Amos at a signing in 2008
|Birth name||Myra Ellen Amos|
|Born||August 22, 1963 Newton, North Carolina, United States,|
|Occupations||Musician, vocalist, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Piano, harpsichord, clavichord, Hammond organ, harmonium, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Kurzweil, clavinet, vocals|
Universal Republic (2009–present)
Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos on August 22, 1963 in Newton, North Carolina) is an American pianist and singer-songwriter. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument. Some of her charting singles include "Crucify", "Silent All These Years", "God", "Cornflake Girl", "Caught a Lite Sneeze", "Professional Widow", "Spark", "1000 Oceans", and "A Sorta Fairytale", her most commercially successful single in the U.S. to date.
As of 2005, Amos had sold 12 million albums worldwide.
When Amos was 2, her family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she began to play the piano. By age five, she had begun composing instrumental pieces on piano and, while living in Rockville, Maryland, she won a full scholarship to the Preparatory Division of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Her scholarship was discontinued at age 11 and she was asked to leave. Amos has asserted that she lost the scholarship because of her interest in rock and popular music, coupled with her dislike for reading from sheet music. At the age of 14, she began playing at piano bars, chaperoned by her father.
Amos first came to local notice by winning a county teen talent contest in 1977, singing a song called "More Than Just a Friend". As a senior at Richard Montgomery High School, she co-wrote "Baltimore" with her brother Mike Amos for a competition involving the Baltimore Orioles. The song won the contest and became her first single, released as a 7" single pressed locally for family and friends during 1980 with another Amos-penned composition as a B-side, "Walking With You". Prior to this period she performed under her middle name, Ellen, but permanently adopted Tori after a friend's boyfriend told her it suited her. At age 21, Amos moved to Los Angeles to pursue her music career after several years performing on the piano bar circuit of the D.C. area.
That same year, Amos formed a music group, Y Kant Tori Read, the name of which was a reference to her days at the Peabody Conservatory, where she was able to play songs on her piano by ear, but was never successful at sight reading. In addition to Amos, the group was composed of Steve Caton (who would later play guitars on all her subsequent albums until 1999), drummer Matt Sorum, bass player Brad Cobb and, for a short time, keyboardist Jim Tauber. By July 1988, the band's self-titled debut album was released. The album is now out of print, and Amos has expressed no interest in reissuing it. After the commercial failure, Amos began working with other artists (including Stan Ridgway, Sandra Bernhard, and Al Stewart) as a backup vocalist. She also recorded a song called "Distant Storm" for the film China O'Brien; in the credits, the song is attributed to a band called Tess Makes Good. It was the only song recorded by the band, and its only commercial release was in the film.
Despite the disappointing reaction to Y Kant Tori Read, Amos still had to comply with her six record contract with Atlantic Records, who in 1989 wanted a new record by March 1990. The initial recordings were declined by the label, which Amos felt was because the album had not been properly presented. The album was reworked and expanded under the guidance of Doug Morris and the musical talents of Steve Caton, Eric Rosse, Will MacGregor, Carlo Nuccio, and Dan Nebenzal, resulting in an album recounting her religious upbringing, sexual awakening, struggle to establish her identity, and sexual assault.
Amos traveled to New Mexico with personal and professional partner Eric Rosse in 1993 to write and largely record her second solo record, Under the Pink. The album was received with mostly favorable reviews and sold enough copies to chart at #12 on the Billboard 200, a significantly higher position than the preceding album's position at #54 on the same chart.
Her third solo album, Boys for Pele, was released in January 1996. The album was recorded in an Irish church, in Delgany, County Wicklow, Ireland, with Amos taking advantage of the church recording setting to create an album ripe with baroque influences, lending it a darker sound and style. She added harpsichord, harmonium, and clavichord to her keyboard repertoire, and also included such anomalies as a gospel choir, bagpipes, church bells, and drum programming. The album garnered mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising its intensity and uniqueness while others bemoaned its comparative impenetrability. Despite the album's erratic lyrical content and instrumentation, the latter of which kept it away from mainstream audiences, Boys for Pele is Amos's most successful simultaneous transatlantic release, reaching #2 on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Top 40 upon its release at the height of her fame.
Fueled by the desire to have her own recording studio to distance herself from record company executives, Amos had the barn of her home in Cornwall, England, converted into a state-of-the-art recording studio, Martian Engineering Studios. Amos enlisted principal band mates Steve Caton on guitars, Jon Evans on bass, and Matt Chamberlain on drums, with whom Amos would record her next two studio albums and embark on world tours.
