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June 9, 2015
Tori Amos: "I sound like a fairy on crack"
Photo and text by Martin Stepanek
The end of September marks the album release of Tori Amos' first musical "The Light Princess". In a chat with KURIER she explains, why she doesn't sing on it herself.
So far, 2015 was a rather quiet year for Tori Amos. After a big world tour last year the musician retreated from the public stage to record her first musical "The Light Princess" in the studio. The musical, which was inspired by a Scottish fairy tale about two competing royal houses had its premiere in 2013 in the London National Theatre and received mixed reviews.
While the stage setting and the main actress Rosalie Craig received a lot of praise, some didn't like the feminist undertone and criticized the music as not catchy enough. Others compared Amos' composing skills with the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.
However, the studio recording with the full cast seems now to be complete. The album is going to be released at the end of September, says Tori Amos during her chat with Kurier at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. "Nowadays cast albums are made in a day or two. But Universal, my label, gave me the freedom to treat it like a proper record. So, we hope we managed to create a sonic world that does the piece justice."
Some fans may be bewildered that the American pianist and singer, who entered Peabody conservatory at the age of five, neither plays the piano nor sings on the album. The explanation is straight-forward, according to Amos: "I sound like a fairy on crack. This is no secret. Singing is not my strength."
To write for voices without having to deal with vocal limitations struck a nerve. "When you are writing for yourself, you are writing with that instrument's limitation. But to be able to write music for people with these instruments - my God! - the ranges, the spices of some of these voices! A whole world opened up for me. And best of all: I got to write for men! I love men!"
The vision in creating "The Light Princess" was to create a modern fairy tale, in which teenagers were hopefully not watered down. "Sometimes characters in musicals don't really address certain emotions. So, Samuel Adamson and I wanted to have a fairy tale that felt more 21st century emotionally speaking." After the successful run in London Amos hopes that the piece makes it to Broadway eventually.
Until the "Light Princess" is out, fans can listen to the remastered first albums "Little Earthquakes" and "Under the Pink". These re-releases contain many bonus- and live tracks. To go back to music that was created 20 to 25 years ago, is not always easy, admits Amos. "The person you hear on these records is at times very sad and empty in her heart. I'm a mom now and it changed everything in a good way."
To still be able to perform these emotionally disturbing songs today and even enjoy them, relates to the experiences listeners share with Amos. "Every story or experience that people tell me about a song becomes part of the song's narrative and its soul. Therefore, I don't see my own film, wenn I play these songs, but thousands and thousands of films from all the people that got touched by it."
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