- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO
Tori Amos knows her days as the "It Girl" of alternative music are long gone and she is more than a bit relieved.
With her blazing red hair and piano-bench gyrations, Miss Amos gave pop music a good shake 10 years ago with her debut album, "Little Earthquakes."
Her piano playing was passionate; her voice ethereal, but it was her heart-wrenching lyrics about rape, abuse and low self-esteem that grabbed listeners.
"Little Earthquakes" eventually went multiplatinum, but the singer-songwriter did not stick with the angry-young-woman approach.
"Under the Pink," her follow-up two years later, was somewhat more lighthearted. Hit singles included "God" and "Cornflake Girl."
Although "Boys for Pele," "From the Choirgirl Hotel" and "To Venus and Back" went platinum, Miss Amos says cultivating longevity with frequent touring and keeping her finger on the pulse of her fans mean more than trying to set the charts on fire with each album release.
"You decide as an artist that you're not something that can be devoured. You're not the flavor of the month. Your vines have been growing for hundreds of years," the 39-year-old says in an interview.
"If you pick up that torch, it's a very different thing from being the flavor, being the 'It Girl.' You're never going to be the thing that sells the most ever, but you will always be there."
Miss Amos, who was born in North Carolina, now lives in Cornwall, England, with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter, Natashya.
"Scarlet's Walk," her seventh album and first for Epic Records tells of a cross-country trek by a fictional woman who meets various colorful characters.
Miss Amos recently toured the United States. Her international tour is scheduled to begin next month.
How did you get the idea for "Scarlet's Walk"?
Miss Amos: I was on the road last year touring in the States at the end of September. I was out there on those buses, up half the night. So what do you do? You sit in the back and you watch the lines in the road and the road signs. It's strange how the ghosts start to come to visit you, the characters, the ancestors. So I started doing a lot of research about this land I was going through. This woman, Scarlet, started to take over my life.
Who is Scarlet?
Miss Amos: She's any woman. Scarlet is a thread. The etymology of the word means she was a fabric before she was a color, so she's weaving her way through this country. She's running into different people who are changing her view of how she sees the country and her relationship with it.
How would you describe your recent tour?
Miss Amos: The whole tour is based on the idea of a metaphorical fire. You come to the fire as you would have done hundreds of years ago to get the news, to pass stories around. So the stage is burning before the show starts and you feel the fire. It's not like I've got blazes going on. I don't have the pyrotechnics going don't worry. I'm not competing with Kiss or Ozzy (Osbourne). It's metaphorical fire.
What has the music business taught you?
Miss Amos: I was very fortunate to run into some people who gave me some very good advice. Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, mentors of mine. Peter Gabriel said to me, "You need to have your own studio, you need to be in control because one day the record company and you will disagree, and they will have to call the studio owner for those tapes and they will have to hear you on the other end of the line."
You went through a rough period a few years ago. What happened?
Miss Amos: I was pregnant. I was at the end of my rope, then I miscarried. I had miscarried before a couple of times. After that, I kind of changed the way I approached how hard you can drive yourself when you're pregnant. When I got pregnant with Tash, I stopped everything. I had to shift my physical rhythm. They said, "Look, you keep miscarrying. You have to change your life," so I changed my life.

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