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Tori Amos Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 22 August 1963Newton, North Carolina, USA
Birth NameMyra Ellen Amos
Nickname 'T'
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (2)

At age one, Tori and her family moved to Baltimore, where she spent much of her childhood. She started playing piano at a very early age (2 1/2). At the age of five, she was accepted to the Peabody Conservatory of Music (Arts school); she was the youngest person to be accepted to the school. However, she soon discovered that there were conflicts between her wants and those of the school. At age 11, she was kicked out thereby making her the youngest person to be expelled from the school. She eventually ended up in a rock band called Y Kan't Tori Read, who released an album in 1988. The album was a severe flop, and the band broke up shortly thereafter. Tori has been doing her solo gig ever since, known for her strong voice, eccentric lyrics, and (of course) her exceptional skill on the piano.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Amir Caspi < cepheid@wam.umd.edu>

Born Myra Ellen Amos on August 22, 1963 in Newton, North Carolina (but moving to Baltimore, Maryland very shortly thereafter), singer/songwriter and sometimes-actress Tori Amos has accumulated one of the most ravenous, cult- like followings known to the entertainment industry. 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 the city,) Amos began recording demonstration songs and sending them out to the recording industry. She had already gained a following in the Washington, 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 and participated in various pop and hair-metal bands, including "Tess Makes Good" and "Skirts on Fire." Eventually she landed herself in a band called "Y Kant Tori Read." The members of the band were relative unknowns, although guitarist Steve Caton had performed with her for several years at that point and continued to do so until 1999 before leaving to pursue his own endeavors. "Y Kant Tori Read" eventually gathered attention from Atlantic Records and was signed to record an album with legendary 80's music producer Joe Chicarelli (who, in the meantime, got Tori various backup vocal gigs on projects by Pherron, Sandra Bernhard and even scored her a song in the soundtrack to the schlocky 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 the studio to record their first major label album, only Tori and Steve Caton remained. The rest of the band was fleshed out with singer/pianist Kim Bullard (of Kajagoogoo) and Matt Sorum (later of Guns and Roses). The eponymous debut album was a huge flop, selling less than 8,000 copies. The embarrassing music video which aired a few times on MTV featured Tori in skin tight leather pants and a halter top cavorting around a "downtown Los Angeles" studio set with sky-high hair, waving around a sword and dancing with bikers and rock-n-roll girls in pink tutus. The huge failure put Tori in a funk, but her record label was willing to give her one more shot. She switched gears back to the girl-with-a-piano sound she had focused on for much of her youth. (Amos was the youngest person admitted into the Baltimore Peabody Conservatory, though she was kicked out a few years later for refusing to read sheet music. Thus the name of her hair-metal band.) Eventually, through encouragement from friends, she put together the group of songs that would make up her first solo album, "Little Earthquakes." Because the content and sound of the music in "Little Earthquakes" was so different than what was being played on American radio, Atlantic moved Tori to London, England where she almost instantly became a smash hit. Gathering frequent comparisons to Kate Bush, Amos was labeled as a "fruit- loop" and a "kook" by the British press. Who was this 5 foot 1/2" redhead, wearing swimsuits with blue jeans over them, performing intensely personal piano-pop while writhing at her instrument? Amos' debut album eventually garnered several hit singles in both the UK and the US including "Winter," "Silent All These Years," "Crucify" and "China." The most startling song, however, was a track called "Me and a Gun." It was an a'capella account of her own experience with rape, and its impact would be felt by Tori over the next few years. She also gained further notice by releasing an E.P. of the song "Crucify" with three cover songs, most notably a remake of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." This would mark Tori's habit of completely reinterprereting other people's works in live performances and as B-sides. At this point Tori started what would become a trademark style of touring for her, spending almost a year tirelessly touring the entire world. She also began her habit of contributing new works to soundtrack albums with the song "Happy Workers" on the TOYS soundtrack. In 1994 Tori released her second album, "Under the Pink." Where her first album was very diary-like, confessional and piano-pop oriented, "Under the Pink" was fleshed out with full orchestral arrangements, lots of guitars and drums, and even a little industrial-techno (on the song "The Waitress"). The album was also lyrically much more inaccessible, with subtext on top of subtext. Songs like "Past the Mission," a hit single, dealt with the sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdelene. It was at this point Tori really developed an underground following of fans who would research and hang onto every word she uttered in an interview, hoping to get a clearer understanding of her music. The album also had hits with "Pretty Good Year," "God," and "Cornflake Girl," a song that addressed the topic of African female genitalia mutilation (in relation to Alice Walker's book "Possessing the Secret of Joy"). The song "God" opened up Tori's ongoing rivalry with the religious right, who objected to the song's content. "God sometimes you just don't come through/Do you need a woman to look after you?" The song was even sent out to radio stations on a promo disc with "some guitar/no guitar" remix versions to lessen the harsh sound. At this time Tori was receiving so many 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, and is to this date, the nation's only 24 hour, completely confidential and toll free hotline for victims of sexual assault. It has gone close to collapse several times and has relied on Tori's generosity to pull itself through. She also contributed the songs "Butterfly" and "Losing My Religion" (a cover of R.E.M.'s hit) to the soundtrack of "Higher Learning." In 1996 Tori released her third album, "Boys For Pele," to critical acclaim but lower album sales. It became clear that she intended to not let up on the cryptical lyricism. On this album she also introduced songs centered around the harpsichord, clavichord and harmonium organ. As she had brought the piano back into the pop scene in 1992, with "Boys For Pele" she crafted incredibly complex pop songs around these antiquated instruments along with orchestra, brass bands and gospel choirs. The album consisted of 19 tracks (and almost 20 non-album tracks released as B-sides on singles). She collaborated with George Porter Jr. of The Meters on the album, which featured southern-influenced artwork including a photo of Tori breast feeding a piglet. (This image was on a billboard in Los Angeles and caused a car accident, resulting in a publicized lawsuit. The image was removed from library-issued copies of the album.) The album dealt with the theme of the male relationships in Tori's life, most notably her breakup with Eric Rossee, former record producer whom she had been involved with for nearly 7 years. (Pele is a Hawaiian volcano goddess to whom male sacrifices are made.) The album spawned hits with "Caught A Lite Sneeze" (which made history as the first song made available as a download on the internet by the recording industry), "Talula" (which was remixed by dance artist B.T. and included in the soundtrack to the film "Twister"), "Professional Widow," "In the Springtime of His Voodoo" and "Hey Jupiter." At this time Amos did something no one expected, and allowed her music to be remixed and released to dance clubs. The song "Professional Widow," originally a rough, punkish harpsichord dirge about Courtney Love and her involvement in husband Kurt Cobain's death, became a huge smash dance club hit when artist Armand Van Helden remixed it using only the lines "Honey, bring it close to my lips" and "It's Gotta be Big." The remix brought Amos her biggest hit yet, and propelled Van Helden to stardom although years later 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 a song called "Blue Skies." BT attended one of Tori's concert soundchecks and had her improvise the lyrics to the song, which he then mixed into a #1 dance hit. Amos, in the meantime, continued to rigorously tour the world. During her 1997 tour she took up a relationship with her sound engineer Mark Hawley, and suffered a miscarriage. In 1998 she released the album "From the Choirgirl Hotel," which dealt very strongly with her miscarriage and the idea of loss. The album was her most accessible since "Little Earthquakes," and even more radio friendly. It was also her first venture with a full rock band since "Y Kant Tori Read" in 1988. However mainstream the album's sound was, with rock influence, and even a full on techno song ("Hotel"), the lyrics remained cryptic as ever. The album artwork featured Amos in various wacky outfits, having been full-body scanned on a human sized photocopier. The album spawned the hit singles "Spark," "Cruel," "Raspberry Swirl," and "Jackie's Strength." The latter was remixed into a dance hit; it dealt with a young woman's reaction to the death of Jackie Kennedy and its relevance to her own wedding. The song "Raspberry Swirl" was nominated for a Grammy award for best alternative performance. The tour for the album was one of the most successful of the year. In 1998 Tori also toured with Alanis Morrissete, causing quite a stir among fans. Tori performed before Alanis, labeling her as the opening act, although it was a co-tour and the simple fact was that Tori 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 one disc 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 as past efforts, although it spawned the hits "Bliss," "Concertina" and "1,000 Oceans." She toured to support the album with a full band. She also married her sound engineer, Mark Hawley. In the year 2000 Tori and Mark gave birth to their first child, Natashya Lórien Hawley. In 2001 Amos released "Strange Little Girls," an album of 12 cover songs. This album was a full-on concept album. Amos' goal was to re-interpret these songs, all written by male artists about female characters, from a female point of view. She created 13 female characters (one each for 11 songs plus a set of twins). She brought on longtime-colleague makeup artist Kevin Aucoin to create the characters and had photos taken of each. The songs on the album all deal with violence and men's views of women. She tackles such songs as "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by the Beatles from the point of view of the prostitute who visited John Lennon's assassin hours before the murder; "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" by Eminem from the point of view of the slaughtered and dying wife in the trunk of the car; and "Heart of Gold" from the point of view of twins involved in international espionage. As if all of this weren't enough, she also brought on legendary comic book and novel author Neil Gaiman to write short stories about each character, although they were reduced to simple quotes in the liner notes. The album was released with 4 different covers. Tori continues to make popular, interesting music on her own terms. Although she has participated in acting projects in the past (a "Kellog's Just Right" commercial and a guest role in the TV courtroom drama "Trial by Jury," both in the late 80s during her hair-metal phase), she doesn't seem in a hurry to keep it up.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Melissa Lefton

