At age one, Tori and her family moved to Baltimore, where she spent muchof her childhood. She started playing piano at a very early age (21/2). At the age of five, she was accepted to the Peabody Conservatoryof Music (Arts school); she was the youngest person to be accepted tothe school. However, she soon discovered that there were conflictsbetween her wants and those of the school.
At age 11, she was kickedout thereby making her the youngest person to be expelled from theschool. She eventually ended up in a rock band called Y Kan't ToriRead, who released an album in 1988. The album was a severe flop, andthe band broke up shortly thereafter. Tori has been doing her solo gigever since, known for her strong voice, eccentric lyrics, and (ofcourse) her exceptional skill on the piano. Born Myra Ellen Amos on August 22, 1963 in Newton, North Carolina (butmoving to Baltimore, Maryland very shortly thereafter),singer/songwriter and sometimes-actress Tori Amos has accumulated oneof the most ravenous, cult- like followings known to the entertainmentindustry.
After cutting a 45"RPM record at the age of 18 called"Baltimore" (which, along with the flip-side song "Walking With You,"won her a citation from the mayor of Baltimore and the key to thecity,) Amos began recording demonstration songs and sending them out tothe recording industry. She had already gained a following in theWashington, D. C. area, most notably performing in gay piano bars. Starting at age 16, she was often accompanied by her minister father,Dr.
Rev. Edison Amos. At the age of 21 she moved to Los Angeles andparticipated in various pop and hair-metal bands, including "Tess MakesGood" and "Skirts on Fire. " Eventually she landed herself in a bandcalled "Y Kant Tori Read. " The members of the band were relativeunknowns, although guitarist Steve Caton had performed with her forseveral years at that point and continued to do so until 1999 beforeleaving to pursue his own endeavors.
"Y Kant Tori Read" eventuallygathered attention from Atlantic Records and was signed to record analbum with legendary 80's music producer Joe Chicarelli (who, in themeantime, got Tori various backup vocal gigs on projects by Pherron,Sandra Bernhard and even scored her a song in the soundtrack to theschlocky martial-arts movie "China O'Brien" -- Tori was paid $300). Atlantic Records' main interest was not in the band but in the loopy,sexy, big-haired main vocalist. When Y Kant Tori Read went into thestudio to record their first major label album, only Tori and SteveCaton remained. The rest of the band was fleshed out withsinger/pianist Kim Bullard (of Kajagoogoo) and Matt Sorum (later ofGuns and Roses). The eponymous debut album was a huge flop, sellingless than 8,000 copies.
The embarrassing music video which aired a fewtimes on MTV featured Tori in skin tight leather pants and a halter topcavorting around a "downtown Los Angeles" studio set with sky-highhair, waving around a sword and dancing with bikers and rock-n-rollgirls in pink tutus. The huge failure put Tori in a funk, but herrecord label was willing to give her one more shot. She switched gearsback to the girl-with-a-piano sound she had focused on for much of heryouth. (Amos was the youngest person admitted into the BaltimorePeabody Conservatory, though she was kicked out a few years later forrefusing to read sheet music. Thus the name of her hair-metal band.
)Eventually, through encouragement from friends, she put together thegroup of songs that would make up her first solo album, "LittleEarthquakes. " Because the content and sound of the music in "LittleEarthquakes" was so different than what was being played on Americanradio, Atlantic moved Tori to London, England where she almostinstantly became a smash hit. Gathering frequent comparisons to KateBush, Amos was labeled as a "fruit- loop" and a "kook" by the Britishpress. Who was this 5 foot 1/2" redhead, wearing swimsuits with bluejeans over them, performing intensely personal piano-pop while writhingat her instrument? Amos' debut album eventually garnered several hitsingles in both the UK and the US including "Winter," "Silent All TheseYears," "Crucify" and "China. " The most startling song, however, was atrack called "Me and a Gun.
" It was an a'capella account of her ownexperience with rape, and its impact would be felt by Tori over thenext few years. She also gained further notice by releasing an E. P. ofthe song "Crucify" with three cover songs, most notably a remake ofNirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit. " This would mark Tori's habit ofcompletely reinterprereting other people's works in live performancesand as B-sides.
At this point Tori started what would become atrademark style of touring for her, spending almost a year tirelesslytouring the entire world. She also began her habit of contributing newworks to soundtrack albums with the song "Happy Workers" on the TOYSsoundtrack. In 1994 Tori released her second album, "Under the Pink. "Where her first album was very diary-like, confessional and piano-poporiented, "Under the Pink" was fleshed out with full orchestralarrangements, lots of guitars and drums, and even a littleindustrial-techno (on the song "The Waitress"). The album was alsolyrically much more inaccessible, with subtext on top of subtext.
