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Press Enterprise (US)
July 21, 2014
Tori Amos will light up two Southern California stages
Tori Amos will perform at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and Humphrey's by the Bay in San Diego.
By Stephanie Schulte, Staff Writer
When Tori Amos released her breakthrough album "Little Earthquakes" two decades ago, she was an anomaly in modern music. Where Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey dominated the charts as pop stars and crunchy guitars and angst ruled rock, Amos ripped up and down her piano.
Each note struck chords about life, love, abuse and religion that resonated and attracted what would become a loyal fan base.
She paved the road for female pianists such as Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Fiona Apple and Nora Jones.
After the age of auto-tune and in the midst of a never-ending parade of viral pop stars, Amos recently released her 14th studio album, "Unrepentant Geraldines." She will perform at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday and Humphrey's By the Bay in San Diego on Thursday.
The tour in support of the multilayered new album finds Amos with her Bosendorfer grand piano, the hulking partner and only accompaniment for the run.
Amos, 50, said it was her teenage daughter Tash, who sings alongside her mom on the song "Promise" on the new album, who encouraged her to hit the road without longtime drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Jon Evans.
"I thought to myself, 'You are not 84 years old so bring it'," Amos said in a telephone interview. "Go be ... great."
When Amos arrives at a venue, she sizes up the space to get a handle on the acoustics which can determine what songs will work well. Some rooms support the highest ranges of her voice.
"The upside to performing with just my piano is I can easily change the setlists," she said. "The downside is I don't have anyone to play off of other than the audience."
However, during every set she performs two cover songs, always fan-submitted. At a recent show in Cape Town, South Africa she covered "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."
"I listen to the requests; I get lots of requests," she said. "If I don't think I can deliver a song, I don't sing it."
Before each performance, she sings and plays for up to two hours to warm up.
"It is a full blown vocal workout," she said. "My pipes are ready and awake (afterward)."
Amos's iconic voice, delicate yet powerful, inspired a generation of women with songs such as "Silent All These Years," "Cornflake Girl" and "A Sorta Fairytale."
Amos continually challenges the boundaries of the definition of her music. When she begins work on something new, she listens to a wide array of music.
"That is part of my process as an entry way into a new project," she added. "It is a way to expand my vocabulary and patterns."
One of the more memorable albums showing off her chameleon evolution was 2001's "Strange Little Girls," which saw Amos reinterpreting songs written and performed by men from assorted female characters.
Amos' audience has grown with her, connecting and reconnecting over the years.
"You have to hold space as an artist and be present," Amos said. "People go through different things at different times and jump in at different times."
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