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The West Australian (Australia)
October 9, 2009

The many sides of Amos

Steph Kretowicz, The West Australian

"They are starving, starving. Even though they're obese. They're the fattest people in the world and they're starving to death."

Thus ends an invective regarding the consumptive greed and spiritual famine plaguing most of the Western world by Tori Amos - wife, mother and feminist who also happens to be one of the most worshipped female figures of the music world.

Yet as such an influential and outspoken popular icon, Amos is also is one of the most interesting, approachable and strangest people you'll ever speak to.

"If you were really going to rebel against me, then you would become a really conservative right-wing Christian that thought women should be subjugated and are only here as incubators," Amos says of the possibilities of her and husband Mark Hawley's only daughter Natashya "Tash" Lorien. Luckily for them, though, the future looks promising for the nine-year-old aspiring filmmaker, who already in her short life has seen more of the world than most people could dream of in a lifetime. Having toured the globe with her proud parents already five times over, while being based in their adopted home of Cornwall, Amos is confident Tash has a future that will be far from ordinary.

"I don't think she has any plans of fitting into the norm, she plans on going to performing arts boarding school at 11, somewhere in the UK, down the street," Amos says.

With the exceptional circumstances of Tash's young life, touring with Amos for a mother and an musical entourage for an extended family, you wouldn't expect anything less.

"I would like to think that Tash is an opportunity," Amos says.

"She sees the world in a very unique way; she sees countries as part of earth and she travels the earth. She's tapped into Kali from the Hindu ideology, she's aware of the war, she has been to Israel, she knows that there's a conflict over there.

"She doesn't think anything of jumping on a plane and travelling halfway around the world just to hang out; it's just being part of the earth and she sees herself as a citizen of the earth."

Amos and Hawley have been careful not to interfere with Tash's personal growth and decisions, even if she does have a tendency to "meddle" at times.

"I think right now she sees a lot of possibility but that's right now and we're going to support that but the thing is I've had to be open that she has a life and she wants to do things." With one of the greatest challenges to women being how to balance children, family and career, Amos says having had Tash when she was nearing her 40s was the best decision she ever made.

"I've found that I've got a lot more to pass on to Tash and I'm a lot more chilled in some ways and I have a different perspective . . . I don't need her to go live the life that I didn't live. I've lived a life and I'm still living it," she says.

While some parents might need their children to accomplish the things they wish they would have accomplished themselves, Amos and her husband made sure they'd written their own life's story before moving on to someone else's.

"Mark and I grew up wanting to make records, we made records. We grew up wanting to tour, we tour. We grew up wanting to fall in love with somebody who understood what we did and we've done that."

Strongly spiritual, liberal and successful, it would appear the legendary performer and noted philanthropist is the model of having it all.

As she embarks on yet another international tour and puts the finishing touches on 11th studio album Midwinter Graces, Amos' desires for her daughter will be as humble or as grand as only Tash wants them to be.

"Whatever Tash chooses, as long as she respects herself and sees herself as equal to men and that she has rights, then she's got to make her own choices and Mark and I have had to realise that."

Tori Amos plays the Riverside Theatre at Perth Convention Exhibition Centre on November 21. Tickets available from Ticketek.


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