Click this logo to go to the Tori News Page

CMJ Music Marathon Interview Panel
November 1, 2002

Updated Nov 29, 2002

 Tour Info
 Search / Map
 Entry Page

Tori did an hour long interview, hosted by Rita Wilson, on November 1, 2002 at the Hilton Hotel in New York City as part of the CMJ Music Marathon. Here are some reports from people who were there. If you have anything to add or somehow can provide a transcript, please let me know. You can also see below some really wonderful photos of Tori from the event. They were sent to me by Erin O'Neill and the photos should be credited to Robert Spencer/Retna Ltd.

Valerie Nannery tells me that you can also find a photo of Tori from this event at

2 articles have also been posted to the Dent that cover this event and mention Tori. They are:

Click to see larger.

Details and Commentary from people who were there

From Erin O'Neill:

here's a rundown of the event:

The Q&A session lasted from about 12:20-1:40. Before it began, "a sorta fairytale" singles were passed out to the audience along with Scarlet's Walk promo posters.

Tori came out and when she and rita Houston started speaking, the mics weren't picking up right. A few techies guys were in the corner behind her , talking very loudly, and she whipped around and said something to the effect of "hey guys- i'm sure you're conversation is much more interesting..." they told her they were trying to fix the mic and she jumped off her chair and said "let's do it then" and later she said "my husband is a techie." The first photo i sent is of Tori taking the mic from one of the guys. At the very end of the interview she ran over to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Rita Houston commented that after listening to Scarlet's Walk, she couldn't think of anything else to compare it to- that it was completely different than anything she had ever heard before.

One guy asked Tori what compelled her to dump out her mug of water while she was on the Daily show w/ John Stewart in '99. Tori acted suprised/couldn't remember doing that and then began talking about being interviewed and when that line is crossed, it's over and things like that might happen deservingly.

A female commented to Tori that she liked how Tori has come this far without exploiting her beauty and Tori said "yes I have!" and the female said something like "well you're not on TRL wearing hotpants" and Tori said something to the effect of "well i'm 39 now."

An audience member asked Tori to tell us who she felt was her favorite musician she had worked with and she said something like "I had stars in my eyes in the 80's!" and went on to explain that working with Peter Gabriel was one of her favorite experiences.

Tori also touched a little more on SLG, talking about her "laboratory of men" and how when a couple decides that a song is "their song" it's not always as it seems, that when she looked into it these guys connected certain music with different times in their lives and that a guy's cd collection is a big part of who he is. That "our song" wasn't really his song, he was off listening to a tune by the Stranglers.

someone asked how she can turn such anger and emotion into a beautiful song and she said "mmmm hot chocolate" and went on to discuss how she is influenced by other mediums, visual mediums, and that she doesn't want her friend Elton to cut her hand off one day. That she goes to literature and photography, and spoke specifically about photographer Tracy Moffat and painter Georgia O'Keefe.

A girl said something about what an effect her music took on her during middle school and Tori talked about a boy that she had a crush on and wrote a letter to. He wrote a letter back and it was intercepted by classmates and apparently he thought Tori sang like a frog, etc, and Tori told us how that was a real shock, seeing how other people see you, and that for years she formed a "second skin". she says that now she's comfortable with who she is and how important it is for us all to find that part of us. Robert Plant also came up as an inspiration and she sang acapella a section of the song "Black Dog" - "hey hey momma said the way you move gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove... der ner ner ner ner ner ner"

She also spoke to the audience and told us how the news we get about America in America is a totally different story than the news about America overseas, and that the world is waiting for our generation to rise, that the last generation rose in 1968. She said as a generation we are special because we are now so good at networking, and that even if we all can't agree, we need to go out and vote and start asking more questions about what is important to us. She emphasized several times that the world is waiting for us to rise as a generation and we need to put those wheels into motion. She said it was time to "pass the torch."

Tori spoke about "finding your tribe" when asked about the people she works with. There was also a direct question about Arthur Spivak, her manager, and she said she needs someone like him to put her ideas into words that won't scare people off.

A question was also asked about her new video for "a sorta fairytale" and the actor Adrien Brody- Tori said that he did his research and studied the piano for 6 months before shooting the video.

There was so much more but i can't remember it right now!

From Anonymous:

First, it started about 15 or 20 minutes late. During that time they played the first three or four tracks from the album. They also had huge posters of the some of the Scarlet's Walk pictures on foamboard around the room. My friends tried to snag one, but the Epic people said no :) They handed out those promotional posters/promoflats that have the polaroids on the bottom half, which was very cool, and the promo copy of the ASF single (presumably because most of the people there are connected to college radio in some way). They also handed out these promotional postcards specifically about the Q&A at CMJ. I don't have a scan of it. The place was packed, all the seats were full, and there were people standing in the back and on the sides.

