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Tori Amos

Amos at a signing in 2008
Background information
Birth name Myra Ellen Amos
Born August 22, 1963 (1963-08-22) (age 46), Newton, North Carolina, United States
Genres Alternative rock
Baroque pop
piano rock
Occupations Musician, vocalist, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Piano, harpsichord, clavichord, Hammond organ, harmonium, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Kurzweil, clavinet, vocals
Years active 1986–present
Labels Atlantic (1988–2001)
Epic (2002–2008)
Universal Republic (2009–present)
Notable instruments
Bösendorfer piano

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.[1]

As of 2005, Amos had sold 12 million albums worldwide.[2]


Early life (1963–1985)

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.[3] 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.[3] At the age of 14, she began playing at piano bars, chaperoned by her father.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5]

Atlantic years (1986–2001)

Y Kant Tori Read

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] It was the only song recorded by the band, and its only commercial release was in the film.

Solo career

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.[9] 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.[10]

Amos performing on her Dew Drop Inn tour in 1996.

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.[11][12]

Fueled by the desire to have her own recording studio to distance herself from record company executives,[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17]

Epic Records years (2002–07)

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.

Amos performing as Pip in concert on July 13, 2007 on her American Doll Posse tour.

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.[18] 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.[citation needed]

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.[19][20] 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,[21] placing her in an elite group of women who have secured five or more US Top 10 album debuts.[22] 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.[23] Like its predecessor, American Doll Posse debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200.[10]

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.

Universal Republic years (2008–present)

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.[24][25] 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.[26][27][28][29]

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,[30] making it the Amos' seventh album to do so.[31] Abnormally Attracted to Sin, admitted Amos, was a "personal album", not a conceptual one.[32] 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.[33]

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,[34] 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.

Little Earthquakes Tour 
Amos's first world tour began on January 29, 1992 in London and ended on November 30, 1992 in Auckland. She performed solo with a Yamaha CP-70 unless the venue was able to provide a piano.[35][36] The tour included 142 concerts around the globe.
Under the Pink Tour 
Amos's second world tour began on February 24, 1994 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and ended on December 13, 1994 in Perth, Western Australia. Amos performed solo each night on her iconic Bösendorfer piano, and on a pianino during "Bells for Her". The tour included 181 concerts.
Dew Drop Inn Tour 
The third world tour began on February 23, 1996 in Ipswich, England, and ended on November 11, 1996 in Boulder, Colorado. Amos performed each night on piano, harpsichord, and harmonium, with Steve Caton on guitar on some songs. The tour included 187 concerts.
Plugged '98 Tour 
Amos's first band tour. Amos, on piano and Kurzweil keyboard, was joined by Steve Caton on guitar, Matt Chamberlain on drums, and Jon Evans on bass. The tour began on April 18, 1998 in Fort Lauderdale and ended on December 3, 1998 in East Lansing, Michigan, including 137 concerts.
Five and a Half Weeks Tour / To Dallas and Back 
Amos's fifth tour was North America–only. The first part of the tour was co-headlining with Alanis Morissette and featured the same band and equipment line-up as in 1998. Amos and the band continued for eight shows before Amos embarked on a series of solo shows. The tour began on August 18, 1999 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and ended on December 9, 1999 in Denver, Colorado, including 46 concerts.
Strange Little Tour 
This tour was Amos's first since becoming a mother in 2000 and her first tour fully solo since 1994 (Steve Caton was present on some songs in 1996). It saw Amos perform on piano, Rhodes piano, and Wurlitzer electric piano, and though the tour was in support of her covers album, the set lists were not strictly covers-oriented. Having brought her one-year-old daughter on the road with her, this tour was also one of Amos's shortest ventures, lasting just three months. It began on August 30, 2001 in London and ended on December 17, 2001 in Milan, including 55 concerts.
On Scarlet's Walk / Lottapianos Tour 
Amos's seventh tour saw her reunited with Matt Chamberlain and Jon Evans, but not Steve Caton. The first part of the tour, which featured Amos on piano, Rhodes, and Wurlitzer, was six months long and Amos went out again in the summer of 2003 for a tour with Ben Folds opening. The tour began on November 7, 2002 in Tampa, Florida and ended on September 4, 2003 in West Palm Beach, Florida, featuring 124 concerts. The final show of the tour was filmed and released as part of a DVD/CD set titled Welcome to Sunny Florida (the set also included a studio EP titled Scarlet's Hidden Treasures, an extension of the Scarlet's Walk album).
Original Sinsuality Tour / Summer of Sin 
This tour began on April 1, 2005 in Clearwater, Florida, with Amos on piano, two Hammond B-3 organs, and Rhodes. The tour also encompassed Australia for the first time since 1994. Amos announced at a concert on this tour that she would never stop touring but would scale down the tours. Amos returned to the road in August and September for the Summer of Sin North America leg, ending on September 17, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The tour featured "Tori's Piano Bar", where fans could nominate cover songs on Amos's website which she would then choose from to play in a special section of each show. One of the songs chosen was the Kylie Minogue hit "Can't Get You Out of My Head", which Amos dedicated to her the day after Minogue's breast cancer was announced to the public. Other songs performed by Amos include The Doors' "People are Strange", Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game", Madonna's "Live to Tell" and "Like a Prayer", Björk's "Hyperballad", Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" (which she debuted in Austin, Texas, just after the events of Hurricane Katrina), Kate Bush's "And Dream of Sheep" and Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over", dedicating it to drummer Paul Hester who had died a week before. The entire concert tour featured 82 concerts, and six full-length concerts were released as The Original Bootlegs.
American Doll Posse World Tour 
This was Amos's first tour with a full band since her 1999 Five and a Half Weeks Tour, accompanied by long-time band mates Jon Evans and Matt Chamberlain, with guitarist Dan Phelps rounding out Amos's new band.[37] Amos's equipment included her piano, a Hammond B-3 organ, and two Yamaha S90 ES keyboards. The tour kicked off with its European leg in Rome, Italy on May 28, 2007, which lasted through July, concluding in Israel; the Australian leg took place during September; the North American leg lasted from October to December 16, 2007, when the tour concluded in Los Angeles, CA. Amos opened each show dressed as one of the four non-Tori personae from the album, then Amos would emerge as herself to perform for the remaining two-thirds of the show. The entire concert tour featured 93 concerts, and 27 full-length concerts of the North American tour were released as official bootlegs in the Legs and Boots series.
Sinful Attraction Tour 
For her tenth tour, Amos returned to the trio format of her 2002 and 2003 tours with bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain while expanding her lineup of keyboards by adding three M-Audio MIDI controllers to her ensemble of her piano, a Hammond B-3 organ, and a Yamaha S90 ES keyboard. The North American and European band tour began on 10 July 2009 in Seattle, Washington and ended in Warsaw, Poland on 10 October 2009. A solo leg through Australia began in Melbourne on 12 November 2009 and ended in Brisbane on 24 November 2009. The entire tour featured 63 concerts.

