sexta-feira, 18 de dezembro de 2009

Tori Amos Performs "Winter" Acoustic Live on SIRIUS XM

"In this clip, Tori Amos does a solo piano performance of her classic Winter (from her 1992 album Little Earthquakes) at the SIRIUS XM studios in NYC. Tori's latest album is Midwinter Graces. Hear the full performance starting 12/24 at Noon ET on SIRIUS XMs channel The Coffee House SIRIUS Ch. 30 and XM Ch. 51. For more broadcast dates and a free trial, go to"

PopWreckoning: "Interview with: Tori Amos"

Posted on 17 December 2009

PopWreckoning’s Dese’Rae Stage got the chance of a lifetime: an interview with the one and only Tori Amos, a longstanding hero. Tori is currently out doing press for her holiday album Midwinter Graces. Faced with a ten minute time limit and the daunting task of playing it cool, Dese’Rae dropped questions on topics ranging from fear, regret, pop music (then and now) and more. Check it, and some photos, out below.

Dese’Rae Stage, PopWreckoning: Hey, Tori.
Tori Amos: Hi there, Dese’Rae. How are you?
PW: Good, how are you?
TA: Very well.
PW: Awesome. Alright, we’ve got such a quick interview, I’ve just got a grab bag of questions here.
TA: Okay.
PW: Okay, so, you’ve got your new album, Midwinter Graces. I wanted to know what your favorite holiday tradition is or what one tradition you’ve created for your family is?
TA: Well, one of my favorites is Christmas dinner, and that’s my mother’s fried chicken: southern fried chicken. PW: Mm, good stuff. TA: Yeah, I’m not a turkey person. Once in a blue moon, y’know, but it’s not my thing usually. So, my mom makes that and my husband’s pretty wicked in the kitchen, so he helps my mother and we have Christmas at our beach house. My folks live about half an hour north, and we meet up with Tash’s cousins. My sister has five kids from 16-24, so we meet up with them usually every year. That’s a tradition we’ve created. Before Christmas, of course.

PW: Does Tash believe in Santa?
TA: Oh yeah.
PW: Really? That surprises me.
TA: Yeah, she does. She also believes in Kali.
[Laughter on both ends]
TA: She has all kinds of beliefs.

PW: I love it. So, I heard that this album doesn’t count toward your contract, and I was wondering what was next?
TA: Oh, um, well, I’m finishing writing this musical, The Light Princess, which is something that I’ve been developing with Samuel Adamson, the playwright, along with the producer Tim Levy, who’s out of New York now. He’s New York based, although he was with the British National Theatre for a long time. And so it’s a mixture of American and British, um, people together.
PW: Which will be nice. It’ll be opening in London, right?
TA: Well, we’ll see where it’s opening. It’ll be workshopped in the spring in London, and after the three week workshop, I think everybody will decide the best place for where it should open.

PW: Okay. I was wondering what your writing process looks like with regards to your music?
TA: Well, I like to write on the road, mainly because you have different sights and sounds and you don’t fall into the same routine that you can when you wake up in the same place day after day, night after night. And you can fall into a routine when you’re doing that, but as a writer, I don’t like to fall into a cliché pattern, so I push myself to travel. Touring is just part of my life, so it all works together that I travel while I’m touring.

PW: Here’s one—I think this is my favorite question—I wanted to know how you combat fear?
TA: Well, you have to confront the issue that’s causing you fear. You know that saying, “If it’s too loud, turn it up?” You have to go into that place of… if you’re being intimidated by an idea or thought, you have to hold your ground and look it right in the eye. And that’s tricky sometimes, because whatever you’re confronting might be more slippery than a—well, I don’t know—and that could just be information, crap your friends are telling you about something. You know, you don’t… sometimes. Fear comes because you don’t know what to believe.
PW: Right.
TA: What you’re facing, what fear you’re facing, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be getting the truth from it. And that’s scary, too.
PW: Definitely.

TA: So when you’re facing a fear, whether it’s in a relationship at work or personal, um, you know, you have to go back to instincts and making sure that they’re razor sharp and a place of neutrality is the most powerful place you can be to confront a fear. You have to be okay that things don’t work out the way you’re fantasizing. PW: Right. Which is also hard.
TA: Which is also hard. But neutral is… when you’re facing a fear, I try and step into a place of neutrality, where everything doesn’t have to end okay. Everything doesn’t end with a hug.

PW: Okay. Um, here is kind of a—taking it back a little bit, but the last I heard, you never got a chance to meet Greg from “Pretty Good Year” and you never heard from him. Is that still the case?
TA: That’s still the case, yeah.
PW: That’s insane.
TA: Mmhmm.

PW: Do you have any quirks that are reserved solely for alone time?
TA: Yeah. Yeah. Yes. [Laughs] That’s okay. That’s why you marry who you marry and that’s why your kid is your kid and hopefully, they enjoy them.

PW: [laughs] Yes. Well, what are you listening to and/or reading right now?
TA: Listening to I keep pretty much to myself.
PW: Oh.
TA: Reading… we were just in Poland, and we got a lot of material on Auschwitz. We went there, and um, it was some pretty harrowing reading, as you can imagine. Just different accounts from all different viewpoints. Um, one thing that I found fascinating was… I went to Churchill’s war room, and I was reading a lot of—I had a few books on that whole time, that he was able to conduct the war, a lot of it, from underground in the war room when they were being bombed. And that his wife was there and she had a place. Underground. And they had a flat above where they were when the bombings weren’t occurring and they could go upstairs. I don’t think they enjoyed it down there, but just to see what they went through at that time. That was from both sides, so seeing how the people in the camps were, what their story was, and then seeing the story of the Allies who were fighting.

PW: That’s really interesting. Hm. I’m kind of interested in how you feel about this new guard of female pop stars who are kind of taking over lately, like Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, and whether or not their fame is valid.
TA: Well, of course their fame is valid. I think Lady Gaga is very entertaining.
PW: Me too.
TA: She’s very entertaining, and we need some entertainment about now. Taylor Swift seems to… she writes her songs, and there’s something to be said for the fact that both of them are musicians as well as performers. And what you might—well, not just you, but what one might think about those songs, whether they think they’re in the league of Lennon or McCartney, that’s a different conversation. But not everybody can be in the league of Lennon and McCartney. That doesn’t mean they’re not entertaining.
PW: True.
TA: But for those that are in the league of Lennon or McCartney, then that’s for you all to highlight as well. That’s not my job. And those who are will be known in ten, fifteen, twenty years’ time. And history will support that. It’s hard sometimes when it’s happening to be able to christen that.

PW: Okay, so I guess my last question is a pretty broad one and I wanted to know if you had any regrets?
TA: I think you always have some regrets. Sometimes they’re little. It’s how you handle certain situations. I go back to that thing, “Be smart, not right.” I find that when I have to be right over being smart, which can achieve the win that you’re wanting to achieve, that you usually look back and wish you were smart instead of needing to be right.
PW: Sage advice. Thank you, Tori.
TA: Lovely to speak with you. Happy holidays to you.
PW: And to you. Thanks so much.

Photos by Dese'Rae Stage from the 12/7/09 recording of the etown radio show at the Grand Ballroom in NYC, which will air on NPR on Christmas Eve.

Fonto: PopWreckoning

sábado, 12 de dezembro de 2009

Spinner: "Tori Amos Will Not Play Lilith Fair 2010"

Posted on Dec 11th 2009 10:45AM by Jessica Robertson

The first round of artists have been confirmed to play Lilith Fair this summer when the all-female music festival returns after a 10-year absence. Among the artists set to perform are Sheryl Crow, Tegan and Sara, Mary J. Blige and founder Sarah McLachlan. But one artist that won't be on the bill is Tori Amos.

