Fiona Apple has pledged to donate two years’ worth of television and movie placement royalties from her massive 1997 Grammy-award winning single “Criminal” to the While They Wait fund, an initiative that covers immigration fees, basic living costs and legal services for refugees.
In a letter Apple shared with a Tumblr fan blog, the musician wrote: “ ... after months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I’ve become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help.”
Apple explained the best way she found to help detainees is to contribute to the payment of their legal fees, something paid usage of “a song I wrote years ago” in a TV show or movie allows her to do. She then found While They Wait, which “helps families through the entire process so they don’t have to stand in court alone, so that they are not, in the end, treated like criminals.”
Apple writes that “Criminal,” which is her most commercially successful single to date, is her most-requested song, and in the past she has used the earnings to help friends and family.
The musician also urged other songwriters to take similar action and donate the money they earn for the commercial usage of one of their songs to an organization of their choosing.
“I could write a song about this and maybe I will but for now, I will use ‘CRIMINAL’ to help the WRONGLY criminalized get justice,” Apple concluded.
Apple released her most recent album The Idler Wheel in 2012 and joined Jakob Dylan to cover The Beach Boys’ “In My Room” for the Echo in the Canyon soundtrack in May. You can read her full statement here.