Fiona Apple
[Photo via Spotify]

Fiona Apple wins Best Rock Performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards

Fiona Apple has officially taken home the Best Rock Performance award at the 2021 Grammys for “Shameika.” The award was presented during the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony.

This category made history with its nominations this year as it’s the first time all of the nominees are female.

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Apple was nominated alongside Phoebe Bridgers’ “Kyoto,” Brittany Howard’s “Stay High,” HAIM’s “The Steps,” Grace Potter’s “Daylight” and Big Thief’s “Not” in this category.

Apple was unable to accept the Best Rock Performance award during the Premiere Ceremony so no speech was given.

You can follow along with the rest of the 2021 Grammys winners here and watch Apple win the Best Rock Performance award below.

For Apple, 2021 isn’t the first year she’s been nominated at the Grammys. In fact, her recognition in the Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for “Shameika” and Best Alternative Music Album for Fetch The Bolt Cutters this year brings her total nominations to 11.

Apple had a great run on the charts with Fetch The Bolt Cutters after its release last April. The album, which is her first in nearly eight years, debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums charts. As it turns out, she achieved the exact same chart-topping success with The Idler Wheel… following its release in June 2012.

Back in 1998, Apple took home her first and only Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for “Criminal.” She was also nominated in the category for “Paper Bag” in 2001 but lost to Sheryl Crow’s “There Goes The Neighborhood – Live.”

However, the Grammys have gone on to change some of the categories since then. Previously, the Best Rock Performance category was recognized as Best Female Rock Vocal Performance/Best Male Rock Vocal Performance from 1980-2004. Then, it was combined to Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance from 2005-2011.

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Since 2012, Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best Rock Instrumental Performance have been combined and are now recognized as Best Rock Performance.

These days, Apple is continuing to fight for social justice. Her social media is flooded with posts and stories about topics such as International Women’s Day and Black Lives Matter. More recently, Apple has been fighting to keep virtual courtrooms open amid the COVID-19 crisis so court watchers can observe bail proceedings.


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Just eight months after winning her first Grammy, Apple appeared on the Alternative Press Issue #111 cover in October 1997.

Fiona Apple Alt Press cover-min

You can stream “Shameika” below.

More on Grammys’ Best Rock Performance 2021 nominees

Bridgers may be a first-time Grammys nominee, but that hasn’t stopped her from earning nominations in numerous categories this year. Along with Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Kyoto,” Bridgers is up for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album for Punisher.

Since the release of Punisher in June, Bridgers’ career has soared. After the full-length peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Album Sales chart, she released her Copycat Killer EP in November. The four-track release includes reimaginations of her songs “Kyoto,” “Savior Complex,” “Chinese Satellite” and “Punisher.”

Last month, she made her debut on Saturday Night Live where she performed “Kyoto” and “I Know The End.” More recently, she revisited “Kyoto” and shared a cover of a John Prine classic for Spotify’s Singles series.

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As well, she is among the artists teaming up with Paul McCartney to reimagine his 2020 album. McCartney III Imagined features St. Vincent, Queens Of The Stone Age‘s Josh Homme, Idris Elba and Dominic Fike among others. For the new release, which arrives on April 16, Bridgers has recorded a new rendition of McCartney’s “Seize The Day.”

Bridgers is celebrating Women’s History Month as our Alternative Press cover star. For the premiere Power Issue: Women Rising, we’re highlighting an array of strong, independent women in rock music and within alternative culture.

You can stream “Kyoto” below.

The Best Rock Performance category is very familiar to Howard. Back in 2016, Alabama Shakes took home the coveted award thanks to “Don’t Wanna Fight,” off of Sound & Color. This win also marks the last time a female won the Best Rock Performance category. Alabama Shakes has been nominated in this particular category three other times for 2012’s “Hold On,” 2013’s “Always Alright” and 2015’s “Joe (Live From Austin City Limits).”

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Throughout Howard’s career, she has earned a staggering 16 Grammy nominations and 4 wins for both her solo music and work in Alabama Shakes. Although her song “Stay High” is nominated in the Best Rock Performance category, it’s also up for Best Rock Song. As well, her album Jaime is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album while “Goat Head” is in the Best R&B Performance category.

