Tori Amos, Goddess of Rock and Roll, and the piano. The girl who has been through so much, but still lives to tell about it and share all of her life experiences through her songs. Her life is almost like a song itself, with all of the trials and tribulations one can imagine. Amos, who was born in Newton, North Carolina on August 22nd, 1963 wasnt originally called Tori. Her given name was Myra Ellen. The change of her name came later in her career. Right from the beginning, her talents on the piano were recognized.
At the young age of three, before her legs were even long enough to reach the pedals, she as climbing up to the piano bench to play a song. By the age of five, she was the youngest student to ever be accepted to the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She stayed at the Conservatory for several years, but by the age of eleven she was asked to leave because she didnt want to play the music that was required of her. She once stated in an interview on the Rosie ODonnell Show, Those guys are dead, why do I want to play that crap! I want to be a composer… dont we all… but I did.
After getting kicked out of the school she began playing at piano bars. Her father lways was tagging along, because she wasnt old enough to go alone. She played at the bars, in addition to a Marriot hotel, until she graduated from high school. Sometime after that Ellen, as she was called, changed her name. One of Toris sisters brought her boyfriend to one of Toris shows one night to see her play. After the show the boyfriend told Amos that she indeed was not an Ellen. She looked like a Tori, and that is how it all began. After high school, she joined a band called Y Kant Tori Read.
The band signed to the Atlantic record label, and worked on the release of their first album. Their CD release flopped, and the band broke up. When their CD was first released, not many people wanted it. Amazingly enough, the CD now goes for around one hundred dollars as a Tori collectors item. During this time, Tori was still doing little gigs here and there. One night after a show, something happened that changed her life dramatically. Tori offered a member of the audience a ride home after the show, and he raped her in the back of the car with a gun to her head.
After it happened, Tori didnt tell anyone. She kept everything to herself, and it broke her down emotionally. These stressful experiences seemed to be too much for Tori and she suffered a sort of nervous break-down where she stopped playing the piano completely. She said she was laying on her kitchen floor for 6 months, moping and depressed (Rosenblat & Watts). Realizing that she needed to get a grip on her life, Tori moved to London to take some time off and concentrate solely on the piano. She started writing songs for the release of her solo career.
Little Earthquakes was released in 1992. On this album was a song titled Me and A Gun. Tori wrote the song about the rape. It was her way of inally getting it out. She saw the movie Thelma and Louise, and realized that she wasnt alone, and it wasnt her fault. … People had to move away from me in the theater, just because I was sobbing… I was like a little well spout… (20/20). Little Earthquakes sold over 2 million copies, and Toris musical career was finally on its way. Many fans credit their survival of their rape or abuse to Tori and her music.
It was like I instantly knew what she was talking about, and I locked my door, and I put the song on repeat, and I sat on the floor, and just absolutely sobbed. It was just so amazing o suddenly feel like Im not all alone, and this is normal to be feeling this way. This is what a rape survivor once spoke about Tori on the ABC news show 20/20. After her first release, several more came along with; Under the Pink, Boys for Pele, From the Choirgirl Hotel, and just recently, To Venus and Back. Tori also started a crisis hot-line that people can call if theyve been raped, abused, or if they just need help coping.
It is called RAINN, an acronym for Rape Abuse Incest National Network. Tori has done everything from benefit concerts, to having Steve Madden make a shoe that all proceeds go to RAINN when bought. Toris structure of personality seems to be ruled by the ego. She isnt completely self-involved, like the id, and she isnt morally perfect like the superego. She has done some moral things, like starting the hot-line for victims, and playing benefit shows, but has also does things that arent perfect. She doesnt always follow the guidelines to being morally correct. The PC thing, thats not my scene. I lay it out on the table.
If someone is going to take their lithium, do a line, or read the Bible, go for it. As long as you dont hurt anyone else, its all the same to me (Hendrickson, 204). She curses, she rinks wine, and she sometimes is flat out offensive; but she is honest, and she does speak her mind. Perhaps Tori got stuck in the Oral stage. She seems to have some sort of an oral fixation. She sings, and she is a stickler for good wine. Al Stewart got me into wine… he told me bourdeu is for intellect. So I have a lot of bourdeu – I need that (Leno). Repression was a major defense mechanism that Tori used for a long time in her life.
After she was raped, she kept it all inside, almost trying to forget it ever happened. Luckily, she got past that stage in her life, and let it out. If it wasnt for Tori, thousands f people might be feeling alone, and feeling guilty for something someone else did to them. Tori also went through a lot of anxiety in her life. She dealt with everything from getting kicked out of school, to being raped. She always lifted her head up, though, and found a solution. When she was kicked out, she found jobs; when her first album failed, she tried again; when she was raped, she wrote a song to help out others going through the same pain.
She stopped using defense mechanisms, and dealt with the problems first-hand. Tori doesnt do anything that portrays a bad image to her fans. She doesnt smoke, and besides her wine, she doesnt drink. She has stated in interviews that she has tried drugs in the past… but what kid hasnt. She doesnt influence anything harmful upon her fans. The only thing she does say, is for people to stand up for themselves. Tori is proof to positive reinforcement. She has overcome so many obstacles in her life, and tried her best. Shes worked so hard to get where she is today. An intervening variable that Tori uses to help herself is her songs.
My songs have always been reflective of what is going on in my life at a particular time,” she says. These songs are not about make-ups or break-ups. And they’re not concerned about who is sleeping with whom. They’re about the things that go on in a woman’s heart – the things that are expressed and the things that have to remain hidden. ” (DeFretos) When things go bad for her, she writes about it, to get all of the anger out. Her lyrics are of a different kind. They talk in a metaphoric language.
With lines that range from … It was me and a gun and a man on my back But I haven’t seen BARBADOS so I must get out of this… Me and A Gun, 1992) where she sings about her rape, to … Boys on my left side boys on my right side, boys in the middle and you’re not here. I need a big loan from the girl zone… (Caught a Lite Sneeze, 1995) a song about her getting over a relationship, and her desire of becoming a woman again. I believe that Tori Amos has reached self-actualization. She knows what she wants in her life. She is stable with her life, she is married, happy with her career, and is adored by thousands. Tori is also noted for having the largest fan base on the Internet.
Even though bad things have happened to her, she has managed to overcome them, and et her life in line. Tori is a well-rounded person. She has achieved so much as a singer, a writer, and a person. Feminism is limited. I run my own publishing company. I run my own label. I was the youngest student ever at the Peabody Conservatory. I was a musician first. I held my own with the bad boys that can play their asses off. I wasn’t just the girl singer. But I don’t want to have to play it better than a man. That’s what makes me puke. I just want to play it like it is. ” (Irvine) And thats the way Tori sees it. Plain and simple.