"There's so many young artists that want to [play Lilith] and because I'm able to tour on my own, they should have the chance," Amos told Spinner this week when she stopped by our New York City studio. "I usually do my own thing. I like to tell a story, and I'm stronger -- I'm better as a performer -- when you come and decide, 'OK. I'm gonna take some audio mescaline and hang out with Tori. And God knows how I'm gonna get across the galaxy, but I'll get there and she'll make sure I get back.' And it's different thing when you're doing a gig for 15 minutes, or 20."

While Amos also didn't perform as part of the original Lilith, which toured every summer from 1997-99, it's not for lack of support for the festival. "It opens the doors for a lot of women that can't tour on their own," she said. "Sarah [McLachlan] is able to hold that space and she benefits as well. If it is a success, then by holding a space and helping others, the public gets to see these artists and it can be a win-win. It's a brilliant concept. You have to acknowledge that she's a brilliant business woman. There are a lot of guys in the industry that have very successful festivals. And they don't get criticized for it -- they get acknowledged that they're good at business as well as music."

In 1997, McLachlan launched the all-female music festival, which became the top-grossing festival of that year and top-grossing female music festival of all time, featuring artists including Natalie Merchant, the Pretenders, Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow and Missy Elliott, among many others.

Fonte: Spinner

"Livestream On Facebook From Electric Lady Studios", 12/11/2009

Vídeos: marckarlock

Vídeos: favregrl

sexta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2009 "Is Tori Amos pregnant? Photos from her David Letterman arrival"

Far be it for me to rely on Fame Pictures for gossip scoops, but their caption for these photos was “Pregnant Tori Amos Glows In Glitter.” I looked all over the internet, including a number of impassioned Tori Amos fan sites, and I didn’t find confirmation anywhere else. That being said…

Tori Amos is pregnant!

Fame Pictures continues their description of the photos:

A very pregnant Tori Amos makes her way inside to perform this evening on the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ in New York City,New York on December 10, 2009.

Let me correct myself…

Tori Amos is VERY pregnant!


The Late Show with David Letterman - 10 de dezembro, 2009

Vídeo: HoorayForDVRs

Foto: scott mecum

Foto: WireImage

Mais fotos no site FilmMagic. Fonte: @forumz

The Independent: "Album: Tori Amos, Midwinter Graces (Island)"


Reviewed by Andy Gill
Friday, 11 December 2009

Like Thea Gilmore, Tori Amos broadens her approach to Christmas here to include pre-Christian celebrations, though the mood remains comparatively more religious.

It starts well, with the traditional "What Child, Nowell" arranged for piano, harpsichord and strings, and Amos's vocal harmonies picking out the most moving aspects of the melody; and gets better with "Star of Wonder", in which the pointedly Middle-Eastern flavour of the strings and percussion sets one up perfectly for the warm, epiphanic glow of the familiar refrain. But things start to go awry with "Candle: Coventry Carol", which seems too studied and pedestrian, and an arrangement of "Harps of Gold" which appears to be aiming for the jaunty momentum of "Solsbury Hill", but over-punches in the drum department. And it's probably best to draw a discreet veil over the ghastly big-band blues ballad "Pink and Glitter". But overall, the pluses outweigh the minuses, with further highlights coming courtesy of Amos's own "Winter's Carol" and "A Silent Night with You" – the former blessed with stately, hypnotic grace, while the latter's undulating melody evokes the warmth of a reverie triggered by seasonal radio fare. Elsewhere, "Jeanette, Isabella" is accompanied by a delicate snowfall of piano notes, a lovely touch of aural imagery.

Download this What Child, Nowell; Star of Wonder; Jeanette, Isabella; Winter's Carol.

Fonte: @forumz e The Independent.

The Guardian: "Tori Amos: Midwinter Graces"

(Universal Republic)

Caroline Sullivan
The Guardian, Friday 11 December 2009

A sticker on the CD case advises that this is Amos's first "seasonal" album – presumably, the piano-based gothic sprite doesn't make conventional old Christmas albums. Midwinter Graces is surprisingly straightforward, however: some new songs, some traditional carols (adapted by Amos, who has excised some of the Christianity from the lyrics and added words of her own, as on A Silent Night With You) and a minimum of eccentricity. Accordingly, it's her most touching album in years: centre stage is given to her voice and the simple arrangements, which feature harpsichord and flugelhorn (Pink and Glitter, a blaring big-band number with vamped-up vocals, comes as a bit of a shock, albeit a pleasant one). Amos sounds so tranquil she could almost be floating, but the stateliness of the orchestral backing keeps the songs grounded. You'd never know this was recorded last summer, so vividly does it evoke crunching snow and frosty nights.

Fonte: @forumz e The Guardian.

Facebook: "Tori Amos Live on Facebook from Electric Lady Studios"

Tori Amos LIVE performance from Electric Lady Studios in NY on Friday, December 11th at 12pm (PST) / 3pm (EST)

GLOBAL broadcast will be hosted on Tori Amos' Facebook Page

Interview powered by fan questions will follow the live performance.



You can submit questions on the Livestream player tab on Tori's facebook page ( (story feed next to the video player screen)

No - the performance archive may be launched at a later date, but will not be available on Livestream, Facebook, or immediately following the live performance.

Fonte: Facebook

>>ATENÇÃO FÃS BRASILEIROS! O show será transmitido para Brasil ás 18h (horário de Brasília) desta SEXTA-FEIRA. Fiquem ATENTOS!<< "Amos still displaying her ivory powers"

December 11, 2009 6:51 a.m. EST

London, England (CNN) -- Tori Amos has been entertaining audiences for nearly two decades with her blend of insightful and melodic compositions allied to a gutsy and theatrical delivery.

She is one of many musicians who clearly have a special bond with their instrument. This apparently led her to declare once that she preferred her piano to people. Was this true? Asked CNN's Becky Anderson when she spoke to Amos on Connect the World.

"Sometimes," she said before adding "most people, but not all people." Amos is well known for tackling some of the major life themes in her work musing on love, sex and religion, and her new album "Midwinter Graces" finds her in familiar territory. A traditional Christmas album it is not.

"My father wanted me to do this for a long, long time," Amos said. "But I wanted to do something that was more inclusive of different cultures and beliefs." Amos says the album was influenced by the pianist George Winston who she discovered when she was "running around LA in the 1980s." Winston, she said, released albums called "December" and "Winter into Spring" where, "he did a twist on some of the songs we all grew up with." Religion played a central role in Amos's upbringing -- her father was a Methodist minister in North Carolina -- and her idea of a god is still evolving.

"I'm more inspired by the idea of a creator and the native American tradition has really influenced me into opening and expanding the idea of what that is."
Amos has long been a campaigner for women's rights and in 1994 she co-founded the anti sexual assault organization RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network).
"The good news and the bad news," she said, "is that we've had over one million calls and the people there are highly trained and help people across America." Sexual violence is something that Amos has had to contend with herself. She said a British psychologist working at the Cedar Sinai hospital in Los Angeles had "helped me for ten years to work through things."

Happier times arrived for Amos when she became a mother in 2000, when she gave birth to Natashya. It was "the missing piece of the puzzle for me," she said.

Her daughter's birth "literally kicked out any kind of negativity or self-abuse that I was holding onto," she said.


WNYC's Soundcheck

The singer/pianist plays "Star of Wonder" live on WNYC's Soundcheck.

