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Elle (the Netherlands)
March 2002

Tori Amos

interview by Ben Min

[translated from Dutch by Jesse van Rijn]

Singer/pianist is self-willed, or better said damned bloody-minded. Her new CD is called Strange Little Girls. And strange she is. Her lyrics are cryptic and she talks in oracles: "a piano is wise, just like the ocean."

Which question don't you want to hear anymore?

"Are you a feminist?" They should have asked me that in 1968, when I was 5 years old. In that time, feminism was a big deal. Such a question is redundant now. You could ask me just as well if I have 3 holes. The last time I checked that...

Which talent would you like to possess?

Sometimes I fantasize I have one of those very large toolboxes. I would like to be handy, because I'm not technically-minded at all.

What would you like to change about yourself?

I'm one of those who doesn't let go easily. I'm like a dog with a bone. I drive my friends crazy when I keep on whining about a subject. At a certain point they start to bark. Then I know it's enough and that I've got to drop the subject.

What do you know now, what you did not know when you were 18 years old?

When you turn 30, life is starting to get better. It's important that you keep working on yourself. "You have to do the work". Only then you feel happy about yourself. Do not pretend to be someone they want you to be, just be yourself. If you don't, you're gonna be a neurotic 30-year-old woman who wants to be 20 instead. It's your choice. You cross the border of wisdom, or you don't.

Do men behave different, now that you are famous?

I am the captain of my own ship. Some men can handle that, some can not. But that does not matter to me. I am not looking for someone to earn the money. I am independent. "I can bring home the bacon."

Who are your enemies?

I am not everybody's friend. I do not compromise. If you do not compromise, you are never the most popular person. Yes, you can say I have enemies.

What would you do, if you would be queen for one day?

I have understood that the queen can not say everything she wants and that she must ask permission of the 1st minister. If I would be queen I would declare myself 1st minister, so that I would be able to say whatever I want.

Biggest "extravagance"?

I am addicted to shoes. If I am late for something and I walk along a shoe store, by accident, still I am sucked into the store. I do very much for a pair of shoes.

About what do you want to write a book?

It would be non-fictional. I just love facts. Together with my cook Duncan I would like to write a book with all kinds of ways to live a healthy life. When you are 20 years old, you still can use all types of shit, but if you still do when you are 30, you are gonna pay the price for it. I have to live healthy, otherwise I won't be able to do all the performances. I am 38 years old and I do not want to look like "the ass of a dog."

Is it hard to be Tori Amos?

I have a daughter, Natashya, who is 14 months old. I have no free time, only when I take a shower. It is hard to combine motherhood and a music career.

Who is your greatest love?

I am involved in a relationship with my Bosendorfer, my piano. She is an entity in itself. She has got a difficult character. Pianos are grand. They are as wise as the ocean. To understand her, you have got to speak her language. She can be very exacting. She does not tolerate everybody.

Who is the most over-estimated person?

I will never answer that kind of question.

What is your biggest mischief ?

I do not tell everything. Sometimes I play chess (figural) and that is not always good.

What is the worst thing you have ever done to someone?

The worst things I did to people, were perhaps for them the best things I did: I left men, and so delivered them another girlfriend. I can be nasty, but I am always honest. Sometimes you have to be cruel and tell someone the truth. That is the only way to stick to your principles.

What is your ambition?

To find a good balance between motherhood and music.

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