Born in North Carolina on August 22, 1963 as Myrna Ellen Amos, Tori Amos was raised in Maryland with a Methodist preacher as a father. She learned how to play the piano at two and a half years old, began composing songs at age four and by five she won a scholarship to Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she was expelled six years later for playing by ear instead of learning to read music -- the first sign of her rebellion and individuality in music.
In her teen years, Amos honed her craft by performing gigs at various bars, clubs and lounges. Before she even graduated high school she released her first single "Baltimore"/"Walking with You," a tribute to the baseball team the Baltimore Orioles, under her own label MAE, her initials.
Attempting to earn a record label a few years after high school, 21-year-old Amos moved to LA, where she changed her name to Tori. Atlantic Records signed her on three years later as the lead singer for a metal band called Y Kant Tori Read. The band released its first self-titled album in 1988, but the record failed to sell decently.
Amos moved to England in 1991, and it was then the movie Thelma and Louise came out and inspired her to write a song about her rape experience six years ago in LA. She performed the result, "Me and a Gun," the same day she wrote it, and the song was released that fall as her first single under her own name. Amos wrote eleven more songs and completed the album Little Earthquakes, which topped British charts.
Amos' third album, Under the Park, was released in 1994, and two years later she played the harpsichord for Boys for Pele, her highest-charting album. She has recorded seven albums since then, her most recent being The Beekeeper (2005), which exposes complications in today's world.
- Demain, Bill. In Their Own Words. Westport: Praeger, 2004.
- Gaar, Gillian G. She's A Rebel The History of Women in Rock & Roll. New York: Seal Press, 1992.
- Photo courtesy of http://www.toriamos.com