Award nominations

Group Year Award Work Result
MTV VMAs 1992 Best Female Video "Silent All These Years" Nominated
Best Cinematography in a Video Nominated
Best New Artist In a Video Nominated
Breakthrough 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.

In print

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.[38][39][40]

Personal life

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.[41]

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.[42] 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".[43] 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.[44]

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,[45] 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[46] 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.

Notes and references

  1. ^ McNair, James (2003-11-21). "Tori Amos: Fairy-tale endings". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  2. ^ "Piece By Piece Press Release". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  3. ^ a b c Amos, Tori and Ann Powers (2005). Piece by Piece. New York: Broadway Books. pp. 49–50. ISBN 0767916778. 
  4. ^ Rogers, Kalen (1994). Tori Amos All These Years: The Authorized Biography. Omnibus. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-0825614484. 
  5. ^ "Tori Amos on Love Affair With the Piano". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-12-18. 
  6. ^ David Wallechinsky & Amy Wallace: The New Book of Lists. Canongate, 2005. ISBN 1-84195-719-4.
  7. ^ "Y Kant Tori Read quotes at". Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  8. ^ "Soundtracks for China O'Brien at". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-04-09. 
  9. ^ "Tori Amos' Track-by-Track Guide to "Little Earthquakes"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  10. ^ a b "Tori Amos — Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  11. ^ "The Billboard 200 - Chart Listing For The Week Of Feb 10 1996". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  12. ^ "". Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Tori Amos — Inside her Martian Engineering Studio". Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  14. ^ "Garth Boxes In Billboard 200's Top Slot". Billboard. 1998-05-14. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  15. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri (1999-12-01), "Music's Digital Democracy", Interview 
  16. ^ "Tori Amos Says Eminem's Fictional Dead Wife Spoke To Her". MTV. Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  17. ^ Amos, Tori; Powers, Ann (2005). Tori Amos: Piece by Piece. New York: Broadway Books. pp. 314–315. ISBN 978-0767916776. 
  18. ^ "The Record Industry's Decline". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  19. ^ "Tori Amos — The Beekeeper". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  20. ^ "Tori Amos — American Doll Posse". Slant. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  21. ^ "'O' Puts Omarion On Top". Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  22. ^ "Tori Amos To Release New Album American Doll Posse; To Launch World Tour in May 2007". Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  23. ^ The interview with Paul Tingen regarding American Doll Posse can be found here [1]
  24. ^ "Ask Billboard — TORI AMOS GETS GRAPHIC". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  25. ^ "Tori Amos Splits With Epic, Goes Indie". Billboard. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  26. ^ "Tori Signs With Universal Republic Records For Upcoming 2009 Album". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  27. ^ "Tori Amos Inks New Deal, Eyes Spring/Summer Release". Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  28. ^ "Girls on Film: An Interview with Tori Amos". American Songwriter. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  29. ^ "Tori Amos Interview". The Red Alert. 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  30. ^ "Eminem's 'Relapse' Tops Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  31. ^ "Tori Amos — Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  32. ^ "Songs In The Key of Sin". Out Magazine. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  33. ^ "Tori Amos Gets Into Holiday Spirit For 'Midwinter Graces'". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  34. ^ "News: Tori Connected With Byrne's "Here Lies Love"? (2008-03-24)". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  35. ^ "Read the article and see scans from a Tori/Ben Folds article in Keyboard Magazine". The Dent. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  36. ^ "Tori Amos — Little Earthquakes tour 1992". Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  37. ^ "Undented". Undented. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  38. ^ "Paul Gregory Attinello, Curriculum Vitae". 
