Fiona Apple Tells V That She Reached A Point Where She ‘Could Let Myself Die, That Slow Suicide’

Mark Romanek for V

Fiona Apple‘s long awaited fourth studio album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do, hit stores to much acclaim last week and is expected to debut at #4 on the Billboard 200 countdown.

The reclusive singer-songwriter talked to V magazine about the album and what went into its creation for their upcoming “Youth Quake Issue,” out July 5.

In the interview Apple discusses pre-show drinking, the press and public’s impression of her, the exes who impact her music and her lengthy hiatus. V reunited her with Mark Romanek, who shot the images of Apple that appear in the magazine’s photo spread. Romanek directed her iconic music video breakthrough “Criminal.”

On having a drink before going on stage:

I think I did a really smart thing a few months ago. I’m one of those people, one of the many, that has a drink before every show. I just don’t know any different. And I really needed to learn how to not do that. … I thought that having a drink was what took the edge off or made me feel more confident, less self-conscious or whatever. But it turns out to be the other way around. And now I don’t immediately react to myself or judge things that are going on. It doesn’t even occur to me anymore. I think I’ve grown up in that way. I became less inhibited. I don’t care as much about being judged.

Read on for more from Apple’s V magazine interview.

About the press writing about her:

For a long time, I was just too afraid to read stuff. Like, I would turn on my computer and I would see my face some place, and it was very uncomfortable, and it would make me go, ‘Oh my God, I have to get rid of my laptop.’ And I started to make this whole plan in my head! But then I thought, that’s just really no way to live. I don’t want to be doing this because I’m afraid. Like what can they really say about me that they haven’t said before?

About her label Epic hounding her for new material over the last 7 years:

No, they don’t care, because they don’t look at me as someone who’s gonna make a lot of money. So they just forget about me.

Get More: Fiona Apple, Every Single Night, Music, More Music Videos

On singing about her exes:

These are songs that I needed to write, they are my diary, disguised in, for lack of a better word, poetry. … I talk about this with my shrink a lot. I have this weird thing where I’m friends with my ex-boyfriends, and I really care about them. I care about their lives with their girlfriends. I feel like maybe an annoying mother or something.

About ex Jonathan Ames, the subject of one of the album’s sweeter tracks, “Jonathan”:

I was really going through a terrible, terrible time around the time that I met him. It was like the first time in my life that I felt actually maybe suicidal. Not that I was gonna kill myself, I never felt like that. But that I could let myself die, you know, that slow suicide. I don’t know how, but just give up. … I thought, that guy does deserve a song, ’cause he did kind of save my life. Just by being so kind. He was just simply so kind to me.

About her talent and peoples’ perception of her:

I can write a hit. I know how that shit works. … But — and I’m not trying to be modest or anything — am I really that much more authentic? Is it really that bad out there?”