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Manchester Evening News (UK)
December 1991

Is Tori the next star?

TONY JASPER meets a girl whose Little Earthquakes are going to create some very big shock waves

Talking with Tori Amos is an overwhelming experience. I was in the presence of the next big star someone in the mould of Kate Bush or Joni Mitchell. Apparently this woman has everything going for her. Unlike Madonna she doesn't have to work at making you stare, nor in the manner of Kylie does she attempt the big tease.

She is naturally a high octane turn-on. She sports a crazy buundle of fetching red hair, possesses a powerful physical frame, and explodes with an intelligence that dampens any thought of a "pop" interview in which you might ask "what is your favourite colour."

This American singer-songwriter, aged 28, has set up house in Britain. "I love it here. For me it means everything is so new, although it's difficult to adjust, for an American it's such a different place." Born into a church home, father is a Methodist preacher, and mum is part Cherokee, she's had music chasing an ear and body, even before "I got some words out." She hit an absorbing medley of "The Doors, Gershwin, and What A Friend We Have In Jesus," before she was into double figures. She has gigged constantly since she was 13.

Her debut UK album is set for January 6, sensibly free from this pre-Christmas rush of mega-stars. Its title is deliciously understated, the seeming innocuous Little Earthquakes but like the woman who severely distracted me from the mundane thoughts of what I might buy someone for Christmas, it ain't no small-time affair.

Startling

Tori Amos calls a spade a spade, and she can sing of ice cream, crucifixion, sexual violation, biscuits and rape with startling juxtaposition.

"So much happened to me in childhood and I still feel some kind of thread linking me with those days. I had times then when my spirit was broken. I remember when I was 11 and I thought my life was over." It was then she was unceremoniously removed from a prestigious music academy for Bowie and Bolan had touched her soul, and that didn't please classical musical superiors, yet she wanted "to play all kinds of music."

Tori Amos says: "I take risks I suppose in exposing my inward thoughts and feelings. I know I'm always changing, sometimes I feel like kissing, other times I wannabe alone and not-sharing." She's aware some might find her "very brassy and new-age."

Her songs often have weird chord sequences, part reason why perhaps some bring the name of Kate Bush into play, but when Tori's song Winter reminds of Kate's The Fog, and her vocal mannerisms have something of the British artist's strangeness, but wow, she can sing, she can communicate.


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