Vídeo: wnycradio

quinta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2009

Daytrotter: Out In The Marshmallow Snow, On Thin Ice

Dec 10, 2009

Words by Sean Moeller // Illustration by Johnnie Cluney // Sound engineering by Mark Hawley

It just so happens that this is the morning of the first snow of the winter season. The overnight hours went to work and produced a light covering of the white stuff that must have shocked the grass blades that were just barely hanging on before going dormant. Just a few hours after daybreak, it's already mostly gone, turned back out of solid form and into the water and evaporative mist it started as. It's an experience like this one - so forgettable and yet so significant in the span of the calendar days and where it's leading us - that Tori Amos uses, not just with her winter-themed new album, "Midwinter Graces," but in her larger body of work, including her 34-song record, "Abnormally Attracted To Sin," which was released earlier in the year. Amos, the legendary pianist and songwriter, has always taken to the "marshmallow snow," and these scenes and feelings that are so easy to associate with involuntary isolation from the elements, sitting down with a pot and mugs of something very warm and just looking out from the warm insides of a house as jittery birds hop around and leave their prints with those of the rabbits, in the impressionable snows that most are avoiding. She doesn't at all loathe the cold temperatures and the blizzards. She's friendly with them, letting them infuse themselves into her fingers, improvising what is going to be struck by her curved digits as they gently depress the keys of her piano for her stark stories of men and women, little boys and little girls, who all seem to have their struggles and their vacant caresses to address over four or five minutes of spooky waltzing. She's a master at using this coldness and hurt and making it feel more like a crackling fire, as if it is the embrace that you've always wanted. They are the chronicles of whispers that flow from such deep recesses of a soul and a mind that just don't know what to do with them. They ache and they flare up when her flutters of piano swell into wildfires that continue to maintain many of the consistencies of surfaces that are unable to be navigated without the greatest of care. "Ophelia," from "Abnormally Attracted To Sin," is a strong, whipping wind of discontent, taking us into the sorry life of a woman who has a secret that needs to be protected. It seems to be about abuse and its unavoidable stain that persists from beyond the grave and throughout all time. When she sings the name, "Ophelia," it sounds like she's saying, "I feel ya," in certain spots in the song and all that this seems to suggest is a feeling of emptiness and undiscovered self-empowerment. It's a cold blast of black ice and treacherous footing, all topped with a dangerous dusting of fluffy snow, giving every inch of the ground the potential to knock someone on their ass and bang a hip bone or crack a rib or two on the hard ground. It's the audio equivalent of getting stuck out in the middle of a pond, where the thickness of the ice is unknown and the only thing that one is able to do is spin their wheels, trying so slowly to move, to get anywhere, but there's no traction. Meanwhile, there are cracks and shifts in the ice below that bellow like shouts and thuds, bringing on the sweats and worry. Ophelia is trapped out on this ice, unable to get away, unable to change anything about her life, though she must. She must have a different life and this is the cold truth that we celebrate Amos for, in all that she does. It's the cold truth, the possibility that a change might not happen for these torn and toiling people who need it the most.


Lady In Blue (download)
- original version appears on Attracted To Sin
"Lady in Blue" is something that playing live has made the song into something really different than how it is on the record. Sometimes when you're performing live songs are very similar and you keep the arrangement the same, but then there are songs that do change quite a bit just because you're playing for people."Lady in Blue" is one of those songs that has really changed from the album to the live performance.

Ophelia (download)
- original version appears on Attracted To Sin
Ireland is a really magical place for me and I happened to be there when this song "Ophelia" came to me. I was walking along the cliffs and it was one of those rainy, misty days, and then I was drawn to look at artwork that happened to be in Cork. "Ophelia" followed me all the way back to the irish house and she just magically appeared.

Pink & Glitter (download)
- original version appears on Midwinter Graces
"Pink and Glitter" was inspired by big band music. At Christmas time I love hearing big bands playing. I thought that there's been so much talk about a baby boy being born at Christmas time and even at a time before Jesus there was talk of a sun god for thousands of years. I thought, well the little girls need a nod. This is a song about a copule who are celebrating not because of the material things of Christmas, but because of the joy they have in their life because of the wonderful gift of this little girl in their life.

A Silent Night With You (download)
- original version appears on Midwinter Graces
"A Silent Night With You" is a love story. I think all of us who get nostalgic at this time and you look back on other times that might have been when things seemed easier or less stressful and so I really wanted to develop a song that had a happy ending. Which isn't something I usually do.

FOnte: Daytrotter e @therealtoriamos.

New York Daily News: "Fans get jumpy for Tori Amos at SPINHouse Live event"

Thursday, December 10th 2009, 4:00 AM

Tori Amos had fans jumping at the SPINHouse Live event on Tuesday night - and it sure wasn't the first time.

"During a show back in the '90s, somebody tried to jump off the balcony and commit suicide," says the songstress (r.), who performed selections from her new Christmas CD, "Midwinter Graces." "Security started rushing in to get him before he could damage himself. They got to him just before he jumped."

And while the singer certainly had sympathy for her troubled fan, she couldn't help being peeved that he had interrupted one of her most popular tunes. Admits Amos: "There was that moment when I thought, 'You've got to be kidding - not during 'Winter'!"

Fonte: New York Daily News

quarta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2009

Artigo: Gothamist - "Tori Amos Plays Spin, Secret Show Tonight"

Photo by Ben Rowland

Before your precious Lady Gaga shoved a fake penis down her spandex or set her first piano on fire, Tori Amos was out there pushing the limits — making conservatives uncomfortable and religious brethren blush (in '96 she told Spin: “I wanted to marry Lucifer. Even though I had a crush on Jesus.").

Last night the songstress performed at the SPINHouse Live series in the mag's office on Broadway and Canal, delivering six songs in front of an intimate crowd — four from her latest release Midwinter Graces. While it would have been nice to hear an oldie (from the '90s... not the '80s), it's hard to be anything but 100% enraptured by the redhead. Here was her setlist: "Ophelia" > "Wednesday" > "A Silent Night With You" > "Star of Wonder" > "Pink and Glitter" > "Snow Angel".

We have some of our short, iPhone-recorded video after the jump, and there should be some higher quality stuff up at Spin sometime today. Tonight Tori is playing a secret show in NYC, which will be taped for the Public Television series "Live from the Artists Den."

Artigo: Popnography - "Tori Amos's Holiday Spin"

Photo: Nicole Horton

Last night invited one hundred lucky guests to their downtown NYC office to catch an intimate performance by Tori Amos. The mini-concert had diehard fans of the singer-songwriter milling about the Spin lobby hoping the stone-faced clipboard-clutching PR gatekeepers would grant them admission to the secret show, but they were out of luck as the room was already filled to the brim with hipsters guzzling New Castles and munching mini-cupcakes and Cheetos before the beloved piano banshee took to the tiny stage.

Amos played a six-song set opening with "Ophelia" from 2009's Abnormally Attracted To Sin (kind of a weird choice to get a party started, but hey, what did I expect? "Who Let The Dogs Out"?) followed by "Wednesday" from 2004's Scarlet's Walk and four songs from her new "seasonal" (read light on the x-mas, heavy on the solstice) album, Midwinter Graces: "A Silent Night With You" (a catchy original new tune with some fairly unforgivable lyrics like "Joy to the world, your arms kept me warm / Night after night, in such a cold world"), "Star of Wonder" ("We Three Kings" given a Middle Eastern make over), "Pink and Glitter" (another original song the concept of which almost feels like "Muhammad My Friend" part two) and another original, "Snow Angel."

