By Kristin Zagurski
Tori Amos’ new album, Scarlet’s Walk, is about questioning things.
It’s about questioning America’s historical roots and whether the country is in the right hands it needs to be for protection.
“I think your generation has an opportunity to rise,” Amos said to a group of college journalists during a Sony music conference call Friday.
She said our generation, the dragon generation, has the power to make change.
She said those in power do not see us as a threat because we are distracted and do not trust our own power.
“We must look to you,” she said. “I’m one of many holding a space for you to see your power.
“There have been generations that have chosen not to pick up the torch. We believe in you. It’s all there.”
Amos said Scarlet’s Walk is inspired by being on the road after Sept. 11, 2001, when she saw people’s relationships with America change very quickly before her eyes.
Amos was in New York City on Sept. 11 getting ready for a television appearance when airplanes smashed through the Twin Towers.
She said she walked down Fifth Avenue and smelled America burning.
“Maybe smelling her burning that day … knowing that yes, many human lives were lost in the tragedy, many of us were realizing that America has a soul and was alive,” Amos said.
After that day, Amos rethought her relationship with and responsibility to America.
“I was beginning to see a torch being lit,” Amos said. “A questioning that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
“‘Are the people that are representing this country really good for this country that I’m feeling more [for] than I felt before?'” she asked herself.
Amos’ character in the album, Scarlet, is drawn to different people who make her rethink how she puts one foot in front of the other, Amos said.
She said once Scarlet knows where she stands with herself, she sees where she stands with her true lover, the land.
Geography plays an important role in Scarlet’s Walk. Amos said she uses the history and the culture that make up the land to influence the sound of the songs.
Other influences include early Neil Young and Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.
Amos said the theme for her upcoming tour, which begins Nov. 7 in Tampa, Fla., is a mythological fire.
She said when people sit down by a fire with storytellers they walk away seeing things differently than when they sat down.
Amos considers the performances, which she said are more exciting for her than for the audience, ceremonies.
“We take it very seriously but hopefully with a giggle,” she said.
The first single off Scarlet’s Walk, “A Sorta Fairytale,” brings the idea of storytelling into the album.
Amos, the mother of a 2-year-old, said she is beginning to re-approach children’s tales with a new respect.
She said the fact that many fairytales have been able to stay potent for hundreds of years is motivating.
Being a mother has also brought compassion to Amos’ life.
Amos said her daughter, Natashya, has given her much more than she’s ever been given before.
She said she knows she has what she needs because she can provide for herself and her daughter.
“Through these dark nights of the soul, I kind of had to become my own mother,” she said.
She offered advice for dealing with hard times: “There are going to be dark days. Welcome them. Give them a plate of spaghetti.”