview her with standard industry questions like, “What are you working on now?” Her replies confounded him. It was most entertaining.

She described her OCD, and how she structures her days with an ineffable poetic symmetry. She talked about her small circle of friends, and the one neighborhood bar where she sees them. Years may go by when she doesn’t leave the house much.

It was clear that for Fiona, ALL THIS is mostly overwhelming. Her art is everything.

And her superpowers come from the same source as her differences.

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