The show was short but sweet -- especially because it's rare to see Tori playing in such a tiny venue -- and we were happily dazed in our sugar-salt-booze-music coma as we emptied out of Spin and into the bright winter lights of Canal street.

Fonte: Popnography

Vídeos: eTown Live Radio Show Taping: NYC, NY - Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center

Vídeos: joshejosh

Artigos: - "Tori Amos on her new holiday album Midwinter Graces"

"I wanted a seasonal record for everybody"
Joe Bosso, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 9:11 pm UTC

Tori Amos loves to stun and surprise, and with her newest album, Midwinter Graces, she's thrown another left curve at fans who delight in her idiosyncratic musical stylings.

Although the record is most certainly a holiday offering, Amos, the daughter of a Methodist minister, perfers to call it a 'seasonal' or 'solestice' album. "As you know, I don't like to dwell in the overly familiar," she says. "That just doesn't interest me - and I don't think my audience wants me to give them what they can get elsewhere."

Still, the idea of a holiday record intgrigued Amos, and once she threw herself into the project (recording it in stages while on tour over the summer), she did so with characteristic aplomb, eschewing played-out standards such as White Christmas but putting her own spin on lesser-known traditional numbers like What Child, Nowell and Star Of Wonder. The results make for an enchanting, bewitching and altogether intoxicating listen.

Midwinter Graces isn't merely a covers album however; Amos has written five originals, including the lush love ballad A Silent Night With You, the torchy Pink And Glitter (which finds the artist venturing assuredly into big band territory) and Winter's Carol, the latter song offering listeners a preview of her upcoming musical, The Light Princess.

There's not a saccharine nor shocking moment to be found, and Amos admits this might be one of the record's most starting aspects. "I'm known for pushing people's buttons with my music, and here I'm holding out a nice pillow for them to rest their heads on.

"But that's OK," she adds. "Things are hard these days. People need a little comfort, some hope. If I can do that in even some small way, how can I feel I'm not doing my part as an artist?"

MusicRadar caught up with Amos recently to talk about her new album, her views on holiday songs, her beloved Bosendorfer piano and...her mother.

Download (right-click and Save As...)

You describe Midwinter Graces as not being so much a 'Christmas' album, but more of a 'seasonal' or 'solstice' album.

"That's correct."

What led you to record Midwinter Graces? I understand there were suggestions from both your father and the head of your label, Doug Morris.

"Yes, which is kind of fascinating for me because my father is a Methodist minister and Doug Morris is a liberal Jewish guy. My dad has been after me to do a Christmas record since I was two years old.

"After I did South By Southwest [in March of this year], Doug said to me, 'Look, I've always wanted to know what you would do [on an album like this], because a lot of us are excluded. In the carols, particularly in stanzas three, four and five, usually the Christology kicks in and you're already involved in the Crucifixion before you finish the song.' He said, 'I just want to celebrate the rebirth of light. Why can't some of these carols be more inclusive instead of exclusive if you don't buy the whole thing hook, line and sinker?'"

"He was on to something, but what he didn't know that I knew was that a lot of the carols were not Christian - they came from sea shanties or were pop songs of the day.

"Imagine in 300, 400 years from now, people are singing the song Billie Jean, but instead of [sings] 'The kid is not my son' they sang 'And Mary had a son.' So you start to thinking, Where do these songs come from? And how can we bring them to a 21st Century place without offending people like my mother, who loves the carols?"

Apparently, everyone's been after you to make this record your whole life. What was the deciding factor for you to finally do it?

"I like a challenge. So when Doug said, 'Tori, you can't offend your mother, but I want to like it, too.' And I'm thinking, Geez…what a thin ice patch I have to walk on. And yet, I wanted to make something that was part of tradition and variations on a theme.

"It's an old baroque tradition; it's part of the classical world that's been going on for hundreds of years, and that's what the people who did variations on the carols we sing today did. So, really, I'm just part of that tradition in the 21st Century."

You have a mix of traditional songs and some originals on the album. Tell me about one of the songs you wrote, A Silent Night With You, which is a love song.

"It is a love song. Doug really encouraged me to do this. He talked to me a lot about feelings he had when he would listen to the carols, and he said that sometimes they wouldn't bring him to a religious place; they'd bring him to a nostalgic place. We talked about this particular idea, and I went away thinking, My mother is going to lose her mind if I do anything to Silent Night!" [laughs]

Your mother looms very large on this album!

"My mother is very close to my heart. If you met her, she would sit you down with some fried chicken and she'd become your mother. She's everybody's mother. Anytime people meet Mary, they want her to adopt them. So, as you can imagine, you don't want to hurt Mary. But at the same time, she loves this song. She adores it."

"It took me time, though…I went off to Florida in the heat and the 100 degrees, and I started to think, OK, I'm a person who is married and is in a great relationship. But sometimes we don't appreciate what we have. And at Christmas or 'the season,' it's a time when we start looking back. I wanted to write a song where, believe it or not, the two people both value what they have.

"Also, in this time, people have had to rethink what's important. Material things aren't as easily gotten as they might have been five years ago."

Time are harder, yes.

"Times are harder. So you start thinking, Well, where is my gold? And the gold in this song is in each other, in their relationship."

You add quite a Middle Eastern vibe to the song Star Of Wonder.

"When I was a little girl and would hear the song We Three Things in the Methodist church - and you know, we love the Methodists, and they teetotal…[laughs]…and they didn't swing their hips too much. But If you go to the black Methodist churches, they are rocking! And I always thought to myself, Where are the Persians? Because in this song, I don't hear them, feel them - and we should."

"So, when I started gathering songs that I wanted to do and rework, I thought, We need a little Led Zeppelin on Star Of Wonder."

[laughs] You were thinking, What would John Paul Jones do?

"That's what I was thinking."

Tell me about the song Holly, Ivy and Rose, on which your own daughter, Natashya, sings - and quite beautifully, I must say. How old is she?

"She just turned nine in September, so she was eight when we recorded this."

How did it come about that she sang on the track? Also, does she want to follow in her mother's footsteps?

"She wants to be in theater. She loves story - and I think acting and singing are both part of telling stories for her.

"It all began because my niece, Kelsey Dobyns, who is 17, sings on Candle: Coventry Carol, and I think Tash was fascinated with that process. She had come up with the idea to do a bit of a bawdy song, and I said, 'No, I don't think that's appropriate.' [laughs] So she said, 'Will you come up with something that is appropriate, Mummy?' And I said, 'Yeah, let me work on it.'"

There's another song on the album, A Winter's Carol, which I read is a bit of a preview of another work you're going to be doing…

"This is a song from The Light Princess that I wrote for the musical, which will be sung by the whole cast. I did a version that's kind of 'Tori-fied.' I was thrilled that the Children's Choir in New York, P.S. 122, did a version of it.

"I was in tears when I saw the children singing it because I thought, That's right - it's supposed to be a choral arrangement. And children will be singing it in The Light Princess. It just worked out. It was as if the director of the Children's Choir knew what it should be."

One of the hallmarks of this album is your piano sound. You play a Bosendorfer, which is, by now, one of your trademarks.

[dreamily] "I love them. They're my lady friends."

What do you love about them in particular?

"Um…you can affairs with them and not end up on the front pages of the newspaper! [laughs] And you can have affairs with as many of them as you want and they won't rat you out. And you can still remain monogamous with your husband, which is fantastic. So it really works.

"They're sexy, they're alive, they're my best friends. I don't know how to explain it - they're real creatures to me. I crawl up under them sometimes when I'm lonely. And if I'm having a bad day, I just go lie on her. She plays me when I'm in live performance. It's not as if I play the piano; the piano plays you - if you allow it.

