USA Today
April 11, 2001

Added April 12, 2001

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Many thanks to See Thru for being the first to tell me about this. The April 11, 2001 edition of USA Today included an article in the Pop Candy Column talking about the latest installment of the yearly VH1's Divas Live series. The article talks about artists who are far worthier candidates for praise than the artists who appeared on that show. Tori is one of the artists mentioned, and the author, Whitney Matheson, says some very favorable things about her. You can read the article below or at the USA Today web site.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2001, the author of the article, Whitney Matheson, held an online chat and mentioned Tori and The Dent! Here is the part of the chat where she mentioned Tori, and it was posted to the Dent Forum by Toriphile See Thru

    Virginia: Thank You, thank you, thank you for mentioning Tori Amos in your column!! I think I know why people might be intimidated by her - because she is a true artist and isn't afraid to speak what's on her mind.(Even if no one else is sure of what she's talking about). All of these females who have delved into this "thinking woman's music" (Alanis, Fiona, anyone involved in Lilith Fair), owe alot to Tori. She's been doing this for a much longer period of time and deserves the recognition! I hear she has a new album coming out, maybe this summer? I can't wait!

    Whitney Matheson: Have you ever checked It's one of my favorite sites for Tori news... they report a Tori tribute album will be released on June 12. Her new album is supposed to be released in September. Yay.

VH1: Wrong place for a natural woman

I keep hoping they'll run out of divas.

Each year I've subjected myself to VH1's Divas Live program, and each year I'm disappointed. Though the concerts have inspired me to re-enact Tina Turner moves, consider new hairstyles and harmonize with Diana Ross, they've also bored the bejeezus out of me.

The term "diva" carries too many rules: You have to fluff your hair. Show some skin. Act intimidating. Smile. Rhyme "girl" with "world" in at least five songs. Somewhere along the way, I think VH1 confused the word "diva" with "cheerleader." If the show recruited more artists whose words and ideas actually had made a difference in music, the show would be much more entertaining in repeats. (And if you missed the latest installment of Divas Live on Tuesday, I'm sure you'll have about 30 chances to catch a repeat in the next couple of days.)

I've compiled a list of a few overlooked divas. As far as I'm concerned, these women own the room when they walk into it. Like Mariah and Whitney, they have powerful voices, voices that make you want to do something. Too bad you have a better chance of seeing Pat Boone on Divas Live than any of them.

1. Chrissie Hynde. By all accounts, the legendary Pretenders singer should have already appeared on Divas Live. After all, VH1 plays her videos and showers her with accolades (Hynde appears ahead of Madonna on the station's "100 Greatest Women of Rock 'n' Roll" list, and the Pretenders were voted one of the "Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artists" in another VH1 poll). Though her black-jeans-and-eyeliner image might not classify as Traditional Diva, her powerful pipes and strong will certainly do. So what's stopping VH1 from extending an invitation? Maybe it's Chrissie's tainted history with the Gap, a frequent VH1 sponsor (in 2000 she was arrested at a leather protest in a Manhattan store). Or maybe it's because she's not a big fan of all-female gatherings. Chrissie once advised female rockers: "Don't moan about being a chick, refer to feminism or complain about sexist discrimination. ... Write a loosely disguised song about it instead and clean up." Another anti-Divas sentiment: "Do not insist on working with 'females'; that's just more b.s."

2. Kim Gordon. Sadly, I've never seen the breathy, brainy Sonic Youth chanteuse on VH1. Since Divas Live is a benefit concert for VH1's Save the Music campaign, it would be fitting to have Kim onstage. After all, her music has inspired thousands of kids to stop watching music videos and start a band themselves. Hmm ...could this be what VH1 is afraid of?

3. Ani DiFranco. Ani's motto: When other record labels don't treat you right, start one of your own. How diva-licious! Like Mariah and Shania, Ani also sells out large concert venues and leaves fans begging for more. Though some artists care more about which brand of cola to demand in their dressing rooms, however, Ani prefers to be particular about the artistry. At this point, that probably won't get her a spot on Divas Live.

4. Alison Brown. Judging by VH1's past diva picks, country singers aren't allowed to participate unless they have pop-star potential. What hooey! Alison is a victim of this. Next year the network should show some respect for musicianship. Alison is an amazing banjo player. And if she needs to sing a pop song, she's got that covered: On her latest album, Alison does an amazing version of Elvis Costello's Everyday I Write the Book.

5. Tori Amos. If the Divas Live producers really want to hear the teen girls scream, they should ditch Aguilera for Tori. The songwriter has one of the most rabid fan bases of anyone in music search for her name on the Web and you'll discover hundreds of Tori sites. Her passionate wails and vocal range rival Mariah's; on the piano, she could easily go head-to-head with honorary diva Elton John. So what sets Tori apart? The substance. Her lyrics contain a little more depth and personal experience than Man! I Feel Like a Woman, and her melodies don't always come in the sing-along variety. Her trademark writhing is also known to make your average Celine fan feel uncomfortable, and if there's one feeling you don't want at a Divas gathering, that would be it.

6. Buffy Sainte-Marie. I know what you're thinking: Hey, isn't this the woman who used to be on Sesame Street? (Or at least that's what a friend asked me the other day.) Well, yes. But Buffy, a Native-American educator, activist and songwriter, has been in the music business almost 40 years. She's the diva behind the curtain her songs have been covered by Cher, Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack and other A-list women. She won an Oscar for writing the theme to An Officer and a Gentleman. She has dabbled in country, rock, folk and every genre in between, but she'll probably never get any face time on VH1. Why? Her voice isn't TV-friendly, and she's not a big-hair-and-makeup fanatic.

7. Joan Jett. She's still around, and she's more intimidating than Grace Jones. But who's a bigger outlaw diva than the woman who sang I Love Rock 'n' Roll?

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