grammys 2021

Fiona Apple Calls Dr. Luke’s Grammy Nomination ‘Bullshit’

Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images

Fiona Apple has never held back when it comes to calling out the music industry, famously saying “This world is bullshit” during an acceptance speech at the 1997 VMAs. Now she has turned her attention to the 2021 Grammys, where she’s nominated for three awards off her wildly acclaimed album Fetch the Bolt Cutters. In a new interview with the Guardian published today, Apple criticized the Recording Academy for giving Dr. Luke his first nomination since Kesha accused him of sexual abuse (which he denies). “Not to go back to that word, but it’s bullshit,” she said. Dr. Luke is nominated for Record of the Year as a producer on Doja Cat’s “Say So” under the pseudonym Tyson Trax. “I keep going back to them putting Kesha onstage like, ‘We believe you’ — and I believe her — then two years later, fucking Tyson Trax,” she added, referencing Kesha’s performance of “Praying” at the 2018 awards.

Apple also addressed Deborah Dugan’s firing as president and CEO of the Recording Academy, which reportedly came after Dugan uncovered a culture of sexism in the organization. “There’s a lot of things that she brought up that make it so that I can’t vet that situation, and I don’t really wanna go there and support it,” Apple told the Guardian. Apple previously criticized Neil Portnow, the Academy’s chief before Dugan, for his 2018 comments that women needed to “step up” for awards nominations by wearing a “Kneel, Portnow” T-shirt during a performance. Apple also spoke about being part of a slate of all women nominated for Best Rock Performance. She said, after hearing the news, she wanted to make a T-shirt with the names of all the nominees to wear for her weekly Tumblr selfie, before deciding against it. “I felt like this is exactly what they want me to do: It’s better now! I got nominated! And it’s all women this year and the Grammys are great!” she said. Apple went on to describe how if she won the award, she “would just get up there with a sledgehammer and I wouldn’t say anything. I would take the Grammy and smash it into enough pieces to share, and I would invite all the ladies up” — although, she also wondered if she could convince the slate of nominees to “boycott this shit because of Dr Luke.”

After being largely expected to catch an Album of the Year nomination for Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Apple also joked about her snub. “I was so terrified that I was going to be nominated for [Grammys] album of the year along with Taylor Swift. I’m so relieved [I’m not] because I didn’t wanna get bullied!” she said, referring to Swift’s ardent army of fans. Although, Apple said she may take a note from Swift in the future and rerecord her old music, like Swift is currently in the process of doing. “I wonder how I would have enjoyed my whole career if I’d been able to do it by myself,” she said, adding that recording Fetch the Bolt Cutters in her Los Angeles home “was the first time I’ve ever really enjoyed recording.” And it wouldn’t be the first time Apple revisited her catalogue — earlier this year, she released a new pressing of her stunning second album, When the Pawn …, with a new cover, now designed by Apple.

Fiona Apple Calls Dr. Luke’s Grammy Nomination ‘Bullshit’