From the Choirgirl Hotel and To Venus and Back, released in May 1998 and September 1999, respectively, differ greatly from previous albums as Amos's trademark acoustic piano-based sound is largely replaced with arrangements that include elements of electronica, dance music, vocal washes and sonic landscapes. The underlying themes of both albums deal with womanhood, and Amos's own miscarriages and marriage. Reviews for From the Choirgirl Hotel were mostly favorable and praised Amos's continued artistic originality. While not her highest chart debut, debut sales for From the Choirgirl Hotel are Amos's best to date, selling 153,000 copies in its first week. To Venus and Back, a two-disc release of original studio material and live material recorded from the previous world tour, received mostly positive reviews and included the first major-label single available for sale as a digital download.
Motherhood inspired Amos to produce a cover album, recording songs written by men about women and reversing the gender roles to show a woman's perspective. That idea grew into Strange Little Girls, released in September 2001, one year after giving birth to her daughter. The album is Amos's first concept album, with artwork featuring Amos photographed in character of the women portrayed in each song. Amos would later reveal that a stimulus for the album was to end her contract with Atlantic without giving them new original songs; Amos felt that since 1998, the label had not been properly promoting her and had trapped her in a contract by refusing to sell her to another label.
With her Atlantic contract fulfilled after a 15-year stint, Amos signed to Epic in late 2001. In October 2002, Amos released Scarlet's Walk, another concept album. Described as a "sonic novel", the album explores Amos's alter ego, Scarlet, and her cross-country trip following 9/11. Through the songs, Amos explores the history of America, American people, Native American history, pornography, masochism, homophobia and misogyny.
Not long after Amos was ensconced with her new label, she received unsettling news when Polly Anthony resigned as president of Epic Records in 2003. Anthony had been one of the primary reasons Amos signed with the label and as a result of her resignation, Amos formed the Bridge Entertainment Group. Further trouble for Amos occurred the following year when her label, Epic/Sony Music Entertainment, merged with BMG Entertainment as a result of the industry's decline. Amos would later hint in interviews that during the creation of her next album, those in charge at the label following the aforementioned merger were interested "only in making money", the effects of which on the album have not been disclosed.
Also in 2003, Amos made a cameo appearance in the movie Mona Lisa Smile as a wedding singer. She sang two numbers, Murder, he says and You Belong to Me.
Amos released two more albums with the label, The Beekeeper (2005) and American Doll Posse (2007). Both albums received mixed reviews, some of which stated that the albums suffered from being too long. The Beekeeper was conceptually influenced by the ancient art of beekeeping, which she considered a source of female inspiration and empowerment. Through extensive study, Amos also wove in the stories of the Gnostic gospels and the removal of women from a position of power within the Christian church to create an album based largely on religion and politics. The album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, placing her in an elite group of women who have secured five or more US Top 10 album debuts. American Doll Posse, another concept album, was fashioned around a group of girls (the "posse") who are used as a theme of alter-egos of Amos's. Musically and stylistically, the album saw Amos return to a more confrontational nature. Like its predecessor, American Doll Posse debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200.
During her tenure with Epic Records, Amos also released a retrospective collection titled Tales of a Librarian (2003) through her former label, Atlantic Records; a two-disc DVD set Fade to Red (2006) containing most of Amos's solo music videos, released through the Warner Bros. reissue imprint Rhino; a five disc box set titled A Piano: The Collection (2006), celebrating Amos's 15 year solo career through remastered album tracks, remixes, alternate mixes, demos, and a string of unreleased songs from album recording sessions, also released through Rhino; and numerous official bootlegs from two world tours, The Original Bootlegs (2005) and Legs & Boots (2007) through Epic Records.
In May 2008, Amos announced that, due to creative and financial disagreements with Epic Records, she had negotiated an end to her contract with the record label, and would be operating independently of major record labels on future work. In September of the same year, Amos released a live album and DVD, Live at Montreux 1991/1992, through Eagle Rock Entertainment, of two performances she gave at the Montreux Jazz Festival very early on in her career while promoting her debut solo-album, Little Earthquakes. By December, after a chance encounter with chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, Doug Morris, Amos signed a "joint venture" deal Universal Republic Records.
Abnormally Attracted to Sin, Amos's tenth solo studio-album and her first album released through Universal Republic, was released in May 2009 to mostly positive reviews. The album debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, making it the Amos' seventh album to do so. Abnormally Attracted to Sin, admitted Amos, was a "personal album", not a conceptual one. Continuing her distribution deal with Universal Republic, Amos released Midwinter Graces, her first seasonal album, in November of the same year. The album features reworked versions of traditional carols, as well as original songs written by Amos.