  39. ^ Reed, S. Alexander (2008). "Through Every Mirror in the World: Lacan's Mirror Stage as Mutual Reference in the Works of Neil Gaiman and Tori Amos". ImageTexT. Department of English, University of Florida. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  40. ^ Burns, Lori and Woods, Alyssa (2004-06-21). "Authenticity, Appropriation, Signification: Tori Amos on Gender, Race, and Violence in Covers of Billie Holiday and Eminem". Music Theory Online. The Society for Music Theory. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  41. ^ Amos, Tori; Powers, Ann (2005). Tori Amos: Piece by Piece. New York: Broadway Books. p. 20. ISBN 978-0767916776. 
  42. ^ Rogers, Kalen. Tori Amos: All These Years: The Authorized Biography. p. 46. ISBN 0825614481. 
  43. ^ Rogers, Kalen. Tori Amos: All These Years: The Authorized Biography. p. 48. ISBN 0825614481. 
  44. ^ "'Blueberry Girl', Neil Gaiman's favor for friend Tori Amos, is now a sensation". Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  45. ^ Lis (2008-11-18). "How Tori Amos Survived Rape". HealthyPlace. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  46. ^ "RAINN Commemorates One Million Callers to the National Sexual Assault Hotline". RAINN. 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I think there are pieces of me you've never seen...

Tori Amos (born 22 August 1963) is an American pianist and singer-songwriter.


  • I have been surprised, excited and pleasantly shocked by these comics that are extensions of the songs that I have loved and therefore welcome these amazing stories of pictures and words because they are uncompromisingly inspiring. It shows you thought is a powerful, formidable essence and can have a breathtaking domino effect.
  • That is some funky-fresh, pop lockin' shit.
    • MTV Music Awards, in response to a dance done by Beck; spoken in an unenthusastic monotone while reading from writing on her hand, and clearly fed to her by writers.
  • If I saw someone destroy a piano I'd fuckin' kill 'em. Wouldn't think twice. [It's] Just defending your best friend!
    • French television interview, 1992
  • This is very simple in the world of chicks: some are hoochies, some are not, and some should never try to be. It's no different from the idea of sports. Now, I can go on my little rowing machine for four times a week, twenty-two minutes a time, and I can feel as if I flirt with the sporting world. Similar to the idea that a woman can put on something cuter for her man, for those moments, and flirt with garments that a hoochie woman might be pushing. But never for one moment should you get confused. My little rowing machine and I cannot consider ourselves athletes. Wearing the same garment does not a hoochie woman make. So if you are a true hoochie woman, may garments below the navel always be in your future. If you are not, then please don't throw away your cotton zippy jacket.
    • From her book Piece by Piece
  • ...the most influential journeys I have had have been with Ayahuasca, the vine from the Amazon, the combination of that and mushrooms. They give me the trots and such! It's very much a medicine woman, medicine man's journey drug, where you go inside. It's not a social thing. It's an internal experience. I experiment with things that are usually an internal experience, because that's just what excites me. And yes, it does sometimes give me visions. But my intention when I am doing it is very different than recreational. I don't do it recreationally. I do it to go do inner work, and I'm very clear before I do it what I'm searching for. That way, there's no abuse suffered and I don't rely on it. It's just one more tool that I use sometimes.
    • Interview, 9/11/94, for Internet by Michael Pearce
  • Yeah, there was a period in the late '80s where I was working with different shaman. Myself and a friend, Beene, would take ayahuasca - but it wouldn't be in the liquid form, it would be a freeze-dried pill - and mushrooms. Some of those trips were eighteen hours long and I'll never forget, once I ended up sitting by the bush trying to ask the flowers why they didn't like me. It's like, Why can't I be your friend? I was crawling out of my skin at that time. In my twenties I was really... I was just losing my mind.
    • Q - May 1998
  • Men have periods, too... they just don´t bleed.
    • Tori Amos
  • I love my Saab.
  • I got a Saab Convertible.
    • Interview, Bang Magazine, December 2003
  • And I started to think about this story that was taking over my car at that moment. "Jamaica Inn" walked into my Saab and she said, "You might not like my story because i'm not gonna tell you how it ends yet, and you need to travel it with me.
    • The Beekeeper DVD
  • And my Saab is so great I'm gonna marry it.
    • Hello Magazine Interview 2005
  • Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.
    • American Doll Posse, biography by Pip
  • "Beck's bass player (Justin Meldal-Johnsen) suggested I do a cover of Slayer's 'Raining Blood," she says applying strawberry lib balm with her pinkie. "I was reading about what was going on in Afghanistan--the way women were being oppressed, the destruction of religious statues. And when i heard that song, i just imagined a huge juicy vagina coming out of the sky, raining blood over all those racist, misogynist fuckers."
    • Interview in Spin Magazine, 2001


