Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

The Power And The Beauty: Tori Amos’ Favourite Music

From bonding with her daughter over Dolly Parton and Cocteau Twins to being starstruck by Billy Joel and Elton John, Tori Amos takes Lisa Jenkins through thirteen tracks that have defined her life and career

Photo by Desmond Murray

I am talking to Tori Amos via Zoom. Tori is in a very blustery Cornwall where she’s been locked down with her husband Mark, their grown-up daughter Tash, and Tash’s boyfriend for almost two years. She says it’s been very tough, like “a never-ending nightmare” at times, something many of us can relate to. Despite this, still grieving her mother’s passing, being unable to play live, or connect with her fans, she wrote the starkly beautiful yet uplifting album Ocean to Ocean between last winter through to early summer. As the seasons changed, so did her writing.

Amos had last been writing songs before the American election and was due to tour The USA with them. Then, the pandemic. By the time of the third UK lockdown these songs no longer seemed to resonate or give her the artistic outcome that she wanted. She realised she had to work through her grief and comparative isolation to find the gold. Her muses were telling her to create something else, to be like water, when fire has always been her go to force.

In her words, “When somebody is actually at that place, thinking ‘I’m done,’ how do you reach that person? It’s not about a pill, or a double shot of tequila. It’s about sitting in the muck together. I’m going to meet you in the muck.”

What is most astonishing is how she has managed to capture the feelings for so many of us at this time. Whether it be with songs like Ocean To Ocean – the yearning to cross large bodies of water to be with your loved ones. Or Speaking With Trees – A haunting lament to grief and the passage of time, the album calls for us to examine our losses and sit in the muck with her. As a result Tori has created one of her finest albums to date.

Tori Amos’ Ocean To Ocean is out now via Decca Records. She will tour the UK in 2022. To begin reading her Baker’s Dozen click the image of her below.

First Record

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