Tori came out wearing a brown turtleneck sweater with a sort of kniw poncho thing over it, blue jeans down to mid-calf and high-healled, tall black leather boots :) Her hair was blown out straight and there were no extensions, and no crazy fake "bangs" the way her hair had been styled on Letterman and Regis. I don't remember a lot of specific questions/answers, but I know that one radio network was recording it, so it might pop up on some radio station somewhere eventually. I'm also pretty sure that there will be an article about it, maybe in a future issue of one of the CMJ publications. At the beginning of the interview, there were a few rough spots...first she asked Joel to turn off the air conditioning because it was really annoying, and she said that if we got hot, we would just strip. Then the techs were whispering in the corner, and she stopped the interview, turned to them and said something about how she was sure their conversation was really interesting. They told her that they were trying to figure out how to get her mic louder, and she said "Let's do it," hopped up out of her stool and stuck her hip out (I think that's where the controls for her mic were). They decided to get a standing mic and while they were working on it, she told him that her husband is a techie, so she understands. At the end of the interview, she went over to them to thank them, which was super sweet.

Her talk was a lot more politically-oriented than I have heard from her in the past, which was an extremely welcome surprise. She kept talking about how our generation has power, and we can rise up and change the face of the world like they did in 1968. The two things that I remember other than what you already know from other reports are someone asked her how she deals with it when people in the media protray her in a different way than she sees herself. She talked about how she first discovered that other people see her differently than she sees herself when she was 9 and some boy wrote a note that was intercepted and read aloud in class saying that he though she sang like a frog. Then she said something about how she woulc go home and listen to Robert Plant, and then she started singing "Hey hey mama..." It was cool. Someone else asked her which of the artists with whom she had collaborated had the biggest impact on her, or something like that. And she said Peter Gabriel, not because of the music they made, but because of what he told her...and then I dodn't remember the specifics.

Afterwards she did a private meet and greet for college radio folks that wasn't very well publicized. It was in one of the smaller conference rooms in the hotel and the only people there were college radio people and folks from The Syndicate, the promotion company promoting Tori's new album. It lasted somewhere between 15 minutes and a half hour.

From Ed:

tori did an hour long interview, hosted by rita wilson, on november 1st at the hilton hotel in nyc as part of the cmj music marathon. she looked amazing and spoke so intelligently about the new album, issues concerning the u.s., the future generations of america, and concluded the segment with questions from the audience. it was such a good interview, i wish i could remember exact quotes and all but i'm sorry to say that i can't. they gave away the promo posters for scarlets walk and the a sort of fairytale promo single. all and all it was a truely amazing experience.

From an anonymous source:

Hopefully someone will have a transcript of the talk or a recording because it was wonderful and really insightful to the album and she talked very politically and very much to "your generation" (in her words meaning the college age kids). The talk was supposed to go from 12-1 but it started about 20 minutes late and lasted til about 1:40. It began with Rita Houston asking her questions about Scarlet's Walk, being in New York on 9/11, etc. Tori definately took over the interview and brought it in the direction she wanted it to go, talking about things that were obviously on her mind. She talked at length about the misinformation right now between the US and Eurporean media and how were both getting different stories, she talked about being in Europe and as an American feeling like the bully at the playground. She made this very powerful remark about your generation needing to rise up, to know its power, and about how we are so great at networking, but that we don't realize our power...this is very much paraphrased but that was her general point.

After that they took questions from the audience. Most of the people asking questions worked in college radio some way or another. I would say she took about a dozen questions, and answered each one with time. They tried to end it early but she insisted on staying to answer everyone waiting. I remember someone asking her about her relationship with Artur Spivak and she said that they swear they were trapped in an igloo sometime ago and she had to go get the blubber....someone also asked her about juggling her roles as musician, mother, and producer, and she talked about surrounding herself with strong people, knowing when a relationship just isn't working, and she talked about how with SLG she assembled the thinktank of men (she said something about how straight men don't talk about their feelings much, she gave a disclaimer that she was generalizing, but that you can tell a lot from their cd collections) and that this process was somewhat new to her but that it was something she had been working up to for awhile and was just now getting it right (again paraphrased). She also talked about being in a meeting and not being on the beach, and sometimes just eating a hotdog with her daughter (i guess meaning that sometimes those roles assert themselves). She also did a funny impersonation of tash saying that she can work the DVD and in a fake british accent "mummy i want harry potter..."

Some other questions included how she remains very much a feminine artist without exploiting her beauty, but tori sort of negated that saying well, yes i do and i'm 39, and another interesting question was how she manages to write songs about anger, pain, sorrow and make them so beautiful, she talked about a specific photograph she saw once (i don't remember the name) and how it had this gorgeous 70s light in it but it was of these two boys locked in a van while there mothers were off on the beach with men and that he boys had to piss in their bags of chips and how this image obviously really stuck with her, how it was a beautiful image of something very ugly and then she talked a lot about the influence of the visual arts on her work more so than music, how she doesnt want to steal from her friends, and she also mentioned the artist Tracy Moffat and her Scarred for Life series of photographs. The final question was what female most inspires her, and she said Georgia O'Keefe and explained a little bit. The End. Also, the CMJ people were really nice to us they gave out really pretty 2 sided posters that have the postacards at the bottom, and they gave us copies of the single (with just two versions of ASF). I would say there were about 200 people in the conference room.

Go Back To Articles

Go Back To ToriNews

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about The Dent. Email me (Mikewhy) at