"You have to surrender to it. And obviously, you have to have the chops so that you can have the facility in your fingers. But really, it's a spiritual relationship with the essence of the piano itself."

Your regular drummer, Matt Chamberlain, plays on the album. He's quite an elastic drummer who can handle many styles, but what was it like for him to tackle some of these traditional holiday music?

"The key was getting the right instruments. We got in things like concert bass drums, concert bells in two octaves, tubular bells - all kinds of percussive things so Matt had to correct palette to work from. That was the key: finding him the right ingredients and taking him off the kit pretty much. But the bed was made from classical percussion, and that's why it worked."

Well, it's a wonderful album, Tori, and quite a nice surprise.

"That mean a lot. What I so happy about is that I'm still friends with Doug and my mom. [laughs] And my dad, too. He said, 'Look, you've just done what the Christian musicians such as Charles Wesley, John Wesley's brother, have done. He took music from other sources and added his Christology to it, and what you've done is taken that yet again and brought in more of a modern 21st Century perspective of a woman who believes in equal rights for all people.

"A lot of the carols, as you know, were written at a time when women weren't working, they didn't have a lot of rights, the suffragettes hadn't happened yet - it's important to realize the context from where they came from. We're in a world now that believes in equality. In some ways, when these were written, I think that things were worse for women than when Queen Elizabeth I was in power."

So I guess that's why you didn't include Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer on the album.

[laughs] "Ohhhh, that's a thought!"

What would your mother have thought of that song?

"That would make her laugh, I think."

Fonte: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Artigo: New York Press - "Tori Amos at the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center"

Posted By: Editors

Tori Amos took to the stage at the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center last night for a taping of a special Christmas broadcast for the etown variety show. The pagan songstress played seven songs solo on a blue and silver Bosendorfer piano—the song selections reflected the season and featured three songs off of her newly released holiday album Midwinter Graces. She also gave a witty and thought provoking interview mid-set with one of the evening’s hosts, Nick Forester.

She started the set with “Lady In Blue,” a mellow jazzy song off of her album Abnormally Attracted to Sin which was released earlier this year, and moved into “Star Of Wonder,” a reworked version of the Christmas carol “We Three Kings.”

During the interview segment, Tori explained that on Midwinter Graces she wanted take out the guilt, repression and shame that go along with Christianity and focus on the joy of the “rebirth of light”—a more accurate sentiment of what Christmas used to mean hundreds of years ago. Though she claims “shocking the Christians” is one of her favorite pastimes, she wanted to make a holiday album that wouldn’t hurt her mother’s feelings but also stay true to her beliefs. Adding, while doing research for this album, she found that some of the traditional English Christmas songs we’ve come to love were stolen from drinking songs.

Tori paired her classic song about repression “Silent All These Years” with a “Silent Night With You” an original piece echoing “Silent Night.” She finished off the set with “Gold Dust” from Scarlet’s Walk, “Pink and Glitter” a holiday song reminiscent of 1930s big band and “Winter” off of the 1992 album Little Earthquakes.

The show will air on Christmas Eve and Christmas night on WFUV 90.7 and the podcast will be posted on the etown website that week at

Fonte: New York Press

Artigo: Spin - "Tori Amos Celebrates the Season at SPIN Office"

By John S.W. MacDonald on December 9, 2009 11:49 AM

It was a sight to behold. Just a couple months ago, Tori Amos could be found playing packed houses at Radio City Music Hall, and wowing audiences in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Rome. And yet here she was in front of a piano at SPIN's offices in Lower Manhattan playing to no more than 100 people, her legs, as always, straddling the piano bench -- a cowgirl in high heels.

Fresh off her multi-continent, five-month Sinful Attraction Tour (Amos, like Madonna, is one of just a few artists who's allowed to name her own tours), her gig last night at SPIN's Newcastle-sponsored SPINhouse Live series was, to say the least, a change of pace. But then again so is Tori's latest record.

Released last month, Midwinter Graces is being described is Tori's first "seasonal" album, which, in Amos' agile hands, means part Christmas homily, part pagan ritual. Along with her take on traditional holiday fare ("What Child, Nowell," "Emmanuel") are tunes about glitter and snow angels.

Amos, in other words, is still very much her wild, willful self, Christmas album or no. And she reminded everyone attending her performance last night just how powerful that can be. With her perm-straight orange hair, six-inch heels, and electric red dress falling elegantly off her shoulder, Amos was the brightest light in the room. Only her music shone brighter.

"Wednesday," pulled from her 2002 album Scarlet's Walk, had a jaunty melancholy reminiscent of early Beatles. On "Silent Night With You," one of the evening's four Midwinter tunes, Amos's supple voice transformed an ancient hymn into a radio-ready love song. And with her nimble fingers, Amos gave "Star of Wonder" a stately, swooning grace -- a far cry from the Middle Eastern flare of the song's Midwinter version.

All of which is to say that while Amos may make her living playing 3,500 seat theaters, her music is made for intimate "venues" like SPIN's. It's here that her famously animated performances can really make a difference. Every time she stomped her heel or swung her head back last night -- which was often -- Amos' hair got stuck in her metallic lip-gloss. Her movements were violent and precise. She rode that piano as much as she played it.

While Tori only delivered six songs during her short set, she did manage to leave her audience with a holiday message all her own. On Midwinter's "Pink and Glitter" -- a big band vamp she wrote to "celebrate the birth of little girls" while everyone else celebrates the birth of a little boy -- she sang, or rather cooed: "Shower the world with pink, if you please!" Christmas would look plenty different if Amos were in charge -- and that wouldn't be a bad thing.

Tori Amos' SPINhouse Live Setlist:
"Silent Night With You"
"Star of Wonder"
"Pink and Glitter"
"Snow Angel"

Fonte: Spin

+ fotos: SPINhouse

Fotos: Kathryn Yu and Ben Rowland.

Fotos: hightea

Fotos e vídeos do show no SPINhouse (08/12)

type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="" quality="high" allowscriptaccess="always" allowNetworking="all" allowfullscreen="true" wmode="transparent" height="344" width="425"
Foto/Vídeo: @rbrockington (foto/vídeo)

type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="" quality="high" allowscriptaccess="always" allowNetworking="all" allowfullscreen="true" wmode="transparent" height="344" width="425"
Vídeo: @flatbushctylmts

terça-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2009

Foto: "Tori Amos set list at SPINhouse Live"

Foto: Kathryn Yu

Artigo: The House List - "Our Town Welcomes eTown"

eTown Taping - Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom - December 7, 2009

The Colorado-based radio variety show eTown, airing on more than 270 radio stations worldwide, took up temporary residence at the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom last night, inviting guests Tori Amos and Loudon Wainwright III (filling in for Jesse Winchester, who had fallen ill) to share songs and answer questions before a live audience. For all the podcasts and Internet radio streams to be found these days, live tapings of this scale are a rarity in these parts. So the eTown taping was a bit unfamiliar, exciting and intriguingly retro.

Hosts Nick and Helen Forster introduced the program and their backing band, the eTones. Since it will air during the week of Christmas, the show had a distinct holiday theme. Fittingly, Amos’s recent release, Midwinter Graces, is comprised of original holiday songs and interpretations of traditional ones. After opening with “Lady in Blue,” she performed “Star of Wonder,” a recontextualized version of “We Three Kings.” In the following interview, Amos explained that she aimed to “expand the ideology” of religion through these songs. As per usual, the audience’s response to Amos was adoring. (When Wainwright took the stage to a significantly subdued greeting, he good-naturedly joked, “Why aren’t you screaming for me?”).

