Artist and Musician Biographies


Here is a YouTube Mix of music by Tori Amos.

Tori Amos, born Myra Ellen Amos, in 1963, began playing piano at the age of two. Although she was born in North Carolina, she grew up in Maryland, as the daughter of a Methodist preacher. She began singing and playing piano in her father's church choir when she was only four. Hailed as a child prodigy with a keen ear, Tori gained admittance to the prestigious Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore where she began her classical piano training. Though Tori demonstrated undeniable skills and talent, her unwillingness to follow the regiment of the school caused her departure when she was only 11.

Inspired by the music of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin as a teen, Tori began writing her own music and playing piano in night clubs in the Washington D.C. area. In 1987, Tori received a recording contract. Her first album, "Why Kan't Tori Read", was unsuccessful and failed to win her any further attention. Despite this apparent failure, her producers at Atlantic Records did not lose faith and kept her on.

As Tori matured, she combined strong and expressive emotions from the events of her life with a sense for 1970s style music. She began arranging songs that were consistent with the music of other female alternative artists of the early 1990s, such as Joan Osborn. Tori is often credited with bringing the piano back to rock and roll. With this, she won a loyal following from a number of fans that associated with her music, lyrics, and emotion. The resulting recording of Little Earthquakes, released in 1991, was an international success. One song "Me and a Gun" received a great deal of attention because it recounted the details of Tori's own rape.

Much of Tori's recognition came from touring in Europe, particularly in England. In addition to the rigors of recording and performing her music, Tori found herself the President of Victims Anonymous and often listening to the problems of her fans. The following albums, though less intimate, helped to solidify her success and fan base. The CDs included Crucify, Under the Pink,(which included the single "Corn Flake Girl" and "God") and Boys for Pele. In 1994, the magazine Q called Tori, along with Bjork and PJ Harvey, the new wave of intelligent female artists.

Boys for Pele saw Tori branch out to the harpsichord and clavichord. This album was acclaimed by critics who consider it her most innovative although sometimes difficult record so far. Tori continued to express her ideas as well her very personal emotions in her music. She followed up with From the Choir Girl Hotel, which contained Amos's lyrics dealing with her recent miscarriage. In 1999, Tori toured with Alanis Morissette and released the two-disc To Venus and Back, which was a critical and commercial success.

In September of 2001, she released "Strange Little Girls", a controversial collection of covers of songs written by male artists (Eminem, the Velvet Underground, the Beatles, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits, and Neil Young), among others, that seemed to deal with a strong feminist statement involving gender reversal in each song's intent.

Page author: B.A. & C.F.