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Tori Amos Welcome to Sunny Florida

press release / interviews

interviews from Welcome to Sunny Florida

filmed on September 4, 2003
at Sound Advice Amphitheater
in West Palm Beach, Florida

Backstage with Tori Amos

Backstage with Mary Amos [transcript]

Backstage outtakes with Ben Folds, Jon Evans and Matt Chamberlain


Backstage with Mary Amos


Loren Haynes: We know that you come from a native background...

Mary Amos: Native American background.

Loren: Native American background...

Mary: Yes... Both my mother and father are of Native American descent.

Loren: And how's that?... tell me, growing up with that in your blood and in your soul and in your environment, how's that effect your life in general?

Mary: Well, uh, I didn't really realize it was any different from anybody else's, um, until I went to college and I, I realized that they didn't have the same respect I suppose, or love for the nature that I was taught... and for animals... and for the Spirits.

My father... my father had perfect pitch, he had an untrained, it was not a trained voice, but um, I was told he had one of the most beautiful tenor voices that um, this person had heard who taught music. And he sang to her [Tori] from infancy... and um, um I think perhaps that influenced her uh, ear, perhaps some way. Now I don't know that, but um, at the Peabody Institute, which is you know now the Johns Hopkins School of Music, when uh, she was audtioned, when she was five years old, um they said it was a naturally God-given gift, that hers is not a learned musical gift. A lot, a lot of musicians inherit their musical talent, but neither my husband nor I really are musical, and so um I think it truly is a God-given gift, and she heard the right sounds, they said, in infancy, that perhaps made her ear keenly aware of the music. It's just a thought, I don't know. *smiles*

Loren: And did you and your husband make a conscious choice to share the spirituality of your heritage?, or was this a natural progression down...

Mary: No, it was just natural. I really, I never thought very much about it, it's just part of my background, my life, um, my love of the things of nature, and the creatures, and um, we were taught that.

Loren: And what do you feel? How do you feel when you hear and see your daughter sing and perform?

Mary: I've always been moved by her music and her wisdom, and the joy she gives to me, and has always given to me, uh, when she plays. And she enjoy sharing it with others. And of course, um, I truly think it is God-given, and um, a lot of people have said that to me, and that how it has helped them. Especially young people, we get such truly moving letters, my husband and I. And then the young people at the concerts will come up and say, "um, I was in a really bad place, and her music saved my life." Or someone will say, "I, I was thinking of committing suicide, and a friend said, you should listen to this record by Tori Amos," and they listened and they listened, and out of that they were led to change their values and their way of life... and so, you know, I am deeply humbled by it... deeply grateful that I could share in this, and that she has just meant so much to my husband and me, and our lives. I just wish we could see more of her and her husband... and grandaughter now, but that's the way life is, Yes, we treasure every moment. *smiles*


Mary: Well, before she ever even went to school we spent so much time at home, she and I playin', and I've always loved music. We've always had so much music in our house, and um...

Tori Amos: Well, tell him you had a record collection, 'cause you worked in a record store.

Mary: Oh yes, I... I worked at a record store, growin' up as a teenager!

Loren: Oh you did?

Mary: *laughs* OH YES, I worked at a record store!... *Loren laughs/Tori smiles*... and she would say, she would say, "Mother! How do you like those drums?! You hear those drums?!"... and here she was at the piano *gesturing piano playing*... *Loren laughs*... or, "How do you like that brass?"... and I'd say, "I don't hear any of that." *Loren laughs*... and she would look at me like, well, Mother you are the dumbest person in the world! *Loren laughs/Tori smiles*... and I said to her... I think that's one of the times then that I began to realize, she has a SPECIAL gift...

Loren: Right...

Mary: That she's hearing music in her head...

Loren: Right.

Mary: That I'm not hearing at all!

Loren: Well that's it. You were obviously amazingly attentive, 'cause which alot of parents I don't think would have been, 'cause you... there was... there she was in a conservatory at five, so you, you paid quite a bit of attention to that.

Mary: Well, we had alot of friends who were, were very skilled in music, around us. My husband, um, was serving a large suburban church in Baltimore at the time, and um, there were alot of people that were very talented in music in the church, and in fact it was THEY who encouraged us to have her audtion in the Peabody Institute, which is the PREPARATORY part for the conservatory. Well, we had a terrible time getting them to listen to us, and it took about six months before we ever got an audition, because they thought we were just pushy parents you know... and when we finally went in that day, there was, uh, uh, a goup of four or five professors *door opening sound heard* that sat down, and they said to us, *in snobby voice* "Well, what are you going to play for us today? Um, yeah, Ring around the Rosey?"... and oh, I became... *Loren laughs* we Native Americans have a lot of temper and you know that's what's done us in, it just... I just had to really bite my tongue, because I said, "Oh I think you will recognize it"... and she played some beautiful classical *Doctor Amos seen standing in background smiling* music and um, she always had a marvelous repertoire. You know, everything from Mozart *laughs* to Nat King Cole *laughs*.