Other concurrent projects, Amos writing the music for Samuel Adamson's musical adaptation of the George MacDonald story The Light Princess for the Royal National Theatre and recording vocals for two songs for David Byrne's collaboration album with Fatboy Slim, entitled Here Lies Love, are expected to debut sometime in 2010.
Amos will be performing at the 2010 Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, TN. She is one of many performers to take to the stage on June 10-13.
To date, Amos has released eleven studio albums throughout her solo career, nine of which were self-produced.
Additionally, Amos has released over 30 singles, over 60 B-sides, and has contributed to nine film soundtracks, including Higher Learning (1995), Great Expectations (1998) and Mission: Impossible II (2000) among others.
Amos, who has been performing in bars and clubs from as early as 1976, and under her professional name as early as 1991, remains one of the most active touring artists in the world, having performed more than 1,000 shows since her first world tour in 1992. In 2003, Amos was voted fifth best touring act by the readers of Rolling Stone magazine. Her concerts are notable for their changing set lists from night to night.
|MTV VMAs||1992||Best Female Video||"Silent All These Years"||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography in a Video||Nominated|
|Best New Artist In a Video||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||1995||Best Alternative Music Album||Under The Pink||Nominated|
|1997||Best Alternative Music Album||Boys for Pele||Nominated|
|1999||Best Alternative Music Album||From the Choirgirl Hotel||Nominated|
|Female Rock Vocal Performance||"Raspberry Swirl"||Nominated|
|2000||Best Alternative Music Album||To Venus and Back||Nominated|
|Female Rock Vocal Performance||"Bliss"||Nominated|
|2002||Best Alternative Music Album||Strange Little Girls||Nominated|
|Female Rock Vocal Performance||"Strange Little Girl"||Nominated|
|2003||Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Packaging*||Scarlet's Walk (deluxe edition)||Nominated|
|Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical*||"Timo on Tori (Don't Make Me Come to Vegas)"||Nominated|
*This nomination was not for Amos's work.
Released in conjunction with The Beekeeper, Amos co-authored an autobiography with rock music journalist Ann Powers entitled Piece by Piece (2005). The book's subject is Amos's interest in mythology and religion, exploring her songwriting process, rise to fame, and her relationship with Atlantic Records.
Image Comics released Comic Book Tattoo (2008), a collection of comic stories, each based on or inspired by songs recorded by Amos. Editor Rantz Hoseley worked with Amos to gather 80 different artists for the book, including Pia Guerra, David Mack, and Leah Moore.
Other publications include Tori Amos: Lyrics (2001) and an earlier biography, Tori Amos: All These Years (1996). Additionally, Amos and her music have been the subject of numerous official and unofficial books, as well as academic criticism.
Amos is the third child of Rev. Dr. Edison and Mary Ellen Amos. She was born at the Old Catawba Hospital in Newton, North Carolina, during a trip from their home in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.. Her maternal grandparents were of mixed European and Eastern Cherokee ancestry; of particular importance to her as a child was her grandfather, Calvin Clinton Copeland, who was a great source of inspiration and guidance to her as a young child, offering a more pantheistic spiritual alternative to her father and paternal grandmother's traditional Christianity.
Early in her professional career, Amos befriended author Neil Gaiman, who became a fan after she referenced him in the song "Tear In Your Hand" and also in print interviews. Although created before the two met, the character Delirium from Gaiman's The Sandman series (or even her sister Death) is inspired by Amos; Gaiman has stated that "they steal shamelessly from each other". She wrote the foreword to his collection Death: The High Cost of Living; he in turn wrote the introduction to Comic Book Tattoo. Gaiman is godfather to her daughter and a poem written for her birth, Blueberry Girl was published as a children's book of the same name in 2009.
In June 1994, Amos co-founded RAINN, The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, a toll-free help line in the US connecting callers with their local rape crisis center. Amos, herself a survivor of sexual assault, was seen as unlocking the silence of her assault through her music; thus "Unlock the Silence" went on to become a year-long campaign for RAINN when Amos became a national spokesperson for the organization. By the summer of 2006, RAINN had received its one millionth caller and the organization's success has led to it ranking in "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth, and one of the "Top 10 Best Charities" by Marie Claire.
Amos married English sound engineer Mark Hawley on February 22, 1998. They have one child together, Natashya "Tash" Lórien Hawley, born on September 5, 2000. They divide their time between Cornwall, England and Sewall's Point, Florida, United States.
| This page or section needs to be cleaned up.