Spouse (1)

Mark Hawley (22 February 1998 - present) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Flame-red hair, couture outfits and expensive shoes
Mezzo-soprano vocals
Eccentric personality

Trivia (32)

In high school, Tori was voted Homecoming Queen, Choir Flirt, and Most Likely To Suceed.
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. [1996]
She gave birth to a 7 pound, 1 ounce baby girl, named 'Natashya Lorien'. [September 2000]
Born at 1:10 PM EDT
Her father is Methodist minister Dr. Rev. Edison Amos of Rockville, Maryland. His commentary on the second amendment is featured in sound clips on her song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" (a Beatles cover).
Resides in Cornwall, England and West Palm Beach, Florida.
Her husband is from England.
Has received 7 Grammy nominations, sold close to 20 million albums worldwide (despite recieving little, if any mainstream airplay) and according to VH1, is the 77th greatest woman in rock n' roll history.
Toured with Alanis Morissette in 1999.
Ranked #71 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
Is good friends with Trent Reznor, who sang the background vocals on her song "Past the Mission" from her album "Under The Pink".
Lost her older brother, Michael Amos, in a tragic car accident in November of 2004.
Close friend of writer Neil Gaiman, who dedicated to her the character of "Delirium" in his comic saga "Sandman".
She is famous for her skill to play covers of famous songs on the piano. Her first strike was the piano cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit". At her concerts, there is always the Tori Amos Pianobar Moment, where she plays covers requested by her fans.
Tori has stated that two of her maternal great-great-grandparents were Cherokee Native American (though all of her maternal great-grandparents were listed as "White" on United States censuses). Tori often has Native American influences in her songs, esp. on the album "Scarlet's Walk", which includes the song "Wampum Prayer", a tribute to Native Americans.
Was offered the part of Sarah in The Crow: City of Angels (1996), but refused because she did not like the character. In an interview, she attributed the refusal of the role to the fact that the character had poor choice of footwear.
Refers to her songs as "girls".
May 2007: Named Epic's Jane Magazine's Artist of the Month.
1st May 2007: Released her ninth studio album: "American Doll Posse". It was written and produced by Tori at Martian Engineering in Cornwell, England, UK. The physical version was available in two different formats: the Standard Version and the Limited Edition CD/DVD Deluxe Version. The bonus DVD featured Behind The Scenes footage of the album photo shoot, an exclusive photo gallery, and the bonus track "My Posse Can Do". The Limited Edition version also included five collectible postcards, and a full color thirty six page booklet. Purchases from select independent retailers in the US, also came with a free 11"x26" Tori Amos lithograph.
Ranked #77 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
Recorded the song "Past the Mission" in the Beverly Hills mansion where Sharon Tate was murdered.
Good friend of Björk.
Is a fan of playwright Tennessee Williams.
Owns a home in Cork, Ireland.
Released her tenth studio album "Abnormally Attracted to Sin" on May 19th, 2009 with plans for a summer tour. [May 2009]
Preparing to release her 9th studio album "American Doll Posse" in May 2007 and follow with a world tour. [March 2007]
Touring solo (for the first time since 2001) in support of her new album "The Beekeeper" [April 2005]
Release of her book, "Piece by Piece". [2005]
Continues to tour in support of her album "Scarlet's Walk". [August 2003]
Wrote a song about the 9/11 Tragedy: "I can't see New York".
The lyric "I heard the eternal footman bought himself a bike to race" from "Pretty Good Year", is a reference to T S Eliot's "Prufrock" poem.

Personal Quotes (48)