Although the eTown taping wasn’t far removed from a traditional concert, the old-fashioned charm of knowing that the proceedings were soon to be broadcast on radio was tangible nonetheless. When the show airs, those who were there will know that Amos and Wainwright playfully saluted each other as they collaborated with the eTown musicians for the finale. We’ll understand that Amos played a slightly extended intro to “Silent All These Years” while waiting for a malfunctioning monitor to be adjusted. And when we hear a random burst of applause in the middle of a lyric, we’ll remember that it was our response to Amos making a theatrical, sexy gesture. And you sure can’t send that over radio waves. — Alena Kastin

Fonte: Undented (via Twitter) e The House List.

Artigo: Keyboard Magazine - "Tori Amos: Roots and Reinvention on Midwinter Graces"

Michael Gallant, Dec 01, 2009

The winter months are well upon us, and we all know what that means — candy canes, wrapping paper, department store sales, Santa hats, and enough sugary holiday music to give the entire Salvation Army diabetes. Thank goodness, then, for alternative piano goddess Tori Amos’ stunningly deep Midwinter Graces, one of the most compelling and thoroughly un-cheesy holiday albums to come along in years.

While you may have heard year-end classics like “Star of Wonder” and “Emmanuel” before, Midwinter Graces is something new. Tori propels her tracks with Wurlitzer and harpsichord, as well as her signature, classically-tinged piano work; backed by longtime bandmates Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Mac Aladdin on guitars, the results are ephemeral and uplifting, sultry but innocent — reverent, but rocking. Throw in perfectly crafted orchestral arrangements by John Philip Shenale, and you have a holiday blessing indeed.

Just as important as the sonic textures Tori produces are the unexpected compositional resurrections she performs on the album. Far from the shopping mall versions many of us know and love (or love to hate), Tori’s interpretations of holiday classics grew from copious research into the songs’ folk roots. Mixed with choice original tunes, the reinvented songs comprise an album as deft and unique as the piano woman herself.

What inspired you to record a seasonal album?

[Universal Music Group CEO] Doug Morris has always been my mentor. I knew him from the mid-’80s when he was chairman of Atlantic Records and broke Little Earthquakes worldwide. He’s always gotten what I did and he likes it when I push things. He put it out there to me early this year and said, “I’d like to know what your take would be on some of these songs. I have loads of seasonal records that we put out. I’d just like to see how you would make it your own. You’ve grown up with this stuff.”

We talked about it being beautiful and ephemeral. And I started to talk about the fact that our ancestors have been celebrating the rebirth of light long before Christianity got in on the act.

How did you approach making these songs your own — “Star of Wonder,” for example?

I’ve been curious my whole life about the story of the wise men and Persian mysticism. I always thought, “I don’t hear anything of their culture in arrangements of ‘We Three Kings.’ So I began to think to myself, “Alright then, in my story, you’re going to know that you’re coming across the desert, and you’re going to get a sense of these men and their culture.” That’s the thing — growing up as a minister’s daughter, sometimes I would just think a lot of what I was hearing was really where these people were during their own times. So I wanted to bring back some of the roots that I think the stories are talking about. For “Star of Wonder,” think Led Zeppelin, of course.

That’s always a good place to start.

I love the work that they did with their Arabic string arrangements. So I played for John Philip Shenale, talked him through my vision, and he really got it. I tracked it with the guys first — Matt and Jon — and they got a sense of the rhythm. We laid down the rhythm track first with the Wurlitzer, and that gave it that early Zeppelin sound. Then we brought in everything that you could possibly imagine percussion-wise for Matt to play, from tympanis to concert bass drums, two octaves of concert bells, along with his kit and all the other ethnic percussion. Matt had a huge palette to work with, which was exciting.

So “Star of Wonder” has that flavor — you’ll recognize the carol in the chorus. But it has beautiful dancing girls now. In my seasonal world, I think beautiful dancing girls celebrating the rebirth of light — in the Christian story, the poetry for that is the birth of a baby boy. But the rebirth of light that happens every year has been celebrated by our ancestors for thousands of years and I wanted to capture that.

It makes sense why it’s called a “seasonal album,” rather than a “Christmas album.”

Being brought up as a minister’s daughter, this stuff gets hammered into you. It’s part of a language of growing up. You just know hymns, no different than if you grow up in a family where both parents are chefs. You’re exposed to certain things — a palette.

Doug talked to me about the idea that so many records are made just upholding arrangements that get passed down. But where do these songs come from? I was driven to think, “Well, wait a minute. If I’m going to do this then I’m part of a tradition and that tradition is variations on the theme.” For example, in Britain, “Away in a Manger” is a completely different melody than the “Away in a Manger” that we grew up singing. The reason for some of this is because as denominations were spreading across the Atlantic — Methodism and all kinds of things — churches would want to have their own tunes, to separate themselves from other denominations. You’ve got to work pretty fast to start pulling together carols and hymns if you don’t have great composers at your beck and call, and familiarity also plays a part. So they would sometimes use words that people knew and then put tunes from other sources. For instance, “What Child Is This” is from “Greensleeves.” Can you imagine writing a religious tune to “Billie Jean”? “Jesus is the Son,” instead of “the kid is not my son.” So the Brits didn’t embrace “What Child Is This” because “Greensleeves” has been a folk song for them for hundreds of years. It was sort of bastardized in their minds by this hijacking.

I use hijacking intentionally because there’s a tradition of songs coming from different sources. Sea shanties — a lot of early hymns come from folk songs. The words would change, and maybe a little bit of the melody, to make it a religious song, because it was a hit and people could sing it. That really fascinated me.

So did you go for true recreations of the original folk tunes?

I can’t see what it was in the 1400s but what I can do is make something that has an energy that’s a nod to its roots in spirit, and yet comes from our perspective now. So I changed some words because they were changing words in the 1800s, and we have a very different viewpoint. So I’m part of that tradition.

It sounds like you did a tremendous amount of research for this project.

I did. But if I’m honest with you, I did a lot of research not even knowing I was doing it — just growing up as a preacher’s daughter and trying to understand my household. Religion is the center of my parents’ lives. There was a burning need my whole life to understand what was happening in other cultures that I hadn’t been taught, because it wasn’t in the Bible. So yes, I was driven to find out what was going on in Ireland before Christianity — their mythology, the mythology in Britain before the Romans came, the mythology in Rome. It was fascinating to see that there were other “gods” that had been born on December 25th before Christianity that were celebrated.

I looked at Doug at one point and said, “Look, I’ve got my mom, and all this music is so sacred to her.” Doug looked at me and said, “Yeah, okay, so you’re walking a very thin line. I want less of ‘Born is the King of Israel’ — too much of that and I’m going to go crazy, and your mom doesn’t want you to be shocking, so you have to please both of us.” And I said, “That’s a really tall order.” And it is. But what I will say is a lot of my classical training came in. This is not a pop record. This is more a classical work. Even though it’s contemporary music, I approached it more as a kind of classical study.

What does that mean in terms of your piano playing?

I think it’s about structure. I would look at portions of a carol and think, “Wow, this is the magic. Now I need to design around this.” So if you think about it like an architect — they’re trying to do this in Bologna, Italy. Bologna’s an old, old city and yet they need to add more buildings. It’s been really tricky trying to find the architect that can merge the ancient and the new, and what that design would be. That’s what I had to do, to work as a musical architect. The classical study that I did for so long, when you’re forced to study compositions and the different movements and why they work, helped.

