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Tori Amos Biography

Home > Music > A > Amos, Tori > Biography

Birth Name: Myra Ellen Amos
Born: 1963/08/22
Birth Place: Newton, North Carolina, United States
Years Active: 1986–present
Genres: Alternative Rock, Baroque Pop, Electronica, Piano Rock

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer-songwriter whose musical career began in 1980, at the age of seventeen, when she and her brother co-wrote the song "Baltimore." The song was selected as the winning song in a contest for the Baltimore Orioles and was recorded and pressed locally as a 7" single.

Amos' solo career began in October 1991 with the UK release of the “Me and a Gun” EP. The following month, after the first track on the EP was receiving more airplay than the title track, the label reissued the EP with the same artwork, but changed the title to “Silent All These Years.” Although the second version of the EP reached only #51 on the UK charts, BBC Radio 1 picked it as "Record of the Week", which helped Amos get her initial exposure.

Her debut solo album, “Little Earthquakes,” was released two months later in January 1992. The album peaked at #14 on the UK Top 40 and at #54 on the Billboard Top 200. Upon its release, the album received mostly positive reviews and was labeled an important album that kick-started the female singer-songwriter movement of the 1990s. Despite reaching only #54 on the Billboard 200, Little Earthquakes was a mainstay on the chart for 38 weeks and remains Amos' highest-selling album in the United States.

Subsequent albums with Atlantic were released at approximately two-year intervals. Amos' sophomore effort, “Under the Pink,” co-produced with Eric Rosse, debuted in February 1994 at #12 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the UK Top 40. ‘Boys for Pele,” Amos' third solo album and the first album that was self-produced, debuted in January 1996 at #2 on both the US and UK charts, making it her highest simultaneous trans-Atlantic debut.

“From the Choirgirl Hotel,” Amos' first album written and recorded with band mates Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass and Steve Caton on guitar, and her first album recorded at her in-home Recording studio, Martian Engineering, debuted in May 1998 at #5 on the Billboard 200 and at #6 on the UK Top 40.

The following year, “To Venus and Back,”a double album of studio and live material recorded with Chamberlin, Evans and Caton, debuted in September 1999 at #12 in the US and at #22 in the UK. In September 2001, “Strange Little Girls,” a covers album recorded with Chamberlin on drums, Evans and Justin Meldal-Johnsen on bass and Adrian Belew on guitar, debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 and at #16 on the UK Top 40.

Over the next five years, Amos released three albums through the Epic Records label: “Scarlet's Walk” in October 2002, “The Beekeeper” in February 2005 and “American Doll Posse” in May 2007. All three albums released through Epic were recorded with Chamberlin on drums, Evans on bass and Mac Aladdin on guitar, and debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, placing Amos in an elite group of women who have secured five or more Top 10 album debuts.

In early 2009, Amos signed a distribution, or joint-venture, deal with Universal Republic Records, which granted her greater creative control over her work than traditional recording contracts. Amos released two albums her first year under the contract: “Abnormally Attracted to Sin” in May 2009 and the seasonal album “Midwinter Graces,” featuring reworked Christmas carols and some original songs, in November 2009. “Abnormally Attracted to Sin” is Amos's seventh album to debut in US Top 10 on the Billboard 200.