Tori Amos

Tori Amos

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Was one of several female singer/songwriters who combined the stark lyrical attack of alternative rock with a distinctly '70s musical approach, creating music that fell between the orchestrated meditations of Kate Bush and the stripped-down poetics of Joni Mitchell. In addition, she revived the singer/songwriter traditions of the '70s while re-establishing the piano as a rock & roll instrument. With her 1992 album Little Earthquakes, Amos built a dedicated following that expanded with her second album, Under the Pink, before giving way to a decade-spanning legacy.

Amos was born in North Carolina but raised in Maryland. She began singing and playing piano in the church choir at the age of four, and songwriting followed shortly afterward. Amos proved to be a quick learner, and her instrumental prowess earned her a scholarship to the preparatory school at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory. Atlantic Records signed her in 1987, and Amos recorded an uninspired pop-metal album called Y Kant Tori Read the following year. The record was a complete failure, attracting no attention from radio or press and selling very few copies; nevertheless, she didn't lose her record contract. By 1990, Amos had adopted a new approach, singing spare, haunting, semi-confessional piano ballads that were arranged like Kate Bush but had the melodies and lyrical approach of Joni Mitchell. Atlantic sponsored a trip to England in 1991, where she played a series of concerts in support of an EP, Me and a Gun.


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