[Studying classical] gives you tools that you don’t necessarily get to use all the time when you’re in the pop medium. But when you’re dealing with something like this and you’re treading on very thin ice and sacred ground in some ways, to know that variations on a theme is just part of the classical world [is important], and I enjoy working and composing variations around a theme. You just have to make sure that your variations are as good as the old ones, and you have to know when you don’t have it and when you do. I began to see the reactions from the musicians when they were excited. There were also songs that just didn’t work.

In our last interview [Keyboard, February ’08], you spoke about the different hats you wear in the music creation process. It sounds like what you’re talking about now is more the Tori-the-producer role.

Yes, and also Tori the composer. This was really more than an entertainer and singersongwriter project. You really have to walk in and have your chops up to speed as a writer and as a player. Everybody I worked with was really surprised, and all they said was, “We had no idea that this is what it would be.” I said, “Well, what did you think it was going to be?” They said, “Well, we didn’t know, but not this. This is different.” Some of them just thought that they were going to walk in and do what they knew in their heads as a Christmas seasonal record. But they were in there doing all kinds of different rhythms and textures.

This is not a shocking album. In fact, the shocking thing about this record is that there’s nothing shocking on it. I don’t have that hidden track called, “She’s A Hussy, Merry Christmas.” At the start, Doug said to me, “Tori, you’ve proven yourself. You’ve shocked us enough for many lifetimes, so can you just do something beautiful and ephemeral?” And I said, “Yeah, I can do that.”

What was the dynamic like working with a full orchestra on this record?

I really trust Philly — John Philip Shenale — as an arranger. He’s great, and he understands the songs that I’ve written. We spent a lot of time talking, he sent the arrangements in, and we went through it all. By the time we did the string date or the brass date, I knew every part of the arrangement — if something wasn’t quite right, we changed it. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any surprises on the string date.

Years ago I worked with a string arranger who wouldn’t let anybody hear his arrangements before recording. This was when I was just a bit naïve, he was well known, and I let somebody at the record company talk me into it. Well, the day we were recording, honestly, hand on my heart, I said, “Oh dear, we must have the wrong song up because there’s no way this could be right.” I thought I was listening to a train wreck, and there were four songs like this. It was the most painful day of my life. At the end of the day, I looked at everybody and I said, “Okay, we’re going to have one drink and then we’re coming back and I’m erasing the whole f***ing thing.” They said, “You are not. It’s a 70-piece orchestra.” I said, “I am too. I’m the producer and the artist. I know the budget. I’m the one that has to be accountable and this could destroy somebody called Tori’s career. That is not going to happen.” I knew that so much money was involved that the record company might try to make me keep it. So I erased it and I learned.

Therefore, I never work with anybody who can’t show their arrangements before a string date. John Philip Shenale and I have a great relationship, so that’s why that works.

Judging by where you are today, it was the right choice.

Yes. But you don’t have hindsight in the moment. You have to trust your musicality, and I was just sick. My heart was breaking. I said to myself, “Okay, this is an expensive lesson, but we’re never going to do this again.” You don’t work with musicians who can’t share with you where they think something should go.

When you talked about brushing up your chops for this album, did that manifest in going back and studying counterpoint and running scales?

I had to play a lot. I did play the harpsichord on a couple songs, more as a background instrument with the piano. But that meant that my fingering had to be really tight. I would work on what I knew I was going to have to play so that my fingering was confident and so that my fingers would get to know the landscape of this new structure. The piano is very central on this record, more so than in many years.

Midwinter Keys, Shifting Registers

“Bösendorfer came down and gave the recording piano this gorgeous makeover,” says Tori. “Which was important because you hear the piano a lot on this work, and she shines.” The company-lent piano was recorded at Martian Engineering in Cornwall.

While tracking with the piano and her harpsichord, Tori employed a signature keyboard technique. “Sometimes one hand plays on one register and the other on another register, and then that might swap in the ‘B’ section of a song to other keyboards,” she describes. “So you might play Rhodes with the left hand and use the right hand on a different instrument. Then you’d pick that left hand up and play the higher register on the piano, so you’re playing possibly a bass configuration with your left hand but on the higher notes. Then your right plays in the mids, maybe around the middle C area. You would never play the same way with your left hand as with your right, so to put it in that higher register, already you’re creating new possibilities of tone and rhythm, and the marriage is a unique one. It’s a wonderful hybrid creature,” she continues. “I use this technique on every record now. In ‘Star of Wonder’ there’s some of that going on.”

Fonte: Undented (via Twitter) e Keyboard Magazine.

Artigo: Bizarre Magazine - "Tori Amos Christmas Midwinter Trent Reznor Neil Gaiman Musical Light"

Tori Amos
We speak to piano-pounder Tori about her unlikely Christmas album, Trent Reznor, Neil Gaiman, and her forthcoming musical.

By Eleanor Goodman
December 2009

You have a Christmas album coming out, Midwinter Graces. I know you were asked to consider the project by Doug Morris, the CEO of Universal Music. What made you take it on?

Doug broke Little Earthquakes worldwide, he’d had signed me, and I’ve known him a long, long time, so you could say he’s my mentor. He turned 70 recently and he said to me in March when I was visiting him in New York, “Look, I’m 70, I’ve always wanted to know what you would do with a seasonal album. You’re a minister’s daughter so you grew up with this stuff, but you’re also a feminist.” A lot of this music was written when things were really puritanical and women didn’t have any rights, and so there isn’t a lot of embracing of the feminine except with the Virgin Mary, if that makes any sense. Because he and I were talking about music that goes back, a more pagan style of music where there seems to be a place where goddesses were honoured if you go back into antiquity. And he said, “I’d really like to see you have a perspective on the carols and write some of your own.

And so that was how it all started off. And I said, ‘When do you want this?” And he said, “Oh, it needs to come out this year.” So that was quite a tall order, just because we ended up doing basic tracks at Martian which is my husband’s studio in England, and then we started realising that we needed to record on days off all through the States, and we would record almost every day we got off in America, and then came back to mix it in England at Martian.

What’s your most vivid memory of Christmas, from when you were growing up?

There are so many. My father would always give so many services around the advent season, so my whole life until I was 21 years old, I went to church a lot. I’ve gone to church enough for everyone in Britain – I really have! When I was a teenager I directed the children’s choir when I was 15, and that was in a church in Rockville, Maryland, at the United Methodist Church Of Rockville, and I would teach in red leather pants. But you know, it was the late 1970s. And you know, I’d always be so proud of them when they’d sing their hearts out, and I would always try and bring them interesting music.

So yes, I’ve grown up on the Methodist versions of the carols. I don’t know if you know this but in England, your carols are very different to some of the ones in America, and that’s because different denominations would change from the Church Of England, from what you all grow up with. Our ‘Away In A Manger’ isn’t like your ‘Away In A Manger’, so they changed it to make it in order to make it their own. And Doug was really saying to me, “Change it again!” And I said, “Well why do you want me to change it?” And this is something I forgot to tell you, and it’s really important, he said, “I think sometimes these songs exclude a lot of people, because there’s just too much King Of Israel and Virgin stuff for me.” And I said, “That’s part of the story.” And he said, “That’s only one story. Our ancestors have been celebrating this time of year for thousands and thousands of years, and he said, “You know, you’re right.” So it’s about the rebirth of light.

