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Us (US)
October 1999

Faces & Places
Up Close

Tori Amos

Pop's Perennial Pixie Celebrates Marriage, 'Venus' and the Muse

By James Ireland Baker

Your new album, 'To Venus and Back', features 22 songs -- 12 new tracks and 10 live versions of old songs. You're very prolific. Do you write for a set number of hours a day?

"No. I'm usually racing my little Toyota truck and ordering good wine, hanging out with my friends [in England, where Amos moved in the early 1990s]. But when the muse stalks me, I start hunting her. She forces me to go out there with my bow and arrow, and sometimes I get it and sometimes I don't."

Your work is very confessional. Your last album, 'From the Choirgirl Hotel', dealt in part with your miscarriage in 1996 -- the child you conceived with your then future husband, Mark Hawley. Will you try to get pregnant again?

"I don't know. I mean, she was a real being to us, and we say hi to her sometimes when we're taking a walk at night. [Her spirit] might be in another woman's tummy by now, but I don't feel like I'm shared something that changed our life -- in a good way -- because we began to appreciate that we have each other, that we have another day to be together. I'm starting on this new tour [with Alanis Morissette], and I'm really enjoying being a woman, being married and seeing where that takes me."

Your work is also idiosyncratic, and you write notoriously obscure lyrics. Do you ever feel the pressure to write a mainstream hit?

"I have never chased the curve. A lot of people will try to dilute you -- give your music a nose job or a little bow tie: 'Don't perspire now; shave under your arms.' But I'm a small vineyard. And I'm not willing to sacrifice the way I make the wine to get into Safeway. You know what I mean?"

NEVER-ENDING TORI: "There is always room for uniqueness," says Amos.

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