Tori Amos has been in the music business since she was five years old. She was the youngest person ever to receive a full scholarship to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music at John Hopkins University. Trained as a classical pianist, Amos is also a vocalist who has a mezzo-soprano range. Talk about talent. These days, the musician is known for her songs which tackle issues like sexism, feminism, religion, politics, and sexuality.
She has around ten charting singles, five MTV VMA nominations, and eight Grammy nominations. Amos has come out with 16 albums, the latest of which, Ocean to Ocean, was released in 2021. Currently, Amos is on tour promoting her new album, which you can buy HERE.
Albums, Sound, and Influences:
Amos’ first album came out in 1988. She was singing lead vocals in a synth-pop band, Y Kant Tori Read. Steve Caton, Brad Cobb, and Matt Sorum (of Guns N’ Roses) were also in the band. Ultimately, the band only released one album also called Y Kant Tori Read, and then broke apart. In 1992, Amos released, Little Earthquakes, her first solo album. Listening to the album now, I’m taken by the pop-punk, lingering 80’s vibes. Amos’s throaty voice is at the center of the album, along with some interesting instrumental additions in piano and percussion. At times you can hear Amos’s classical training bleed through.
To Venus and Back
By 1999, Amos had come out with her fifth album. Again, we hear Amos’s siren-like voice, whispering and coxing from the sidelines. This fifth album, To Venus and Back, has some 80’s throwbacks like the song, “Glory of the 80’s,” but there are other things to note here. Amos names Radiohead’s album, Ok Computer, as a big influence on her. In To Venus and Back, listeners hear some of the same Radiohead-esque beats and slanted rhythm, along with grunge guitar. There’s also an element of the Cranberries (who Amos also mentions as a big influence) which can be picked out of the tracks.
Ocean to Ocean
Amos’ most recent album, her sixteenth, was written during the pandemic. Like the rest of the world, Amos was quarantining as COVID-19 took over the public consciousness. Amos was living in Cornwall at the time, with her husband. Her daughter had come for a short visit and ended up staying with Amos for several months because of the pandemic. Some of the songs on the new album are inspired by happenings with Amos and her daughter. For instance, Amos wrote the song “Spies,” for her daughter, which was about bats that flew into her daughter’s room in the Cornwall house. Amos’s daughter was so perturbed by the appearance of the bats, that Amos wrote a song almost like a lullaby for her adult daughter.
Themes like nature, mythology, environmentalism, loss, loneliness, and grief are also strung throughout the album. Ocean to Ocean feels down to earth, and it feels personal. In fact, the press release for Amos’ new album calls it her “most personal work in years – an album bursting with warmth and connection, with deep roots in her earliest song writing.” You can read the review in full HERE.
Concert at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
On Thursday, May 26th, Amos is set to play the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can find tickets to the event HERE. Tickets start at $49.
If you would like to find out more about concerts and events happening at the Michigan Theater, check out their website HERE.
Michigan Theater 603 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor. 734-668-8397. michtheater.org.