Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 22: Singer, songwriter, pianist Tori Amos is 50-years-old today.

Born Myra Ellen Amos in Newton, North Carolina, "Tori" isone of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument.

Tori began composing instrumental pieces on piano by the age of five. She was awarded a full scholarship to the Preparatory Division of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, but the scholarship was rescinded when she was 11 and she was expelled. Amos says 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 who was a minister. 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."

Before this 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. 

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.

By 2005, Amos had sold 12 million albums worldwide. In September 2011, Amos released her first classical music album, Night of Hunters, featuring variations on a theme to pay tribute to such renowned composers as Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Granados, Satie and Schubert, through the Deutsche Grammophon label, a division of Universal Music Group. Amos recorded the album with several musicians, including the Apollon Musag├Ęte string quartet.

To mark the 20th anniversary of her debut album Little Earthquakes (1992), Amos released an album of songs from her back catalogue re-worked and re-recorded with the Metropole Orchestra. The album, titled Gold Dust, was released in October 2012 through Deutsche Grammophon. 

On May 1, 2012, Amos announced the formation of her own record label Transmission Galactic, which she intends to use to develop new artists. One of the first artists signed is singer/songwriter, Lawrence Casey.

Released in conjunction with The Beekeeper, Amos co-authored an autobiography in 2005 with rock music journalist Ann Powers entitled Piece by Piece. 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.

Boys for Pele

For more about Tori, visit her Website at –


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