Tori Amos has several reasons to be calm and confident these days. Her new book, "Tori Amos: Piece by Piece", was released on Feb. 8, and her 9th full-length LP, The Beekeeper, came out last week, on Feb. 22.
Amos, who is usually tight-lipped about the majority of her private life, as well as her songwriting process, describes these things in more depth within the covers of her first written endeavor.
Although she discusses her personal relationship with religion in her new book, Amos also used The Beekeeper in her spiritual exploration. According to Amos, she was inspired by reading Elaine Pagels' "The Gnostic Gospels."
"Songs began visiting me. I didn't set out to have that minister's daughter in me rise out of the ashes and become an important voice in this work. It wasn't something that I had planned out," Amos said.
The Beekeeper, Amos' first album in two years, is very much a concept album, taking listeners through six "gardens." Each garden is associated with songs that, when put together, become a representation of Amos' research and the questions that remain unanswered for her. Amos once again explores the often-prevalent theme of sexuality on her new album, but in a new manner.
In addition to her ever-present piano, which she identifies as a "female instrument," she has added the Bösendorfer organ, often identified with maleness.
"I wanted to create a work where the content was ferocious, and the sound was seductive and would draw you in. That was really the idea," Amos explained.
Damien Rice is featured on "The Power of Orange Knickers," providing an often-absent male voice to Amos's latest album.
"It was irresistible, the idea of having a guy's voice on 'The Power of Orange Knickers.' Because Damien is Irish, he understands the terrorist issue, and I felt like this song is really loaded with a few different subjects weaving through it all at one time," Amos said. "I also just adored the idea of that voice saying 'the power of orange knickers.'"
Tori Amos has carved out her own place within an industry that she claims is currently "more supportive of male composers." Amos attributes outlasting the female piano-player/songwriter trend of the early '90s to remaining true to her ideals.
"There are times in the music industry when being a female composer and writing about women's issues on more of a level than what you're going to wear tonight, or how many times you're going to come, and in what position, when you can be embraced by the media and the record company gets your music played," she said.