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Monday, June 6, 1994
No pretty song about the shiny happy world
Tori Amos settles her own past in her songs
Actually she is a gift from heaven: red hair, a deep stare, a voice that
just melts you away and songs that destract from hard workaday routine
for a moment. All of a sudden life can be so delighting again. Thanks to
Tori Amos. "Elf", "angel", "fairy" - synonyms for such a being are found
easily. And just as quickly turned down again. Because in no case Tori
Amos hums pretty songs about the shiny happy world. She's not even able
to - she's too clever.
The hall is too quiet. Even so quiet loud breathing would disturb the
atmosphere. Best thing would be not to breathe at all. Anything but to
miss a note. Up on the stage Tori Amos sits at the piano and sings
melodies, each one of them capable of giving you goose bumps. She throws
her red curls in her neck and sings "Me and a Gun".
It is a song about a rape. Her own rape. Tori Amos wasn't crushed by it
and admits today: "If I'd been armed at that time I would have killed
that guy outright. Now I'm glad I wasn't armed." Her only weapon is music.
In her songs the 30 year old settles with her past, sings about
unrestrained sex, pregnancy and women's rights, attacks state and church.
She just can't hide her anger with deceitful moral conceptions and authority.
Tori Amos was brought up in a orthodox home in North Carolina. She
developed to an infant prodigy, strummed tunes on the piano at the age
of four already. Her father, a Methodist minister, realized the talent
of his daughter and sent her to a conservatory of music in Baltimoore at
the age of five. However, she got kicked out as she was eleven years
old - Tori didn't feel like playing at sight and also didn't want to grow
up in ghetto of musicians.
What followed were her years of apprenticeship as a musician. She played
in gay clubs, sent out truckloads of demo tapes and produced an album which
bombed completely. That was "because I chummed up to the so-called public
taste. I wanted to please everybody and overlooked myself in the process."
But the songwriter also gets the better of it: "Every phase you pass in
your life has some sense and you learn something for the future. I think
I've gained a great deal of strength through my experiences and only from
that I was able to write my recent songs." After her first album wrecked
she sent a tape to her record company with songs that came from deep
within: Songs she could stand by.
Luckily they realized the quality of her music at the chief offices.
On the advice of the company Tori Amos moved to London. The Britons
were believed to be more tolerant than the Americans with her somewhat
unusual harmonies. A good choice: The CD 'Little Earthquakes' took the
pop fans' hearts by storm.
Tori Amos clearly stands out from the mass of shallow pop-fairies and
always has been taken notice of in the public. Almost everywhere only
hymns of praise. Even in the US: "Music that makes your heart stand
still - a voice that stops any traffic for three and a half minutes"
'USA-Today' judged the first single, 'Crucify'.
Tori Amos shows she isn't a day fly with her current album 'Under the
Pink'. Once again she succeeded in a most sensitive mixture of songs
which describe both the beautiful and the dark sides of life. In the
UK the album soared to number one in the charts from scratch.
t o r i p h o r i a
the World of Tori Amos