Known to most as a piano virtuoso and a poetic lyricist, Tori Amos’ 15-year plus career in pop has managed to inspire more than a handful of singer-songwriters. With good reason. Ever since her debut with her now-classic first album, Under The Pink, Amos has been able to create music without the pressures of creating hit singles. Luckily, her creative chutzpah has translated into worldwide success and a throng of loyal fans who follow her every b-side.
However, to catch Ms. Amos live, especially while performing songs off her latest disc, American Doll Posse is an experience few singers on earth can replicate. The lady gives it her all onstage whilst delivering keyboard-driven tracks such as “Bouncing off the Clouds” and “Beauty of Speed” (off American Doll Posse) and rearanges her well-known songs such as “Cornflake Girl” and “Winter” in the most extraordinary of ways. Her passion for song may be tough to describe without sounding like a glassy-eyed English Lit major but one trip to youtube (keywords: tori amos in concert) will give you a taste of just how powerful her pipes and chords can be.
In this rare-but-revealing interview, Amos talks about the intricate process of music making and her journey in the studio and on tour (her next Canadian stage date will be in Vancouver on December 3rd) as well as her thoughts on the state and style of pop culture.
FLARE: How much of a diva are you? Do you need specific things around you—such as Cristal by the case—to record and write?
TA: (Laughs) No, no! Not at all. I record at Martian Engineering in Cornwall. But I write everywhere. I’m grabbing napkins in a coffee shop and writing things on the back with eyeliner if I have to. There are two sides to composing for me: there is a discipline. So when I do know that there is music coming from this creative force, the muses make me work for it. They don’t just usually give me a whole song. It’s a picture into a story and so then I have to sit down and play every day. I play for a few hours a day when I’m not on the road.
FLARE: When you are playing do you ever have sheet music from anybody else laying around for inspiration?
TA: Not when I’m composing. I’m clean. But I spend time taking in information. For instance, now as I go on tour, especially when I go out with the band this time, they’ll be playing me anything and everything.