I know I'm an acquired taste: I'm anchovies. And not everyone wants those hairy little things. If I was potato chips, I could go more places.
Stuff is the issue...
I'm too wacky for most weirdos, who am I to judge ?
The music is the magic carpet that other things take naps on
If you call me an airy-faerie, new age, hippy waif, I will cut off your penis.
I just try to strip myself, peel myself like an onion. At different layers I discover stuff. I do it publicly, and if it helps to inspire somebody else, which inspires somebody else, we're talking about a really exciting world here.
[after breast-feeding her daughter for the first time] An ounce of breast milk is even more potent then the finest tequila.
[about the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on New York] Don't you think it's really important now that there's a forum, that we're talking about all sides of what happened September 11 and what led up to it? We need to do some research; we need to think about, Why is the world where it is? It's so deep-rooted, if we really start looking, and we might not like what we find. But I think we have to, we have to ask the questions.
In our minds, love and lust are really separated. It's hard to find someone that can be kind and you can trust enough to leave your kids with, and isn't afraid to throw her man up against the wall and lick him from head to toe.
I'm beyond the fury of youth. I love young women who are angry. They're wild mustangs. But if you don't transcend that, you become a very disturbed 40-year-old.
Great composers are collectors of ideas first.
[on the piano] It plays me, really. I don't play it. There is a surrender to what the instrument is capable of it and I try to listen to it.
[on her daughter] I didn't want her looking and hearing me and thinking, "Oh my God, that's a scary lady!"
I see the dream and I see the nightmare, and I believe you can't have the dream without the nightmare.
The whole Bible Belt banned me for "Crucify" because they thought I was being sacrilegious. They felt that it was detrimental material for their children and that it was blasphemous.
I mean just 'cause you're a piano player, I think people just have an idea of what that is. They've decided they kinda' have you figured out.
[on growing up as a minister's daughter] I was taught a belief system where there wasn't really any room to discover my own belief system.
God is, "Hey buddy, I think you need a babe. Sit down. And I just happen to be around." The whole concept of God that our institutions have taught us, whatever it is, it's not just Christianity but the whole rigmarole, to me isn't what it truly is.
My nightmares are so bad, that I mostly reject it when my friends want to take me to a cinema to watch a horror movie. Then I say, "No, thank you. I will dream in a few hours."
When I sleep I often have nightmares. I can already hear your readers saying, "I knew that. The way your songs sound you must really have horrible nightmares."
I don't know of anybody who's gonna be fulfilled if they get hit by a bus. You have to surrender to that eternal need to be fulfilled.
There's room for everybody on the planet to be creative and conscious if you are your own person. If you're trying to be like someone else, then there isn't.
I run into Pentecostals all the time . . . a lot of them are my friends, and they say, "Tori, I hope you find Jesus." I say, "How do you know I'm not having a margarita with Jesus tonight at 10 o'clock?"
Let's be honest, religion has not supported women and men exploring all sorts of their sides, their unconscious. It has not been supportive of, you know, go into the places without shame, without blame, without judgment, and just let yourself really see what's cooking in there.
I think human beings are so much more capable of what they told us we're capable of.
Anyone can attend yoga, kabbalah classes, church, lectures by the 'Dalai Lama', yada, yada, yada - but can you be present for your life, and live with the way you treat other people?
If you can hang around till you're 41 and not frighten people when you walk in the room, you're O.K.
Seven years I would turn in tapes to record companies; after seven years of rejection of my own music, I believed them when they said, "This girl-at-her-piano thing is never gonna happen . . . Get a band, do metal, do dance, do whatever" - and I did them all. I had my limit of how much rejection I could take. I didn't believe in myself enough.
Some people get baptized with sprinkles, well, I had my head down in the water for 25 years.
It's all about draining you of your passion. That's what religion is about - cutting off the physical from the spiritual.
When someone asks me if I've found Jesus, I say, "Yeah, I saw him at a Nirvana concert a couple of years ago." It's like, Jesus has got things to do, he's got a ten o'clock. He's not going to fix things for me, I have to fix things for myself, so I try and have a sense of humor about it and nobody finds my humor very amusing. We've just got to lighten up on the savior bit, folks. You know, get off the cross, we need the wood.
I was supposed to be a concert pianist but I was more interested in what Stevie Wonder was doing.
Only a few people should have a "greatest hits". I'm not one of those people.
[on the aftermath of the 9/11 attack] I feel like our leaders have hijacked America's personality, and taken her to personality plastic surgery school. And they decided this is who she is.
It's uncomfortable when I'm sitting down to a plate of spaghetti, when I'm having dinner and somebody wants to know all about the rape or all about "Professional Widow" and how I became an emotional vampire.
It's a very humbling experience. I can't possess a song. The songs are like live entities for me. I have to put them out in the world, and it's none of my business what relationships the songs form. As an artist, I have to make peace with that.
The playground is the biggest war-zone in the world.
Do you know how hard it is for Artists to travel?
You have to read visionaries to have visions.
They squash the baby bird because their bird got squashed.
There are people who will tell you that bad things only happen to bad people. That's a lie.
["Pancake" lyric] Seems in vogue to be a closet misogynist homophobe.
I love reading. I'll read the first sentence and if it makes sense to me I pick it up. I really like Joseph Campbell.
When it comes to music a lot of people only have their radio. They don't even know what's out there it's like cutting your own throat.... All that stuff "baby make it alright", is not my style, I'm more graphic.
It's ridiculous saying there's only one true faith, it's like saying there's only one map to get you up the mountain. I want to see those other maps, man.
[songwriting] I kinda have all the aspects of my personality round one table for spaghetti.
The Universities are amazing: every ear is whispered in, it's almost like a womb.
When your heart explodes/ is it deathly cold/ you must let the colors violate the/ blackness/ there is/ a Magic World Parallel/ so leave your/ Daily Hell/ Welcome to England he said/ welcome to my World.... you better bring your own sun/ sweet girl/ you gotta bring your own sun/ don't you forget you gotta bring your own sun/ just enough for everyone.

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