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Love Letter To A Record: Grace Turner On Fiona Apple’s ‘When The Pawn…’


Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Grace Turner – Fiona Apple, When The Pawn…

Dear Fiona Apple – When The Pawn

Our first encounter was at 16 when a friend with more mature music taste made me a mix CD with ‘Limp’ sitting unsuspectingly among a list of names I can no longer recall. I had just started writing songs and as time will tell you made a lasting impression. I was taken by your jolting, fierce and graphic words and overall sound, you excited me like nothing else.

I lost touch with you for a while, however we were reintroduced when I was 20 and my singing teacher suggested I try ‘Fast As You Can’. Once again I inhaled the words like a drug. My respect for you grew as I attempted to sing about life from your perspective. You taught me to lose myself in the falling words and that they could all fit if you worked them hard enough. Don’t slow down and say what ever the hell you want to say. Your melodies are intricate and hard to imitate, they move unexpectedly and rhythmically.

It was pop but it was lyrical, it was honest, you spat out your emotions without hesitation. You were saying things you had to say.

And finally, the following year at 21, I had moved to Sydney and was a sponge soaking up the world and music as you do in that early 20’s kinda way when I was finally given a physical copy of the full album from someone who came from the side of the park that was obsessed by Jon Brion’s production, I began to discover another element of the album to resect. There was also something in common happening here, people who knew me well and knew you well saw that we would get along and I would find something great in you.

Over the years we have gotten in and out of touch. Sometimes when we meet I feel distant and your intensity is too much. Other times you are just what I need, you invigorate me and my meaning as a musician. Whatever the mood at the end of the day, I applaud your fierce emotionality and watch your infamous MTV acceptance speech often. Thanks for the angst and the honesty.

One more thing,

When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right

…is a great album title.

With sincere love and respect,

Grace Turner

Grace Turner’s hypnotic new single ‘Dead or Alive’ is out now

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