Tori: Mom had quite a record collection, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday...

Mary: Yes, yes and I still have SOME of those.

Tori: Hundreds of records!

Loren: Wow!

Tori: And so when dad would go to church... Mom would flip on...

Mary: And this is Dad over here... *gestures at Doctor Amos* Dad...

Loren: Hello Reverend. Doctor Amos: How are you Loren? *shakes his hand*

Loren: Nice to see you.

Dr Amos: Good to see you.

Mary: Daddy I met Loren, we said it was 1992 at the Town Hall concert in New York.

Dr Amos: Oh!

Loren: And then I drove with you and your daughter... to her...

Mary: Wedding!

Loren: When you gave her away...

Dr Amos: That's right. Wonderful!

Loren: You gave her away... *laughs*

Dr Amos: Wonderful! So um...

Mary: But uh, what a surprise to see you here.

Loren: Nice to see you.

Dr Amos: Yeah.

Loren: So nice, yeah.

Dr Amos: I didnt know you were on this crew...

Loren: I'm on it today, we're doing this DVD for Tori. And, uh...

Dr Amos: Yeah, well that's marveous! Where do you work out of?... What place?

Loren: Los Angeles...

Dr Amos: Los Angeles.

Mary: Well now, usually our weather's better in Florida then it is right now...

Loren: Yes, sss, sunny southern Florida!

Mary: But now it's really the pits now, with... with the storms kicking up out there, you see, it's really bad.

*Doctor Amos gestures at Mary Amos' necklace*

Dr Amos: Yeah Mama has her Indian, she's park Cherokee.

Mary: Yeah, yeah, well, she, she...

Loren: We were talking about that, that's what we were very briefly talking about.

Mary: She had this made for me by the Lakota's...

Loren: Oh did she? It's beautiful... I noticed it right away.

Mary: Uh, we treasure the buffalo you know...

Loren: Right, the white buffalo.

Mary: All of us... you know we used to have buffalo here in the Smokies.

Loren: Didn't know that.

Mary: Yes, they were hunted and killed. In fact there's a...

Dr Amos: Well, they're, uh, we're havin' a...

Mary: The Buffalo Creek...

Dr Amos: Ted Turner's revising buffalo...

Mary: *agitated* Yeah, he IS doing a MARVELOUS job! TRYING to... TRYING to... eh...

Dr Amos: He's going into the buffalo market...

Mary: Oh, well I don't like that part of it! But uh...

Loren: Hamburgers.

Dr Amos: Yeah *laughs* hamburgers.

Mary: But um... It's really tragic what happened to the bison out West, you know?

Loren: Yes, it is WELL, uh...

Mary: But uh that's the way...

Loren: And the West... and...

Mary: Yes, yes, it's really... so um...

Loren: Thank you so much... it was great, didn't know you were gonna be here.

Mary: Oh, it was my pleasure, my pleasure! Thank you all, and please EDIT it, and don't make me sound crazy!


Loren: Well I don't promise... Anyway, you're gonna sound great, you look great, you look fabulous!

Mary: You're too kind!

Dr Amos: Well she does look great... for 39.

*All laugh*

Mary: Oh you all!


Mary: Oh Ed, I was 19!

Loren: Jailbait Ed.

Dr Amos: Yeah. *laughs*

Dr Amos: *blows kiss to Tori* We'll see you hun!

Mary: It was, it was... there were alot of married Veterans coming through.

Dr Amos: Every Veteran was looking for a little wife. That's the way it was.

Mary: And I met this Navy boy, and that's the story.

Dr Amos: That's the product, *gesturing to Tori* part of it, One third, we have two others.

Loren: One third. Don't forget the other two.

Mary: So thank you all now! See ya later!

Loren: See you later!

Mary: I don't know what i did with my water?!

*Tori smiles*

Mary: Somewhere I lost my water...

Tori's assistant: Here it is!

Tori: Mother, we can get you a new water, I think we can spring that. See you soon!

Loren: OK, OK, BUBBYE!


*Tori laughs*

Loren: Great! That was great!

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