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Billboard (US)
February 11, 2005

Amos Expresses Herself with New Album, Book

Entertainment - Reuters
By Barry A. Jeckell

NEW YORK (Billboard) - "At midlife, Tori Amos understands that she cannot rule life's tidal shifts, only navigate them," Ann Powers writes near the end of the new book "Tori Amos: Piece by Piece," which she co-wrote with the artist. "She is a rider of the waves, her sense of the future defined by an undiminished faith in music's power."

Rarely has a summary been so dead on.

"You can't stop time," Amos tells Billboard. "And I think that's why, the thing about songs, and it has always been this way for me, they try and capture time in a way that you can't capture sunlight and hold it."

"Piece by Piece" (Broadway Books, Feb. 8) was conceived over the course of two years of conversations with Powers. What began as a chronicle of the making of "The Beekeeper," her eighth studio album and second for Epic (due Feb. 22 in the States, Feb. 21 internationally), along the way became an exploration of what makes this enigmatic artist tick.

"I felt that now would be the time, before I forget my process, to reveal some of the ways that I've been able to continue to create in the music business," Amos says. "Not just as a musician, but as somebody that has to navigate the business side of it and as somebody that wanted to become a mom and wanted to have a relationship."

PREACHER'S DAUGHTER

From her North Carolina upbringing under a strict Methodist preacher father and book-loving Cherokee-heritage mother to her days studying classical piano at Baltimore's Peabody Academy and her struggles with the music business, her story is a fascinating one.

And it's the entirety of her life, as well as a healthy appetite for researching legends, religious texts, folklore, spirituality and art that informs "The Beekeeper."

"The concept is that there are six gardens, no different than that there are six sides to the cell in the beehive," Amos says. "The songs live within these six gardens that represent the emotional life of this female character whose voice we hear on the album."

In seeking out a traditional setting for her ideas, Amos needed look no further than the beekeeping legacy that exists around Cornwall, England, where she now lives with her husband, sound engineer Mark Hawley, and their daughter, Natashya.

"As I started to trace its history, it began to fit into place," she says. "I was thinking about pollination, and we go back to bees and the pollinating of that female worker bee with that male organ of that flower. I brought in the organ, the Hammond B3 organ, to marry with the piano, so that the music would reflect the concept."

FANATICAL FOLLOWING

"For Tori, there is this kind of built-in, fanatical, very passionate fan base that will follow her wherever she may roam," Epic senior VP of marketing Lee Stimmel says.

Beyond access to a streaming version of the lead single, "Sleeps With Butterflies," months ago at toriamos.com, eager fans have been able to preview one song from each "garden" during the six weeks preceding the album's release. They also have been offered excerpts from "Piece by Piece" and the ability to pre-order a special edition of the album that includes a DVD and 24-page booklet.

Furthering the intimate connection between the artist and the devoted will be a series of book signings starting with a Feb. 23 in-store at Barnes & Noble in New York's Union Square.

April will bring a U.S. theater tour with Amos and just her Bosendorfer piano and a Hammond B3.

"Tori alone at the piano tours are intense and very popular, which is why we're doing smaller venues so we get back to that intimate setting," her manager, John Witherspoon, says. "We did the last tour with just drums and bass and Tori, so we're going back to purely solo for the first time since 2001."

A similar European tour will follow, with plans to play some festivals there in June, at which time "Piece by Piece" should be available throughout the continent. A full-scale U.S. tour is slated for summer.

Reuters/Billboard


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