Toriphile Marije Pama alerted me to an article on Tori that she wrote for her school publication Propedeuzelig Magazine in Holland. It appeared in the February 2002 issue. English students at the school simply refer to the magazine as the "Art & Culture Magazine".
A genre on it's own
A Strange Little Girl
A prodigy child who played Mozart at the age of three, the youngest ever to be accepted at the prestigious Peabody Conservatory. Voted as homecoming queen and most likely to succeed, a preacher as a father and herself as a singer in gay clubs. All this was Tori Amos when she was still known as Myra Ellen Amos and before she hit fame with her overwhelming CD 'Little Earthquakes in 1992. But Tori is more. After she escaped the religious oppression from home she became a rock chick in the eighties, victim of sexual abuse, of difficult relationships but also the co-founder of the RAINN-organisation (rape, abuse and incest national network). Nowadays Tori is married, mother of a daughter and especially an everywhere acknowledged artist who has six platinum albums on her name.
Her music is hard to define. She could fit in the same category as Bjrk, Alanis and PJ Harvey, with this little extra that Tori opens up her heart and soul and composes, writes and plays all the songs herself. Her beloved piano plays the leading roll in all her albums and the lyrics are extremely personal. So personal it can sometimes give you an uncomfortable feeling, as if you had a sneak peek in her diary. Or she in yours! It might happen that you are hit by lightning while she discusses things that you would only trust to your shrink in the most extreme situation. After listening to her music you have the feeling as if you just received a very good therapy session, and that only for the price of one CD! With her words she reaches for your heart, gives it a firm twist and gently places it back, to leave you totally perplex. Love her or hate her. Tori Amos is a different kind of flavour where you can quarrel about for a long time. Or as a reporter once said: 'Amos music is a sensual yet disturbing painting. It initially is hard to understand, but eventually draws you in and doesn't let you go.
With her last album, 'Strange Little Girls Tori tried to create a bridge between the two sexes. The very ambitious album exists completely out of covers, and is already nominated for two Grammys. The twelve songs, all written by men, are sang by Tori out of women's perspective. From Tom Waits 'Time , Neil Young's 'Heart of Gold, till Eminems97 Bonnie & Clyde. The women in the songs are coming to life, like the wife of Eminem who lies in his car trunk more dead then alive. In Eminems version she is totally ignored, but Toris haunting version gives this woman a voice. Even if the lyrics of the song are still the same, the story is told through the eyes of the mother; a story where a woman is worried about her little daughter who is made an accomplice by her father to the murder of her own mother. And when Tori whispers/speaks the song, goosebumps are guaranteed. Tori went through twelve metamorphoses and that is how we find her back on the album. Not any well known Tori face. Instead of that, twelve different women.
Tori live is Tori at her best. For the first time with a husband and child she tours through America and Europe to promote her latest album. Alone with her enormous Bsendorfer, an organ, an electric piano and a powerful voice, Tori knows how to hold the attention of thousands of people for ninety minutes. A mighty task for such a little woman. The wonderful lightshow helps her a bit with that. But even without a guiding band, she knows how to manipulate the audience as no other person. The audience loves it when she plays with one hand on her piano, with the other on the organ behind her and meanwhile singing the most beautiful tones. A trick that no one can copy from her! Sometimes she takes a relaxed seat to chat with the people and when someone screams 'Tori, I love you!', that same person gets a big air kiss sent to him.
There is not a bit of famous artist arrogance here. Tori is known for her enormous loyal fan base. A reason for that is of course that her music helps many people, but another reason is Toris many interaction with her fans. Before and after the show she mostly has a meet & greet, which means you can meet her, take pictures or let her sign your stuff. 'In reality Tori is a very normal woman of whom you think she'd break when you hug her. Very gentle, sweet and carefully choosing her words she chats with you, while she looks you straight in the eye without she seems to blink with her fierce green eyes. A totally different woman then the one who sings her longs out of her body on stage. Is it because of a light-effect, the cat suit she is wearing or her high stiletto-heels that makes her look so much taller on stage? You can say whatever you'd like about Tori, but you can't deny an enormous charisma and talent.
A seventh album is on it's way, so a tour at the end of this year is not unthinkable.