MARIE CLAIRE: You wrote the music for Very Good Girls, the new movie starring Elizabeth Olsen as an aspiring songwriter. What's it like to see her singing your songs?
JENNY LEWIS: She did an amazing job. It was cool to write from the perspective of a woman creating her first 10 songs. I kind of had to dumb down the lyrics and get a lot more emo.
MC: Let's talk about your intimate new album, The Voyager. It's been six years since your last solo work—though I'm Having Fun Now, your album of duets with your boyfriend, Johnathan Rice, came out in 2010—what happened in the interim?
JL: I lost my father and my band broke up. Usually I write and record an album every one to two years. But I hit a wall in my personal life in 2010, basically at 11:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
MC: You've talked a lot about the insomnia that was part of your breakdown.
JL: I had these five days where I just could not sleep. Like with a car accident, you don't heal as quickly as you were broken.
MC: These songs are intensely personal. Is it hard or healing to play them live?
JL: Both. I've retired things I've played for 10-plus years because they cut too deep. Sometimes I'll write something and I won't understand it until later. I'll think: Wow, that was a really mean lyric. I feel really connected to the women who come out to my shows. If I'm telling a story that's even remotely familiar, hopefully it will help someone who can relate.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Company