(AND OTHER TORIPHILE GOODIES)
… From Rimbaud to e.e. cummings and from Pablo Neruda, one of my favourites, to Byron and Shelley, who I just recently discovered. Talking about influences: D.H. Lawrence has been a tremendous influence. Right now I am reading Charlotte Brönte. By not reading the great writers you cut yourself from a lot of visionary ideas. And then there are Dylan and Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro, all visionary poets in my eyes. Kate Bush is one, too ,and the same for Sinéad O’Connor. There are so many, all in their own way. You have to keep fueling yourself. I will never get enough of that. Therefore I don’t mind being compared to them at all. It’s only human to make comparisons, I do it myself. I see it as a huge compliment because I appreciate the work of those people a lot.
--Tori Amos, Oor Magazine - March 7, 1992
Studying the great classical masters was a life-changing experience because I began to look at structures in a different way. ‘The Light Princess’ has been completely and totally rewritten than when it started and it’s become a different project. … I would not have composed in the way I have now for ‘The Light Princess’ if ‘Night of Hunters’ and ‘Gold Dust’ had not been in my life.
--Tori Amos - Reuters, October 25, 2012
My notes might be just one sentence that I’ve picked up from one of the art books, or it could be a two-bar phrase of music. Going to the visual arts more than the sonic arts is core to my process because then you have a clean slate. You’re not listening to anything except through your eyes. Then your ears tell you what you’re really seeing.
--Tori Amos - Sunday Express (UK) July 21, 2013
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could forget about the lyrics? Burn them as far as I’m concerned. Let yourself be influenced by what the music does to you. Listen to your senses. Your feelings. The music tells you all you need to know, because the emotions in the music go beyond words. The lyrics are merely a pointer in the right direction. Every sound, every note contributes to the character of the song and is thus a link in the bigger whole. The miscarriage was only a starting point, the songs subsequently developed into different directions. They are about my perspective of life and about how this life changed after the loss. But the love doesn’t go away … The love doesn’t go away.
--Tori Amos, Oor (Dutch) April 18, 1998
They don’t teach you that tone can create and move people to do things that you could never imagine. There was a group of maybe 20 people who couldn’t stop spasms in wheelchairs in Wales. And this boy I had seen, because I can peek at my audiences before I sing to them. And this poor boy was in such spasms, and I tuned in to him, and I just tried that night to let the music go into his molecular structure. Because, you see, it’s really in there, in the DNA, and inside there the tone shifts. The patterns, the things we’re all scared about. The protection layer. And so I sang, and by the end of the concert he was like this (Tori stands perfectly still). Because tone has that power.
--Tori Amos (Tori’s Course on Creativity) at the University of California at Los Angeles - February 27, 1995
I know how to tap into the muse and I give the muse credit, I don’t take it all myself. I am under no illusions - I do not write all this myself. I co-create with a consciousness and it doesn’t matter if you believe this or not, I know I don’t write it myself. I am lucky enough to own the publishing.
--Tori Amos, Virgin Music - October 2009
You know there’s this huge seduction of, ‘Is this a song that anybody will ever play? Is this song structure…’ I mean, what is a modern song structure? Sometimes you go back to some of the really old structures of the ‘30s and it becomes new again because that form hasn’t been used in a while. A successful songwriting moment for me is when I’m not trying to write something for a demographic, for a format, and yet people have a truly emotional response to it.
--Tori Amos, American Songwriter - May 15 2009
The possible danger is that if the public is naïve enough to think that when you go to a wine tasting you can put the bottle of wine in the bag. If you start doing that the vineyard is going to shut down. There has to be some kind of exchange. If you’re going to take a song, you need go give back - if you value it.
--Tori Amos, Pressetext - 2009
… I choose to focus on what I do and do what I do, because that’s the strongest place to come from. You can’t need anything from the outside world, you can’t need it. As a musician you have to know where you stand with yourself. Once you go through your own kind of checks and balances with those people you have your own kind of benchmarks and think-tanks.
--Tori Amos, The Quietus - September 10. 2009
When you’ve done a lot of records you’re either the type of composer that only likes to compose one kind of music or you’re the type of composer who doesn’t want to be defined by one type of music. I fall in the latter.
--Tori Amos, Rocky Mountain News - November 24, 2007
Some people do not understand the idea of a double album. I’ve been making double albums for a while now because that is just the form that I’m interested in and challenged by. That’s just a structure that I enjoy and I’m impassioned by. People aren’t buying albums, never mind double albums, for the most part. However, I cannot stop creating a certain form.
If you’re a novelist and you write big novels or you’re a visual artist and you do big installations, then to start just giving out the postcard of the picture and if it’s not what you do, then that’s not going to give you your orgasm. You need to come in, take the sonic mescaline, as I call it. It will take you almost anywhere. It will take you almost two hours; but hopefully, you will run the emotional gamut, hopefully have a little good feeling, a little shimmer, a little cry, a little oomph, gets the mojo in your body going, feel some strength, feel some humility — all of those things.
That’s what happens to me when I go to a good art installation, yet I know a lot of people in the industry aren’t encouraging that because people want to buy a tune. But I can’t change my art form.
--Tori Amos, The Advocate - November 2009
As a musician and as a songwriter, you’re going to have to find some way to deal with rejection. Sometimes you can turn it into “God, make my stuff better. Maybe they said something I can use here.” Or maybe they just don’t get it. There are very few visionaries. Most people are looking for what’s already happened. You have to kind of weigh it. You can’t have a craft when you’re completely closed, either. If you love everything you do, something’s wrong, and if you hate everything you do, something’s wrong.
--Tori Amos, Musician - April 1995
It feels like ‘Earthquakes,’ ‘Pink,’ and ‘Pele’ were a trilogy, and now a door has closed. A certain style ended for me. But as long as I honor wherever the music is going, whether or not radio plays it, then I think my audience will still be there. That is the most important thing to me.
--Tori Amos, Billboard - March 29, 1997
I like complex works. They just keep me on a more magical carpet ride. I’m into not leaving the planet, but really traveling. Music can do that if it’s done right. Some records do that for me. I love Queen, Freddie Mercury, these great performers, David Bowie when he was in his Ziggy period.
--Tori Amos, Rocky Mountain News - November 2007
Music is my first language. Whether you like what I do or not, I know what it is that I’m trying to achieve with each work musically. When it comes to creativity I have a lot of will. It’s like the man would be going: “Come on Tori. Let’s take a drive and get to know each other”. Well, I get really shy, because I don’t have the 9-foot piano. And what if he gets to know me and decides he hates me?
--Tori Amos, Time Out - December 20, 1995