To top it all off, “Short and Sweet” is included in the Best American Roots Performance category. This means that Howard’s new music spans four different genre categories at this year’s Grammy Awards. Back in December, she revealed to Entertainment Weekly that it’s incredibly gratifying to have one album nominated in multiple genre categories.

“The thing I was most excited about, honestly, is one album being nominated for so many different genres,” Howard told Entertainment Weekly. “That’s really unusual. That’s exactly how I wanted it to go, because I like all kinds of music and I create my music just with whatever I’ve heard before.”

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This year, Howard is taking the Grammys stage for a special performance. She is among artists such as Harry Styles, Post Malone, Taylor Swift and Doja Cat who are also performing during the awards show.

Howard plans to bring her new music to Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Festival this Sept. 17-19. She is set to perform alongside Billie Eilish, Green Day and LANY among others this fall.

You can stream “Stay High” below.

This year, HAIM snagged two nominations including Best Rock Performance for “The Steps.” As well, their latest album Women In Music Pt. III is up for the coveted Album Of The Year award. Back in 2015, HAIM were nominated for Best New Artist following the release of Days Are Gone. However, the award ended up going to Sam Smith.

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More recently, HAIM teamed up with BFF Taylor Swift for a remix of their song “Gasoline.” Of course, this isn’t the first time the artists have collaborated together. HAIM appear on Swift’s new album evermore on the revenge-filled song “no body, no crime.”

Earlier this month, Este Haim told the Associated Press that it feels very special to be among the historic female nominations in the Best Rock Performance category.

“[It’s] surreal and I also feel like it’s a long time coming,” Este told Associated Press.

This year’s Grammys ceremony happens to fall on Este’s birthday. To help celebrate her special day, the sister trio is set to hit the stage and perform material off of Women In Music Pt. III.


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You can stream “The Steps” below.

Just like HAIM, Potter also has three Grammy nominations under her belt. Back in 2012, she earned a Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “You and Tequila” with Kenny Chesney. However, the award went to the Civil Wars for “Barton Hollow.”

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Along with Best Rock Performance for “Daylight,” Potter is also nominated for Best Rock Album for Daylight. Earlier this month, she recalled the painful events in her life that eventually inspired the new album. Not only did Grace Potter And The Nocturnals disband, but she also got divorced from her former bandmate Matt Burr.

After spending a period of time being angry, she turned towards music as her own way of healing. As a result, she unexpectedly created Daylight.

“I realized I’m giving everyone a hall pass to share the really painful, ugly parts of themselves,” she told this month. “Or the parts that they thought were ugly—which may actually be incredibly transformative.”

When she learned of her Grammy nominations, Potter was taken by surprise. As it turns out, she hadn’t expected to receive any recognition considering the entire album was created unexpectedly. Nevertheless, she is grateful for being nominated this year.

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“It’s organic creativity at its greatest being recognized in a moment in time when I didn’t care about it being recognized,” she told “And that’s just really a beautiful way for it to happen.”

After performing “Release,” off of Daylight, on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Potter helped celebrate Women’s Day with a special performance on Instagram.


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You can stream “Daylight” below.

Rounding out this year’s Best Rock Performance nominees are Big Thief who are nominated for “Not.” Vocalist Adrianne Lenker is also included in the Best Rock Song category for the same track. Last year, Big Thief received their first-ever nomination for U.F.O.F. which was up for Best Alternative Music Album. However, the award ended up going to Vampire Weekend‘s Father Of The Bride.

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“Not” appears on Big Thief’s latest album Two Hands which follows up U.F.O.F. Both albums were released in 2019, showing the dedication and craft Big Thief have for the music they create.

According to NPR, the band began recording Two Hands just days after finishing up U.F.O.F. All of the vocal takes were done in one or two takes and the instruments were tracked live. Out of the album’s 10 tracks, “Not” stands out. In fact, it is the highest streaming song from the album on Spotify with almost 10 million plays.

You can stream “Not” below.

What are your reactions to Fiona Apple winning the Best Rock Performance category? Let us know in the comments below.