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The New York Post (US)
February 20, 2005

TORI'S STORY

Amos speaks her 'Piece' on new album and book

By Liza Ghorbani

TORI Amos is one busy bee, so to speak. "A honeybee, though, not a queen bee!" says Amos with a laugh.

With the recent release of her ninth album, "Beekeeper," and her first book, "Piece by Piece," Amos is reveling in a hectic schedule that will bring her to New York on Wednesday on a book tour, to be followed by an album tour that kicks off in April.

"My deepest desire for it was that it would be fiercely beautiful," says Amos of the new album, an airy, majestic work that finds her ethereal voice, on which she weaves through delicate pianos and soulful organs. "So it has a ferocity to it and yet sonically it's a perfume that wraps itself around you."

Drawing inspiration from her day-to-day life, Amos eventually came up with the complex concept that informs the album: the honeybee and its relationship to nature.

"I really enjoy the idea of a win-win relationship instead of there being a win-lose," says Amos, who has a tendency to wax metaphysical when discussing her music. "So that was the core idea - a sacred marriage concept. And the piano and the organ" - representing the masculine and the feminine - "then reflected that in the music."

The complexities don't stop there. The 19 songs on the album are categorized into six "gardens" - like the orchard and the greenhouse - each of which represents a place she wants the listener to "enter."

"Your own life is reflective of a garden," she says.

"And it's how we tend it. We can plant different ideas into our garden, we don't have to be stagnant."

Each of the songs on "Beekeeper" tells a story about one of her relationships - be it with the world or her friends - and looks at it in a new way, even though such reflection was difficult at times.

"Along with the sweet comes the sting," she says.

In a lovely guest spot by Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice, the two croon a duet about "The Power of Orange Knickers," a fresh, unexpected metaphor.

"It's that 'Take another drop of courage.' It's your double espresso that says, all right, I can drive across the country," says Amos.

And do these mythical orange knickers really exist? "Of course they do!"

Amos' unusual outlook on life is also captured in "Piece by Piece," written with music journalist Ann Powers.

Using a conversational format, the two women examine the balancing act of the being a musician and a mother, and includes interviews with key players in Amos' life, including her husband, Mark Hawley.

Not one for celebrity trappings, Amos resides in the lush English countryside, in the seaside town of Cornwall, which she says is an inspirational backdrop for her creative process.

"When you walk away from the music industry and the media and red carpets, then there's a carpet of green that exists that's endless," she explains.

"And you're very humbled by it, you're very small."

Cornwall has also been a wonderful environment for raising her daughter, Natashya, who at 4 is already showing signs of carrying the creative gene.

"She just walks around singing what she wants for dinner," says Amos, slipping into a singsong imitation.

"'I do not want macaroni tonight, Mommy.'

I just look at her and think, 'Oh my goodness gracious.'"



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