WORLD-renowned pianist, composer and singer-songwriter Tori Amos arrives in South Africa this week and she’s looking forward to being back in “one of the most talked-about travel destinations in the world”.
In a phone interview with the Cape Times from Turkey yesterday, she said that on her last visit to South Africa in 2011, she had watched the sun set from a quiet Cape Town beach and was looking forward to doing so again.
Amos performed at five sold-out shows in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and said she had found South Africans to be “fantastically warm people”.
She said she hoped to have enough free time to get outdoors and see the “dramatic landscapes”, “with the sea and the mountains holding hands as they do”.
“Nature is so powerful there. You’re living in a painting really, but nature painted it herself.”
Amos was speaking from her hotel in Istanbul before her last show of the European leg of her tour, which started in Cork, Ireland, on May 5.
Audiences had been “alive and electric”, she said. This continued to blow her away, even after many world tours.
“To be 50 years old and to have people of all ages coming to see you perform – you walk away feeling sacred,” she said.
Her “one-woman show” Unrepentant Geraldines tour is promoting the eponymous studio album. Her 14th album and released on May 12, it was written over five years while Amos was working on other projects, including her musical The Light Princess. She came to refer fondly to her new songs as “secret sonic selfies”.
Fans who saw Amos in 2011 can rest assured that her set-list is tailor-made on the day of the show, full of new material and including at least two covers.
Amos said she receives a lot of input from the stage door on the day of the show, getting requests from her fans and finding out what the songs mean to them.
Recently she covered bearded Austrian Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst’s Rise like a Phoenix in honour of her “great” performance. In Russia she performed t.A.T.u’s Not Gonna Get Us.
She said although t.A.T.u members Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova had said they were not lesbians, their message, particularly in that song, was pro-intimate femininity.
“In Russia, I felt it was right to do a song that had become an anthem in that sense. You sometimes pick songs that work in the place you’re in.”
On the question of what her South African fans can expect, Amos said her daughter, Natashya Hawley, explained it best. “Tash said, ‘You’ve gotta go rock mom’,” said Amos.
Her 13-year-old daughter went on to say: “It’s not okay that you’re great for 50. You’ve just got to be great ... no matter what age you are.”
Amos laughed: “I’m 50 and on fire.”
l Tickets for the Unrepentant Geraldines tour on June 26 and 27 at Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg and for June 29 and 30 at Cape Town’s CTICC are available from computicket.com and Computicket outlets.