Fiona Apple's Cinderella Story

Oct. 4, 1996 -- The most-talked about new pop singer of the moment would appear to be Fiona Apple, whose fresh teenage face may make you wonder at first where that rich, jazzy voice is coming from. She was signed to a Sony Records subsidiary less than a year ago in a rather Cinderella-like fashion as we learned when we recently caught her performing in New York City.

MTV: The voice of Fiona Apple is sultry way beyond her 19 years -- but there's nothing affected about. The youngest of seven kids, Apple started playing piano at the age of eight, and has now poured most of her young life in to her debut album.

FIONA APPLE: I'm such an incredibly, stupidly sensitive person that everything that happens to me, I experience it really intensely. I feel everything very deeply. And when you feel things deeply and you think about things a lot and you think about how you feel, you learn a lot about yourself. And when you know yourself, you know life.

MTV: Apple, a New York

native, decided to make music her career just a year ago, when she was living in California with her father. She compressed her entire senior year of high school in to two months of home study, and then got down to business, running off 78 copies of a three song demo tape.

APPLE: I was gonna send the tapes out to whoever you it was that you send tapes out to. A&R people, managers, whatever. So I went to New York and took 5 of the tapes with me to give to my mom and friends. One of my friend's was babysitting for this woman who does PR. This woman had a party and Andy Slater, my manager and producer, went to the party and listened to the tape and then called me, and we met up, and that was it. And I still have 77 tapes that I never sent out.

MTV: Apple sounds eerily mature whenever she's singing -- but that sophistication slips a bit during her between-song patter.

APPLE (onstage): This is a song about knowing your anger and knowing what your focus of anger is for.

There's so many a**h***s in the world. And as long as you can recognize them, you can avoid them.

MTV: Apple had only played a dozen shows when we caught up with her in New York City. She said her most unforgettable date was still the first one.

APPLE: It was in Paris in front of 700 people, mainly Sony people and press people, and it was on the road show, which included Imperial Drag and the Fugees. And I'm this little girl who's never played before in my life. I felt like such an ass. For the first 5 or 6 shows, I'm standing up there and I can't move up there to the songs because I feel really awkward being onstage. So I had to kind of grow in to it in front of everybody, grow into it in public, which was hard, but I'm still doing that.