The plot to free Fiona Apple and her unreleased album thickens.
In late January, devotees of the missing-in-action songstress held a "Free Fiona" protest outside the New York offices of Sony Records demanding that her reportedly shelved third album, Extraordinary Machine, finally see release (see Whatever Happened To Fiona Apple? Online Campaign Tries To Find Out).
"Eventually [Fiona's record] will come out," Machine producer Jon Brion told MTV News in an interview about the in-limbo disc. "People who do understand her are going to be thrilled. Is all this going to make radio play it? Probably not."
Brion's prophecies were only half right. It looks like Apple's Extraordinary Machine will soon see the light of day, but radio is actually spearheading the campaign.
This past weekend on Seattle's the End 107.7, DJ Andrew Harms gave songs from Extraordinary Machine their world radio debut, highlighting two tracks previously leaked on the Internet ("A Better Version of Me" and the title track) along with three previously unheard songs ("Not About Love," "Get Him Back" and "Used to Love") which Harms says are all "tentative titles." Tracks played on Harms' show have since been recorded and circulated around the Internet, albeit in a poor-quality format.
Somewhat new to the "Free Fiona" campaign and the purgatory-like situation Apple has been in for over two years, Harms took to the Internet to do some research, and he realized that the music he had come across was what her die-hards consider to be a veritable holy grail.
"I was like, 'Wow, this is pretty special,' " Harms said. "It's not something that happens every day with a multiplatinum artist. With major labels, it happens to their smaller artists all the time, but with an established [artist] like Fiona, to have that happen is pretty crazy, so to stumble upon a full-length copy of the record was incredible."
And the response to the leak has been overwhelming, even from those that don't consider themselves fans of Apple's music. "Half the people that heard it loved it," Harms said of listeners who have called from all over the country. "And the other half of people who called and commented said they liked it. They weren't necessarily fans, but they just liked that we were stepping up, supporting a good artist and playing the songs."
Harms has also begun playing "Waltz," a song that has not yet leaked to the Internet, and said he has in his possession the finished 11-track version of Apple's third record. Though he won't say how he obtained the full album, Harms hopes to soon showcase the disc in its entirety.
Though the DJ understands how the Tin Pan Alley-esque theatrical material might not be Sony's cup of commercial-hit tea, he personally thinks the music was artistic and inventive.
Surprisingly, the Seattle radio station hasn't been hit with a cease-and-desist order from Sony's lawyers, and it might be because Harms doesn't have intentions of sticking it to the man. "It's not like, 'Damn the evil record label!' he said. "It's more along the lines of, no one's heard [this music], people are interested and great music should be heard by as many people as possible."
Management for Fiona Apple had no comment on the leak or the status of Extraordinary Machine.