Myra Ellen Amos was born in North Carolina in 1963. A musical prodigy, 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.
At the age of five she won a full scholarship to study classical piano at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, the youngest person ever to have been admitted. However, the teachers forced her to learn to read music, while Tori preferred to play it as it came to her. At the age of 11 she was expelled.
After winning a county teen talent contest in 1977, she permanently adopted the name Tori. By the time she was 17, she had a stock of homemade demo tapes that her father regularly sent out to record companies. She eventually signed with Atlantic Records, moving to Los Angeles in 1984 to pursue her music career.
Tori was the lead singer of the short-lived 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.
She married English sound engineer Mark Hawley in 1998 and they have a daughter Natasha (Tash) born in 2000. The family divides its time between Florida, Ireland and Cornwall in the UK. With a strong desire to distance herself from record company executives, she had the barn of her home in Cornwall converted into a state-of-the-art recording studio.
In 1994, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), a toll-free help line in the US connecting callers with their local rape crisis centre, was founded. Tori, who was raped at knifepoint when she was 21, answered the ceremonial first call to launch the hotline and was the first national spokesperson. A concert in honour of her 50th birthday was held in 2003, which raised money for RAINN.
She has received five MTV VMA nominations and eight Grammy Award nominations.