Myra Ellen “Tori” Amos (born August 22, 1963) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Having already begun composing instrumental pieces on piano, Amos won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of five, the youngest person ever to have been admitted. She was expelled at the age of 11 for what Rolling Stone described as “musical insubordination“. Amos was the lead singer of the short-lived 1980s pop group Y Kant Tori Read before achieving her breakthrough as a solo artist in the early 1990s. Her songs focus on a broad range of topics, including sexuality, feminism, politics, and religion.
Discography: 15 studio albums, from 1992 – 2017
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When she was two years old, her family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where her father had transplanted his Methodist ministry from its original base in Washington, D.C. Her older brother and sister took piano lessons, but Tori did not need them. From the time she could reach the piano, she taught herself to play: when she was two, she could reproduce pieces of music she had only heard once, and, by the age of three, she was composing her own songs. She has described seeing music as structures of light since early childhood, an experience consistent with chromesthesia:
The song appears as light filament once I’ve cracked it. As long as I’ve been doing this, which is more than thirty-five years, I’ve never seen the same light creature in my life. Obviously similar chord progressions follow similar light patterns, but try to imagine the best kaleidoscope ever—after the initial excitement, you start to focus on each element’s stunning original detail. For instance, the sound of the words with the sound of the chord progression combined with the rhythm manifests itself in a unique expression of the architecture of color-and-light. … I started visiting this world when I was three, listening to a piece by Béla Bartók; I visited a configuration that day that wasn’t on this earth. … It was euphoric.