Woman Magazine (Germany)
An article and interview with Tori appeared in the October 22, 2002 issue of Woman Magazine in Germany. Many thanks to Susanne Helmer for sending me the article and translating it from German into English.
Soft voice, powerful lyrics
Tori Amos' latest CD "Scarlet's Walk": sensuously soft sounds, behind which there are really tough words - an explosive mixture
The pop songs on Tori Amos' latest album "Scarlet's Walk" are sensitive, and they do not lead to assume that the singer started her career in a rock band. At the beginnings of the 90's she decided to go on alone and softer - and she was successful straight away. Not least thanks to the fact that on her first solo-album "Little Earthquakes" in 1992, she revealed a traumatic experience which hit the headlines: Tori, then 29, set her own rape to music. The excellent pianist, who lives in the English county Cornwall, still is a critical musician. "woman"- journalist Dagmar Leischow met the singer in the "Falcon"-hotel in Bude, a small village at Cornwall's north-east-coast.
Woman: Are you a modern Scarlett O'Hara?
Tori Amos: No. But there are parallels between my CD "Scarlet's Walk" and the film "Gone with the wind". Both works have a look on American history. Someone who deals with it gets to know the abysses of this country.
This sounds as if you do not love your home country?
On the contrary. I demonstrate America's problems because I am very concerned about the country. On my album I analyse what this nation was like in the past and what has become out of it. It is dreadful how the continent has been exploited over the years.
Is the song "Amber Waves" specifically dealing with this?
Yes. When the Europeans came to America, they robbed the freedom of the aborigines - in the name of freedom. Arrangements were broken. But today, nobody wants to hear about that anymore. It is a scandal that we are ignoring our past.
Do the Americans lack self-criticism?
Unfortunately yes. Nobody wants to admit that the rest of the world thinks that the United States are tyrannical. Almost all Americans take criticism on their native country personally.
Why are you different?
Because I live in Europe. From here, I can look on my home country in an objective way.
Do you really feel at home in Great Britain?
No. I am only a guest in this country. I moved to Cornwall for the sake of my husband. Nevertheless I don't deny my roots. I am proud on having American Indian ancestors.
Is this the reason why you denounce the suppression of the Indians on your new CD?
We Americans finally have to admit to our own mistakes. We could learn a lot from Germany. In your country, the pupils deal intensively with the crimes of the second World War in their history lessons. In my country, topics like slavery are not treated in schools.
Another reason for raising your daughter in Europe?
Natashya Lorien is supposed to decide on her own where she would like to live. Because she was born in Washington and now lives in Cornwall, she has two citizenships. Who knows, maybe she is going to be a politician. An American secretary of state with a British accent - that would be great.
Why don't you become involved in politics?
Because I am a musician. I prefer to reflect cultural and political events in my songs.
Do you think that music can change the world?
Of course. People can find themselves in my songs. The situation I am describing for example in "Manic Depression" is probably known to most people: A woman is desperately trying to flee from her fears. Someone who listens to the lyrics might find a solution for his problem.
What fears do you have?
I am afraid of looking back on my life in 30 years time thinking: "Oh my God, I did not give everything I could have given." That's why I am trying to sharpen people's consciousness with "Scarlet's Walk". So that we preserve our planet for the next generation.
Was environmental protection a topic for you before the birth of your daughter?
No. In the past I was preoccupied with myself, wanted to find out more about me and my emotions. Since I've been a mother, everything is different: My CD proves that I learned to take responsibility for others as well.
How did you feel when you wrote the songs for "Scarlet's Walk"?
I dared to say things in the songs that I would not have expressed otherwise. Writing the "Scarlet"-songs was more freeing than any therapy.
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