Songslike "Past the Mission," a hit single, dealt with the sexualrelationship between Jesus and Mary Magdelene. It was at this pointTori really developed an underground following of fans who wouldresearch and hang onto every word she uttered in an interview, hopingto get a clearer understanding of her music. The album also had hitswith "Pretty Good Year," "God," and "Cornflake Girl," a song thataddressed the topic of African female genitalia mutilation (in relationto Alice Walker's book "Possessing the Secret of Joy"). The song "God"opened up Tori's ongoing rivalry with the religious right, who objectedto the song's content. "God sometimes you just don't come through/Doyou need a woman to look after you?" The song was even sent out toradio stations on a promo disc with "some guitar/no guitar" remixversions to lessen the harsh sound.
At this time Tori was receiving somany letters from fans who had experiences with rape that she founded"R. A. I. N. N.
", the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. It was, andis to this date, the nation's only 24 hour, completely confidential andtoll free hotline for victims of sexual assault. It has gone close tocollapse several times and has relied on Tori's generosity to pullitself through. She also contributed the songs "Butterfly" and "LosingMy Religion" (a cover of R. E.
M. 's hit) to the soundtrack of "HigherLearning. " In 1996 Tori released her third album, "Boys For Pele," tocritical acclaim but lower album sales. It became clear that sheintended to not let up on the cryptical lyricism. On this album shealso introduced songs centered around the harpsichord, clavichord andharmonium organ.
As she had brought the piano back into the pop scenein 1992, with "Boys For Pele" she crafted incredibly complex pop songsaround these antiquated instruments along with orchestra, brass bandsand gospel choirs. The album consisted of 19 tracks (and almost 20non-album tracks released as B-sides on singles). She collaborated withGeorge Porter Jr. of The Meters on the album, which featuredsouthern-influenced artwork including a photo of Tori breast feeding apiglet. (This image was on a billboard in Los Angeles and caused a caraccident, resulting in a publicized lawsuit.
The image was removed fromlibrary-issued copies of the album. ) The album dealt with the theme ofthe male relationships in Tori's life, most notably her breakup withEric Rossee, former record producer whom she had been involved with fornearly 7 years. (Pele is a Hawaiian volcano goddess to whom malesacrifices are made. ) The album spawned hits with "Caught A LiteSneeze" (which made history as the first song made available as adownload on the internet by the recording industry), "Talula" (whichwas remixed by dance artist B. T.
and included in the soundtrack to thefilm "Twister"), "Professional Widow," "In the Springtime of HisVoodoo" and "Hey Jupiter. " At this time Amos did something no oneexpected, and allowed her music to be remixed and released to danceclubs. The song "Professional Widow," originally a rough, punkishharpsichord dirge about Courtney Love and her involvement in husbandKurt Cobain's death, became a huge smash dance club hit when artistArmand Van Helden remixed it using only the lines "Honey, bring itclose to my lips" and "It's Gotta be Big. " The remix brought Amos herbiggest hit yet, and propelled Van Helden to stardom although yearslater he would comment that he didn't receive a dime from the remix. Following that success, a remix of "In the Springtime of His Voodoo"was issued with lesser success.
She also recollaborated with BT on asong called "Blue Skies. " BT attended one of Tori's concert soundchecksand had her improvise the lyrics to the song, which he then mixed intoa #1 dance hit. Amos, in the meantime, continued to rigorously tour theworld. During her 1997 tour she took up a relationship with her soundengineer 'Mark Hawley (III)' , and suffered a miscarriage. In 1998she released the album "From the Choirgirl Hotel," which dealt verystrongly with her miscarriage and the idea of loss.
The album was hermost accessible since "Little Earthquakes," and even more radiofriendly. It was also her first venture with a full rock band since "YKant Tori Read" in 1988. However mainstream the album's sound was, withrock influence, and even a full on techno song ("Hotel"), the lyricsremained cryptic as ever. The album artwork featured Amos in variouswacky outfits, having been full-body scanned on a human sizedphotocopier. The album spawned the hit singles "Spark," "Cruel,""Raspberry Swirl," and "Jackie's Strength.