And as you know, some cultures had the sun deities before Jesus, and the Christian fathers did not choose to appropriate this to Jesus until 200 and something AD. The important point here is that any “religion” has to have a sun deity. It must be done, whether it’s Mithras, Adonis... the ancient Persians had Mithras you see, Zeus was born at Midwinter, so each kind of ideology had to have a sun deity. What we get a lot of times is only the Christian sun deity. The one thing that Doug was fascinated with, he said: “Look, I know you can bring the multicultural thing.” Because my ideology is much more expansive than Christianity. I’m not a “practising” Christian; I practise more of a spirituality if that makes sense. But he said, at the same time you can’t upset your mother, and so that was the key. Because I’m a minister’s daughter I know the theology really well, so I was trying on one hand to open it up to other people who aren’t overly religious, and yet not have my mother upset, who is very religious.

What’s your favourite moment on the album?

I think the big band is my favourite moment because I’ve never done a big band track before on one of my records, I’ve done it for film before but I haven’t done it with my own compositions. I wanted to write something in a style that would work. When all the brass players came up to me and said, “This tune is perfect for us as a section, and you wrote it in the styles as it should have been written.” I felt that that was my goal, and it was a magical moment.

‘Pink And Glitter’ is amazing, it sounds so big!

Thank you! I have to tell you, we had a blast doing that. All of a sudden you’re back in the 1940s in your mind, and you start thinking, “Oh I want to put on a gown, and look like Veronica Lake!”

Will you put on a gown when you play it live?

Are you kidding? Yes! I’ll be doing promo in the States for it, and do you know Bernard Chandran? He’s a designer; he’s shown in London Fashion Week quite a few times, he’s making a gown for me to wear when I play that song. I’m very excited. I think the idea was to bring something really beautiful to people, at a time when we’ve had a couple of hard years as a world, and to have something that’s beautiful and joyous and not based on commercial things. I think the song, Pink And Glitter; our joy isn’t about a present or a grown-up motor toy. The idea that this little girl that’s come into their life has brought them so much joy. I wrote it about my daughter, who's just turned nine.

So Christmas is still very much magical for her.

Yes, and so is pink! Everything is pink!

What has she asked for this year for Christmas?

You won’t believe it if I tell you. She wants a mannequin, like a proper mannequin you’d see in a store, full-size, so she can dress them and play fashion! But they’re very expensive! I checked it out, and they’re really expensive! Like 0 in America. And I’m thinking, “Yeah right!” Next she’s going to ask me to feed it and get it a credit card and everything! I’m thinking, there’s no way, I don’t want another boarder! I just told her, “Talk to your dad.”

The final track, ‘Our New Year’ sounds quite uncertain. What was your intention with it?

I think at this time of year you think of people that might not be in your life anymore or who’ve left the planet. I get really nostalgic at Christmas, I don’t know about you, but I do, and memories of other times with other people who you might not have heard from in a long time can cross your mind.

Did you have anyone in particular in mind when you were writing it?

I did... but we’ll leave it there.

Is there any one message you wanted to get across on Midwinter Graces?

Yes. That this time of year if you’re in our hemisphere is about the re-birth of light. But light means knowledge, light means consciousness. Everybody can attain that and have that in their life. Consider the idea that it’s inner God. It’s in every child that’s born; every child carries this ability within them. And I like that sentiment.

You and Neil Gaiman have referenced each other in your work. Are you still friends?

Oh yeah, he’s like my little brother.

When did you last see him?

He flew into Toronto when I was on my way to Montreal to tour this past summer. He flew in and came to a show, and we hung out for a couple of hours before the show and had a nice little visit.

What do you usually do when you get together?


What do you talk about?

Oh God. Well we... you know. When you’re really good friends, you obviously know everything about... for 18 years, you know each others’ worlds, people and each others’ lives, and things that a lot of other people don’t know. So it’s an opportunity to confide about what’s going on, what happened with certain situations, and certain people that might not be in your life anymore. It’s also a good sounding-board when you have a good friend, and there’s trust there, because we both know that you could never drag... no-one’s going to... I’ll be taking some of that stuff to the grave, and he will too. That’s just what good friends do – you don’t talk out of school.

Will you work with him, or write with references to him in the future?

I’ll write with references to him. I think the worry about working together – he’s less worried than I am – he thinks we should do something together and maybe he’s right, but the worry I have is we’re such good friends, I don’t want anything to affect that.

I know you used to have a very good friendship with Trent Reznor, didn’t you?

Yes, but that was, I think, you know, sometimes you grow apart just because of touring. And nothing happened there that stopped the friendship, it’s just that he kept touring and I kept touring. I became a mom, and your life changes. We didn’t fall out because we worked together or anything like that. Neil and I have a really close relationship, like brother and sister, you know.

Neil’s going out with Amanda Palmer. In one of her blog posts she said she follows your work closely and agrees with you that women should stick together. Have you met her? Are you friends?

I’ve met her. And she’s lovely. I think because they’re together now... I’ll see more of her. But it’s one of those things where... you know when one of your good friends starts dating somebody of course you get to know them as well. But I’ve met her one time. And she was very sweet. And I was making sure that she was really falling for him. You know, I was being protective. But she’s a wonderful gal. And they’re really sweet together – you can just tell! It’s magical. When you see one of your dearest friends falling for somebody, you just want to make sure that the other person’s falling back.

You’ve covered Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’. Would you ever cover Kate Bush again, or work with her?

I think she’s such an amazing talent. I’d be open to something like that, but it’s hard to know where people are in their lives. Sometimes once people have children they get in a different space in their lives, but for me, from my point of view, it’d be a privilege to work with somebody like that.

Have you ever approached her before about working together?

No... I’m shy in that way. Usually things that happen, happen because you run into each other somehow, somewhere, or somebody gets a message through to me, usually an agent, that kind of thing. I’m not usually the type of person... I don’t usually do that. Don’t ask me why, I’m a recluse and pretty shy, except when I’m touring, but I’m not the type of person to go up and say, “Do you want to do something.” It’s just not my way. So when I’ve worked with Victor Krauss, and the things I’ve done, they approached me, for the most part. If I’m developing a project I’ll approach somebody on it. So while we were developing the musical, for example, we approached different people and finally felt that the National Theatre really understood what it needed to be. So in that kind of context I can approach, because it’s not a human being, it’s not personal. But when you’re approaching a person... Neil Gaiman called me all those years ago. I don’t want to intrude on somebody’s space.

You’re working with playwright Samuel Adamson on a musical based on George MacDonald’s 19th century fairytale The Light Princess. When will it be finished?

It’s in its second draft, and we’re busy working away in-between. I’m going to Australia for the next leg of the tour, and then I start promoting Midwinter Graces in the States after that. And we hope to turn in our draft early in 2010. And then we’ll see... it has to of course go to workshop and take its next step. And you know, the truth is, you know when you’re developing something that at any point people might turn around and say, “Well, this is not quite right for us.” There is that potential and you know this at every stage you get to. I was told that more musicals don’t make it to the stage than any other form of art. And I’ll leave you with this thought – this is a musical from scratch. You know how the Green Day musical’s just come out? That’s based on their work. This is a composition from the ground up. So it’s a very different kind of thing. Westside Story is my benchmark, and Cabaret. They’re my favourite, with all the dancing, and the big orchestra. Listen, let’s make a deal, if it gets that far, if it gets to the stage, you’ll have to come and I’ll do an interview, and it’ll be fun.

You were voted most likely to succeed in school. Do you think you’ve succeeded?

There are days that I think I have, and then I find a new challenge, and then I need to succeed at that. So I’m always setting new goals for myself, and that’s really important to do that. So once you achieve certain goals, you set new goals for yourself. And in that way, you don’t stop creating. You continually create.

Midwinter Graces is out now!

Fonte: Undented (via Twitter) e Bizarre Magazine.