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Chicago Sun-Times (US)
August 4, 2014

Tori Amos embracing milestones on- and off-stage

By Tina Sfondeles

Tori Amos will tell you her music career -- which spans decades -- has nothing to do with luck and a lot to do with hard work.

The talented singer-songwriter is nostalgic and humble about her beginnings, largely treating fans to early cuts on tour even while promoting a new album.

And Amos, now 50, has a lot of celebrating to do. This year marks the 20th anniversary of her second album "Under the Pink," which featured one of her biggest hits, "Cornflake Girl." Amos is currently on a world tour to promote her latest album, "Unrepentant Geraldines," with a stop at the Chicago Theater on Tuesday.

She's no stranger to the city and told the Sun-Times, with a laugh, that she's got a pretty good memory of gracing the stage at Schubas in 1992 during her first tour.

"You don't know that you're going to have 14 albums when you're playing Schubas. You don't know you're going to be 50 years old and putting out your 14th album," Amos said. "You might have a hunch and a hope and a wish and a wing and a prayer, but then achieving that is a very different walk. That's just talking about it. Then you have to go walk that walk over many mountains and go make 14 albums and survive the music industry and see if you're still there."

The show marked a big transition in her career, going from playing hotel lobbies to having people pay to hear her play.

"It doesn't matter the size of the venue. It's a huge leap for an artist because people are actually listening. Yes, they're having a drink but they're still listening and engaging with the songs," Amos said.

The singer-songwriter's last album, "Gold Dust," a classical album, reworked past songs with the Netherlands' Metropole Orchestra. "Unrepentant Geraldines" is a piano-heavy outing, perhaps a nod to her early albums.

Amos' new album marks the second time she's paired up with her 13-year-old daughter Natashya Hawley. She previously sang on four tracks of her mother's album "Night of Hunters" when she was just 11. This time around, the duet "Promise" features Natashya prominently and the teen has quite a good voice. It's raspier and jazzier than her mother's. Amos just released a video of the song, her newest single, which features a no frills, sweet video of her daughter singing with her.

Amos just wrapped up a first leg of her European tour, a whopping 36 shows, and began her 28-show North American tour on July 16. Amos said she knows fans are craving music from her early career and she's excited to see a new generation of fans discover those often gritty, personal songs.

"I think it's because it's a marker. Twenty years is a certain marker," Amos said. "It's a point for some people that didn't know them at the time and for those that are newer, and younger, and were babies, that are coming on the road and they're discovering them for the first time. That's really fascinating to see."

Since her first album, Amos has produced albums her own way, even in an uber competitive music industry. She says her faithful fans have a lot to do with why she's still making albums.

"I think there's an agreement that has sort of been with people that if as an artist I keep pushing myself, and exploring that, there will be an audience that will be open to it. We might not love it, but that's kind of an unwritten agreement. There are people that have been there since 1992, and there are people who come and go. And when you come to the show, you see people of all ages. It's about a place where people can come and have a relationship with the songs, at any age."

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