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.