||This article needs to be wikified. (October 2011)|
Tori Amos at a concert in Berlin in 2007
|Birth name||Myra Ellen Amos|
|Born||August 22, 1963
Newton, North Carolina, United States
|Genres||Piano rock, art pop, alternative rock, electronica, classical|
|Occupations||Musician, vocalist, songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Piano, harpsichord, clavichord, Hammond organ, harmonium, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Kurzweil, clavinet, vocals|
|Associated acts||Y Kant Tori Read|
She was born Newton, North Carolina. Her father, Edison Amos, is a Methodist minister. Her mother, Mary Ellen Amos, is part 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 [change]
Tori Amos was a very 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. She not like playing music that was written by other people as much as she liked playing her own music. 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. The song on the other side of the record 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 large amount of money.
Music career begins [change]
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 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 guitarist Steve Caton, drummer Matt Sorum, bass guitarist Brad Cobb and keyboard player 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 [change]
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. Reviewers had different opinions about the album. 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. Oftentimes 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 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 Adrien 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 has both traditional carols and original songs by Tori.
- Little Earthquakes (1992)
- Under the Pink (1994)
- Boys for Pele (1996)
- From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998)
- To Venus and Back (1999)
- Strange Little Girls (2001)
- Scarlet's Walk (2002)
- The Beekeeper (2005)
- American Doll Posse (2007)
- Abnormally Attracted to Sin (2009)
- Midwinter Graces (2009)
- Night of Hunters (2011)
- Gold Dust (2012)
Awards and nominations [change]
|1995||Under The Pink||Best Alternative Music Album||Nominated|
|1997||Boys for Pele||Best Alternative Music Album||Nominated|
|1999||From the Choirgirl Hotel||Best Alternative Music Album||Nominated|
|"Raspberry Swirl"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|2000||To Venus and Back||Best Alternative Music Album||Nominated|
|"Bliss"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|2002||Strange Little Girls||Best Alternative Music Album||Nominated|
|"Strange Little Girl"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1995||—||Best International Female||Nominated|
|1992||—||Best New Act||Won|
|1992||"Silent All These Years"||Best Female Video||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography in a Video||Nominated|
|Best New Artist in a Video||Nominated|
- Echo Klassik Awards
|2012||Night of Hunters||Klassik Ohne Grenzen (crossover classical) prize||Won|
- Rogers, Kalen (1994). Tori Amos: all these years : the authorized illustrated biography. Omnibus Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-7119-4827-3. http://books.google.com/?id=uYQeeqKlMjAC&pg=PT70. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
- Amos, Tori and Ann Powers (2005). Piece by Piece. New York: Broadway Books. pp. 49–50. ISBN 978-0-7679-1677-6.
- St. Leger, Marie Elsie (1994-02-24). "Under The Pink". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/under-the-pink-19940224. Retrieved July 3, 2012. "mezzo"
- "N.C. Music Hall of Fame offers tickets". The Salisbury Post. August 29, 2012. http://www.salisburypost.com/News/082912WEB--NC-Music-HAll--of-F. Retrieved September 10, 2012.