Please help cleaning it up if you can. When the cleanup is done, this template should be removed. For tips on making this article better, read "How to edit a page" and "How to write Simple English articles". Tagged since July 2010
Tori Amos is an American singer and songwriter who has won many awards for her music. She was born on August 22, 1963 in Newton, North Carolina. Her name by birth is Myra Ellen Amos. Her father, Edison Amos, is a Methodist minister. Her mother, Mary Ellen Amos, is partially Cherokee Indian. Her grandfather, Calvin Clinton Copeland, was very important to her as a child. The things he taught her continue to be important to her as an adult.
Tori Amos was an unusually talented child. She was able to play piano at the age of two and a half years. When she was two, her family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. When she was five years old, she was already writing her own songs on the piano. At age five she won a scholarship to a very important music school called the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Tori enjoyed writing her own music and making songs up as she went along, but did not enjoy playing music that was written by other people as much. Because of this they took her scholarship away at the age of eleven.
When Tori was 14 she began singing and playing piano at bars. Her father came with her to make sure she was safe. She won a singing contest by singing a song she wrote called "More Than Just a Friend". When she was 18, Tori recorded her first song. It was called "Baltimore." The song was entered into a contest being held by the Baltimore Orioles, a baseball team. Tori won the contest. The song was released on a 7" vinyl record, and the song on the other side was called "Walking With You". This record was Tori's very first music release, and 500 copies were made. Today it is considered a very valuable item, and costs a lot of money.
When Tori was 21, she changed her name from Myra Ellen to Tori. She moved to Los Angeles, California to try and become a professional singer and musician. She put together a rock and roll band which was called Y Kant Tori Read. The name of the band was a joke about when she went to piano school and did not want to read printed music, instead making up her own music. The band included a guitarist named Steve Caton, a drummer named Matt Sorum, a bass guitar player named Brad Cobb and a keyboard player named Jim Tauber. The band was signed to a recording contract with Atlantic Records. In 1988 they released their first and only album, also called "Y Kant Tori Read". It was released on 12" vinyl record, cassette tape and CD. The album's style was rock and roll, and is a very different type of music from what Tori would become famous for later in her life.
The album did not sell many copies. It was considered a very big failure. The band broke up. Matt Sorum ended up becoming famous in the band Guns 'n Roses. Brad Cobb became a successful musician also, playing in many different bands. Steve Caton later went on to perform with Tori on other projects until the year 1999.
Tori was very disappointed with the failure of her album. She had to continue recording more albums, because she signed an agreement with Atlantic Records that said she had to record up to six albums if they asked her to. Tori put together an album by herself, but when she played the music for the people at the record label, they did not like it. She spent more time on the music, changing the songs. She took away some songs, and added some new songs. This time the record label people liked the record.
In 1991 Tori released "Little Earthquakes," her second album (after "Y Kant Tori Read".) The album became a big success. The lyrics on the album were about very personal experience and feelings Tori had. They were about topics like religion, sex and growing up. One song, called "Me and a Gun," was very personal because it was about a time when Tori was raped.
In 1993 Tori released "Under the Pink," her third album. This album was even more successful than the last. The lyrics continued on topics from "Little Earthquakes," including a song called "Icicle" which was about childhood masturbation.
In 1996 Tori released "Boys For Pele," her fourth album. This album was very different from her other albums. It was much longer, having 18 songs. The music was more complicated, including a lot of different styles of music and types of instruments. Magazines had different opinions about the album in their reviews. Many reviews said the lyrics were hard to make sense of, and that the music was not easy to listen to. Other reviews said the songs were very interesting and unique. Despite the mixed opinions, "Boys For Pele" was Tori's most successful album to this day. It was successful world-wide.
In 1998 Tori released "From the Choirgirl Hotel," her fifth album. This album was also very different from her previous albums. Instead of focusing mostly on piano and many different instruments like orchestras, this album included a style of music called "electronica". This type of music often uses computers to create musical sounds and rhythms. Tori also included a full band on most of the songs, including guitar, drums and bass guitar. This was the first time she had done so since her album "Y Kant Tori Read". The lyrics of the album continued to be very personal. Some topics included Tori's own miscarriages of several babies, and marriage. Most of the reviews of this album were very positive, and in the first week the album sold more copies than any of Tori's other albums did in their first week. However, the album's total sales were not as high as any of her previous ones.