  • And I rode along side
    Till you lost me there
    In the open road
    And I rode along side
    Till the honey spread
    Itself so thin
    For me to break your bread
    For me to take your word
    I had to steal it.
    • "A Sorta Fairytale"
  • You could taste heaven perfectly.
    • "A Sorta Fairytale"
  • An angel's face is tricky to wear constantly.
    • "Purple People (Christmas in Space)"
  • Just what God needs: one more victim.
    Why do we crucify ourselves?
    • "Crucify"
  • Got enough guilt to start my own religion.
    • "Crucify"
  • I've got a cat named Easter; he says, 'Will you ever learn?
    You're just an empty cage, girl, if you kill the bird.'
    • "Crucify"
  • I found the secret to life; I'm okay when everything is not okay
    • "Upside Down"
  • God, sometimes you just don't come through. Do you need a woman to look after you?
    • "God"
  • So if I die today, I'll be the happy phantom,
    And I'll go chasing the nuns out in the yard,
    ...And the atrocities of school I can forgive:
    The happy phantom has no right to bitch.
    • "Happy Phantom"
  • Look, I'm standing naked before you;
    Don't you want more than my sex?
    I can scream as loud as your last one,
    But I can't claim innocence.
    • "Leather"
  • So you can make me cum; that doesn't make you Jesus.
    • "Precious Things"
  • So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts.
    What's so amazing about really deep thoughts?
    Boy, you'd best pray that I bleed real soon --
    How's that thought for you?
    • "Silent All These Years"
  • Years go by
    Will I still be waiting
    For somebody else to understand
    Years go by
    If I'm stripped of my beauty
    And the orange clouds
    Raining in head
    Years go by
    Will I choke on my tears
    Till finally there is nothing left
    One more casualty
    You know we're too easy Easy Easy
    • "Silent All These Years"
  • I think there are pieces of me you've never seen.
    • "Tear In Your Hand"
  • I can't believe that I would keep, keep you from flying
    And I would cry a thousand more
    if that's what it takes to sail you home.
    • "1000 Oceans"
  • If you know me so well, then tell me which hand I use.
    • "Yes, Anastasia"
  • A man bites into a dry peach and says "This peach is not good;" the peach replies "It is not my fault that you don't know the proper use for a dry peach."
    • A quote from the special inclusions in the sheet music book for her album "Under the Pink"
  • Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again.
    • "Little Earthquakes"
  • Nothing's gonna stop me from floating.
    • "Father Lucifer"
  • I have got my rape hat on, honey, but I always could accessorize.
    • "Talula"
  • You thought that you were the bomb, yes well so did I.
    • "Spark"
  • Just having thoughts of Marianne, quickest girl in the frying pan.
    • "Marianne"
  • Say a word to the hangman for me, me and my baby.
    • "Little Amsterdam
  • Is it sweet, your sting?
    • "Sweet the Sting"
  • So she prays for a prankster and lust in the marriage bed
    And he waits till she can give
    And he waits and he waits.
    • Lust, a song on a couple's healing after trauma.
  • And I fear my fear is greater than my faith
    • Suede
  • Driving in my Saab, on my way to Ireland.
    • Ireland

External links

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Simple English

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.

Early life

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.

Music career begins

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.

Solo career

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.

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