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Associated Press (US)
May 21, 2009

Contrary upbringing shaped Tori Amos

By John Carucci, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - The notion of sin should be familiar to Tori Amos, who titled her new CD "Abnormally Attracted to Sin" -- Amos grew up a minister's daughter. But her father didn't exactly take the brimstone and treacle approach one might have expected. Instead, he took her to play piano at gay clubs when she was just 13.

The 45-year-old singer reflected back on how her dad's outlook on her entertainment career, her new CD, and her musical theater inspiration in a recent interview.

AP: Growing up a minister's daughter, tell me about the conflict between what you're raised to believe at home and what you see outside of the home?

Amos: What's really tricky is when you're brought up in a family that has a very clear faith system and they are really doing what they think is the best thing they can do, which is to bring you up with those beliefs. And I question a lot of what I've been taught and brought up in and I see it differently than my family. But the key has been, can you respect each other enough to say, "I don't need to tell you what to believe in"?

AP: A minister's daughter playing in gay clubs -- what kind of flack would your dad get for that?

Amos: My dad got a lot of flack for that. He would chaperone me at the gay clubs. I remember him responding when they asked him, "What made you think of that?" He said, "There is not one man in that club that is interested in my daughter, except for her music." It's not so stupid. And I think that side of my father; he's kind of a minister by day and an agent by night. He does have a dual personality, my dad, he's always been fascinated by pop culture and so he was kind of acting as my agent for many, many, many years. He and my mom ran the publishing side of my life.

AP: Your new record deals with breaking free, correct?

Amos: Power is kind of a central component for this record. How do we define it? And then how does that affect our idea of what is a powerful man? I've been exploring that for years. But if we associate it with money and success, our world has turned upside down, and then a lot of people right now are not feeling very successful. But if you change the definition of what is power, somebody that is able to create even under adversity - then when I say create I don't mean write songs necessarily I'm talking about a creative spirit - then power starts to redefine itself.

AP: The title of the album comes from a line from "Guys and Dolls" -- what sparked that?

Amos: Musical theater has entered my life because I'm working on something called "The Light Princess" and have been for a while. .. So I just happened to be watching a lot of musicals, and "Guys and Dolls" was something that was on replay. So when I heard (key character) Sarah Brown, someone else who has been influenced by religion ... say, "abnormally attracted to sin," I know that very well. And that became the title of the project.

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