Inspiring Quotes From New York Mag’s Fiona Apple Interview

Confession: Last night, I read the New York magazine piece, “I Just Want to Feel Everything’: Hiding Out With Fiona Apple Musical Hermit,” not once, but three times. I think it was one of the best music interviews I’ve read in a long time. I’ve always been a Fiona Apple fan. Tidal came out my first year of college and I think I listened to the CD (we still had CDs back then) until it cracked. “The Child Is Gone,” my favorite track on the album, inspired me to turn some of my poems into songs. Back then, I thought I was going to be a performer. And actually, my voice is similar to Fiona’s, we have that brassy alto thing going on. Though I went down a different path, I’ve followed Fiona’s career, owned all of her albums, and came to think of her as the woman living my phantom dream existence. I can’t help but be inspired by the way she hermits herself for years and reemerges with a brilliant new album with an octopus on her head.  She can continue to rant about stuff, smoke hash out of a champagne flute and cloister herself off from the world all she wants. And I will watch admiringly from afar, living vicariously through the abandon with which she flings herself into her work. Below, some of my favorite quotes from the interview.

On her OCD:

“The brain is just a machine that sometimes gets a little glitch, and this is just something that got into a loop, and it’s getting reinforced … This is why it’s so fun, by the way, to go put the TV in your hotel room on and, like, put on “New Jersey Housewivesor something.”

On running into her ex Paul Thomas Anderson: 

“He remembers me as somebody’s who’s been down on themselves from years ago … [When he asked about the new album I told him I was] really, really happy, I felt like I can die now, I’ve done what I want, this is me.”

On her infamous MTV VMA rant: 

“When I walked backstage, I was proud of myself … and they gave me the silent treatment! They pretended I wasn’t there! [It was] the moment I learned that they needed me more than I need them [and, in hindsight,] one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

When asked what it’s like to be famous:

“[What does] famous mean? … This whole thing is just so far removed from me.”

On asking for piano lessons at eight years old:

[I’d wanted] “to make people happy.”

On her favorite part of the book Raising Happiness, 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents:

“Too often we protect our kids from pain and suffering, and in so doing we shelter them from others’ needs. Consider the counterintuitive notion that compassion is a positive emotion strongly correlated with happiness, and provide them with opportunities to feel compassion.”

On why she’d enrolled in a visual-perception course at the New School:

“[I wanted] scientific proof that I could be wrong about what I was seeing about myself.”

On her love life:

“[I] dated a fat man specifically to see what that would feel like. [I] briefly married a French photographer several years ago, for complicated reasons. [I]  sought out Jonathan Ames after a friend kept talking about him and she’d read some of his work; forces, including distance, conspired against the relationship (he lives in Brooklyn). There was a younger girl a few months ago, a beautiful dancer with whom [I] climbed onto her roof to watch the sky at various times of day and night. [I am] currently single.”