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The Guardian (UK)
October 5, 2012

Tori Amos: My family values
The singer and musician talks about her family

by Jamie Tabberer

My childhood was extreme. When I was growing up [in Maryland] in the 60s - my father a minister, my mother, part native-American but a Christian woman - going to church was mandatory. Four times a week, three times on a Sunday. The church was a very active, social place. Sort of like the pub for England. Was it a happy time? I don't know about that. My grandmother, my father's mother, had that missionary zeal. She'd always say: "You give your body to the man you marry and you give your soul to God." I said to her at five: "And what do I get for me?" I ended up in the corner having the Bible read to me for an hour.

My father has a pragmatic mind. He marched with Dr King in the 60s, and he's very much for women's rights. And being exposed to so many gay people who work on my tours and shoots - he's evolved to seeing them as individuals, as people, and not as "the gays".

My mother's parents were the heart and soul of North Carolina. I'd spend four months a year with them, all summer. Papa, my mother's father, was a great storyteller. He had perfect pitch, would smoke his pipe on the porch and tell stories. That was very warm.

I have an intercontinental relationship with Mark [Hawley, Tori's British-born husband]. A key to keeping your husband is getting him to miss you. That keeps a marriage fresh. We live a life that is separately together. Our American home is by the Indian river, Florida. Mark has his UK place down in Cornwall. We've been married 14 years and it's one of the key reasons we're not at each other's throats, because you take yourself out of the equation. When I'm on the road, he's with the crew and I'm on the band bus. That was where I first began to see: after three nights of back-to-back shows and then you're together in a hotel room on a day off, it would be, "Oh ... hello!" You begin to see there's a romance. But he likes his time alone.

I'm not very social when I'm off the promo trail, because I step into wife and mother mode. It's very reclusive. In Cornwall, sometimes I don't leave the compound for a month at a time. My husband will go on his motorbike and keep me locked away all to himself, which is sort of romantic.

I have a great relationship with my mother-in-law. We're both Leos, we understand each other. My daughter Tash [12] has an incredible relationship with her. That inspires me. It's because of her wisdom that I was able to agree to boarding school - Tash is in year 8 at Sylvia Young theatre school. My husband was all for it because he went to boarding school. It was very difficult for me to let her go - it's not of my culture. It was my mother-in-law who explained to me why it was a good idea. And she was right.

My brother died in 2004. He was in a car accident. He had three children; they're older and spread out. I'm very close with my sister, a doctor outside of Washington, and I'm very close to her kids. My niece Kelsey sang on my last album, my other niece Cody worked on my tours for a while as PA. They're Tash's cousins, but when they have children she'll be Aunt Tash.

Parenting is not for everybody. It changes your life. Especially when they're little. If you think a child is going to be your accessory ... it's not like a micro pig. It's not about putting them in front of the television. You need to read to them at night. But once they start to have their own social circle, they are busy and don't text you back - ever. Then you get your life back.

Tori Amos's new album, Gold Dust, is released by Deutsche Grammophon

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