In 1999 Tori released her sixth album, "To Venus and Back". This was a double album. Often times a double album simply means that there are two discs, cassettes or records included and many more tracks than a normal album. In the case of "To Venus and Back," it was actually two separate albums packaged together under one theme. The first album in the set was called "Orbiting," and was a full new album of 11 recorded songs. The second album in the set was called "Live: Still Orbiting," and was a collection of live songs recorded at Tori's performances across the world. "Orbiting" continued the electronica theme of "From the Choirgirl Hotel," with lyrics about things like growing up, losing her babies in her miscarriages and homosexuality. The album received most positive reviews. A single from the album called "Bliss" was the very first song in history from a major record label to be sold on the internet as a digital song.
At this point in her career, Tori felt that her record label was not doing enough things to promote her music and albums. She had only one album left to record and release for them according to their agreement. In 2001 she released her seventh album "Strange Little Girls". This album featured songs that other singers and bands had written and recorded, but sung by Tori with a new idea behind what they mean. Part of the reason Tori did this was because she did not want to give her own songs, which mean very much to her, to the record label if they were not going to properly promote them. The album featured Tori's versions of songs by performers like Neil Young, the band Slayer and the rapper Eminem. The album was a "concept album," which means that all of the songs were fit into one big idea. Tori's idea was to take songs that had been sung by men and sing them from a woman's point of view. The album received both good and bad reviews, but it did not sell nearly as many copies as her other albums.
In late 2001 Tori changed to the record label Epic. In 2002 she released her eighth album, called "Scarlet's Walk." This album was another "concept album". In this concept, Tori created a story about a woman named Scarlet. Scarlet took a journey across America after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that happened in New York City. Along the way Scarlet meets a lot of different characters, mostly men. She has romances, friendships and gets involved in many situations. Each song is about one of the people she meets or one of the things that happens to her. The album was more successful than "Strange Little Girls," but did not meet the success of her other albums. However, the single "A Sorta Fairytale" was her most successful American radio single. The music video for this song featured Oscar winning actor Adrian Brody.
In 2003 Tori released a greatest hits album called "Tales of a Librarian." The album was the final part of her agreement with Atlantic Records. She took many of her older songs and changed them in a recording studio, giving them new sounds. She also included two brand new songs.
In 2003, Tori's new label Epic joined together with another label called BMG. Tori has said in interviews that this was not what she wanted to happen, and that the new people in charge were more interested in making money than in making good music. This year she also had a part in a movie called "Mona Lisa Smile". Tori played a singer at a wedding reception.
In 2005, Tori released her ninth album, "The Beekeeper". This album had a more traditional pop and rock musical style. Some described it as adult contemporary music. The album was unusually long, with 19 songs on a regular edition and 20 songs on a special edition. The lyrics were about personal things in Tori's life. Many of them were about sickness and death. This is because in the year she recorded it, her mother nearly died of a heart attack, and then her older brother died in a car accident. Compared to her other albums, the album did not sell very well. The reviews of the album were both good and bad. Many said the album was too long.
Later in 2005, Tori released a series of albums which were called "The Original Bootlegs". There were six albums in total, each with two CDs. Each album was of a full length live concert performed for her "The Beekeeper" tour. The albums were at first sold separately, and later put together in a boxed set. That year she also released a biography called "Piece by Piece." It was a best seller.
In 2006, Tori released a DVD called "Fade to Red". It was a compilation of all of Tori's music videos. That same year she also released a very complex boxed set of music called "A Piano". This set had five CDs and compiled tracks spanning all the way back to the album "Little Earthquakes". The package for the set was shaped like a piano keyboard.
In 2007, Tori released her tenth album, "American Doll Posse". This was another "concept album." This time Tori created several characters, but instead of just writing stories about them, she dressed up like them and created personalities for them. Tori would wear costumes and wigs for the characters during her concert performances. Each song on the album was supposed to be sung by one of the characters. The themes and music style of this album was very much like "The Beekeeper". The album was even longer, with 23 tracks on the regular version and 26 on the special edition. It sold around the same number of copies as the previous album, and reviews were similar as well. Again, many said the album was too long.
Later in 2007, Tori released a series of albums which were called "Legs & Boots". There were 27 full double-albums released. Each one was the content from a live show during her tour for the album "American Doll Posse". They albums were only available digitally; there were no CD versions.
In 2008 Amos made an agreement with her record label Epic, and left the label. She released a live concert DVD called "Live in Montreaux 1991/1992." She then signed a contract with a new record label, Universal Republic.
In 2009 Tori released her eleventh album, "Abnormally Attracted to Sin." Though the album got almost all good reviews, it did not sell any better than her more recent albums. Later that year she released an album called "Midwinter Graces." The album was like a holiday or Christmas album, but Tori called it a "seasonal album." It contained both traditional carols and original songs by Tori.