" The latter was remixed intoa dance hit; it dealt with a young woman's reaction to the death ofJackie Kennedy and its relevance to her own wedding. The song"Raspberry Swirl" was nominated for a Grammy award for best alternativeperformance. The tour for the album was one of the most successful ofthe year. In 1998 Tori also toured with Alanis Morrissete, causingquite a stir among fans. Tori performed before Alanis, labeling her asthe opening act, although it was a co-tour and the simple fact was thatTori HAD to perform first due to setting up and taking off her piano.
In 1999 Tori released "To Venus and Back," a 2 CD set that featured onedisc of 11 new songs and another disc of a sort of "greatest hits live"of performances from her 1998 tour. The disc did not perform as well aspast efforts, although it spawned the hits "Bliss," "Concertina" and"1,000 Oceans. " She toured to support the album with a full band. Shealso married her sound engineer, 'Mark Hawley (III)' . In the year2000 Tori and Mark gave birth to their first child,'Natashya Lórien Hawley' .
In 2001 Amos released "Strange LittleGirls," an album of 12 cover songs. This album was a full-on conceptalbum. Amos' goal was to re-interpret these songs, all written by maleartists about female characters, from a female point of view. Shecreated 13 female characters (one each for 11 songs plus a set oftwins). She brought on longtime-colleague makeup artist Kevin Aucoin tocreate the characters and had photos taken of each.
The songs on thealbum all deal with violence and men's views of women. She tackles suchsongs as "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by the Beatles from the point ofview of the prostitute who visited John Lennon's assassin hours beforethe murder; "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" by Eminem from the point of view ofthe slaughtered and dying wife in the trunk of the car; and "Heart ofGold" from the point of view of twins involved in internationalespionage. As if all of this weren't enough, she also brought onlegendary comic book and novel author Neil Gaiman to write shortstories about each character, although they were reduced to simplequotes in the liner notes. The album was released with 4 differentcovers. Tori continues to make popular, interesting music on her ownterms.
Although she has participated in acting projects in the past (a"Kellog's Just Right" commercial and a guest role in the TV courtroomdrama "Trial by Jury," both in the late 80s during her hair-metalphase), she doesn't seem in a hurry to keep it up. .
|1||Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin||1995||as Herself - Performer|
|2||FM4 Radio Sessions: Tori Amos||2009||as Herself|
|3||The 1994 Billboard Music Awards||1994||as Herself|
|4||Breakfast||2000||as Herself - Singer-Songwriter|
|5||Crossroads||1994||as Herself - Performer (1994)|
|6||Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show||2003||as Herself|
|7||Late Night with David Letterman||1982||as Herself|
|8||Late Show with David Letterman||1993||as Herself - Musical Guest|
|9||Live with Regis and Kathie Lee||1988||as Herself|
|10||Sendung ohne Namen||2002||as Herself - Interviewee|
|11||The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||1992||as Herself - Musical Guest|
|12||A Sorta Fairytale||2003||as Herself|
|13||Fade to Red||2006||as Herself|
|14||Map the Music||2010||as Herself|
|15||Mayor of the Sunset Strip||2003||as Herself|
|16||Mona Lisa Smile||2003||as Wedding Singer|
|17||MTV Revue with Tori Amos||1998||as Herself|
|18||MTV Video Music Awards 1998||1998||as Herself - Presenter|
|19||NPR Music Live: Tori Amos||2012||as Herself|
|20||Spirit, Show and Songs||1994||as Herself|
|21||The Brit Awards 1994||1994||as Herself - Presenter: Best British Newcomer|
|22||The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill||2014||as Herself|
|23||The Righteous Babes||1998||as Herself|
|24||The Tori Amos Custom Concert||2003||as Herself|
|25||Tori Amos in Concert: Baloise Session 2015||2015||as Herself|
|26||Tori Amos Live from NY||1998||as Herself|
|27||Tori Amos: Scarlet Sessions||2003||as Herself|
|28||Tori Amos: The Complete Videos 1991-1998||1998||as Herself|
|29||VH1 Big in 2002 Awards||2002||as Herself|
|30||Welcome to Sunny Florida||2004||as Herself|
|31||ABC in Concert||1991||as Herself|
|32||AOL Sessions||2002||as Performer|
|33||Big Morning Buzz Live||2011||as Herself|
|34||Breakfast with the Arts||1991||as Herself|
|36||Conan||2010||as Herself - Musical Guest|
|38||Cover Art||2005||as Herself|
|39||Dennis Miller||2004||as Herself|
|40||Die Harald Schmidt Show||1995||as Herself|