I started listening to Tori Amos with the release of her album Little Earthquakes. I have purchased or listened to all of her works since then. I wouldn’t say that I’m a dedicated fan – I know (knew) nothing about Amos other than what I interpret in her songs. Her music, her songs, to me, show incredible artistry and intelligence (which is something I think is often lacking in modern music). When I saw that Tori Amos had a book coming out, a memoir, I was quick to get a copy, hopeful that Amos would be as articulate with her book as she is with her songs.
I have certainly noted a political charge in many of Tori’s songs, but reading through this memoir and learning abut her ‘start’ – her early days in a piano bar in Washington, D.C. – I have a new appreciation of Tori’s understanding and her observing of the political landscape. Much of the first portions of the book discuss these early days and as we get to know Tori through her recollection, we come to understand how aware she is of the machinations of politics. How does a young, artistic woman survive in this sort of setting? This is really fascinating and eye=opening.
But I think what I enjoyed even more in this book, is her discussion of art, artists, and surviving the creative process. Amos knows what it’s like to sacrifice the art at the bidding of others. She also know that creating art is not inspiration, but lots of hard work (an awful lot of artists do not yet understand this concept). She mentions that she can probably name all of her songs that ‘just came to her’ on one hand.
And she talks about the jealousy of other artists – the jealousy we might have for a peer who has already ‘found her voice’ or his style, while we continue to struggle. Reading her thoughts on this is meaningful because we see that she understands – that she comes at this with first-hand experience.
I do think that you need to have an appreciation of Tori Amos the singer-songwriter to appreciate this book to its fullest, but the publisher refers to this book as having “compassionate guidance and actionable advice” which is very true and applicable to anyone, whether they are already familiar with Tori Amos or not.
Looking for a good book? Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change, and Courage by Tori Amos is a motivational memoir sure to offer encouragement to young artists of all mediums.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change, and Courage
author: Tori Amos
publisher: Atria Books
hardcover, 272 pages