My two favourite singer-song writers: Fiona Apple and Sharon Van Etten need to be BFFs.
I can’t believe it – there isn’t even a photo of them together, a cover of each other’s songs, or a duet by either of them. I’m hoping they don’t see each other as direct competition or foes…
Therefore, I have collated five compelling reasons why they need to be besties forever:
1. They are both from New York and are of a similar age.
Fiona from New York City – now 38 – released her first single in 1996. Sharon from New Jersey (then moved to Brooklyn), New York – now 34 – released her first in 2009.
2. They have similar styles of music.
It’s safe to say they are of the same genre… Mellow alternative rock, I guess. Both have a jazz/folk tone to them too. They both have incredibly emotive lyrics and hooks in their songs that you just can’t get out of your head.
Fiona’s songs are perfect for those times when you’re royally pissed off, or bitter about something. Sharon’s songs are perfect for those times when you’re feeling a tad melancholy or nostalgic. Fiona and Sharon’s vocals are both natural-sounding, as in, their live and recorded versions tend to sound identical. PURE TALENT.
3. Powerful songs.
Fiona’s Not About Love and Sharon’s Your Love is Killing Me are their most powerful songs (both of which I have over-played).
Not About Love
Conversation once coloured by esteem
Became duologue as a diagram of a play for blood
Took a vacation, my palate got clean
Now I could taste your agenda
While you’re spitting your cud.
Your Love is Killing Me
There he let it go, his temper, standing there
See her with his gun and he, steals love so he can feel alive
Everyone’s knees knockin’ at the fear of love
Everybody needs to feel.
As a side note: Both singers have a song called ‘I Know‘.
4. Similar style and character.
Besides their musical style being similar, they are both grunge, messy, quirky, yet stylish at the same time. I bet they shop at the same stores… They’re both kind of shy and humble in interviews, too.
5. It appears they both write only when they’re unhappy.
In the case of Sharon, she uses song writing as an outlet, a way to process the hard times. Fiona’s work is a ‘pep talk’ to herself when feeling low. Neither singer has a happy song… I think the closest to a happy song of Sharon’s is ‘One Day’ or ‘Our Love’ at a pinch… And Fiona’s ‘Extraordinary Machine’.
Despite their similarities, I think Fiona’s writing is more complicated and broader with her use of language, but Sharon’s melodies and harmonies are beautiful.
Nevertheless, both artists punch you in the feels. Hard. Both FiFi and Shazza (if I may be so bold as to give them nicknames…) have the ability to transform strong emotion into relatable music. Both tell stories incredibly. And their work always brings back vivid memories of people, places or instances in my life, which is a talent and gift in itself.