Yep, I am a “Tori”
The seeds of the show were planted in 1998 when I saw an MTV music video starring Tori Amos. By this time Tori Amos had already distinguished herself as a child prodigy. She was composing piano pieces by the age of five and was, in fact, the youngest person ever admitted to the prestigious Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
I became an avid collector of her music and spent hours dissecting the lyrics and vocal styling of every song. Trust me, immersing myself into the magical words were a welcome distraction during my commute on the Chicago subways on days so cold your nostrils would stick together!
At my first concert (Under the Pink), Tori Amos walked out onto the stage makeup free, hair in a ponytail, dressed in old clothes and barefoot. That certainly caught my attention. Then, she sat down to play and I burst out crying after the first three notes … that’s how much her music spoke to me. For weeks I obsessed about it and then it hit me ………. I AM TORI AMOS! And, I began my quest to perform “as” Tori Amos! I wanted to “feel exactly what I saw” for my own self.
Since Tori Amos is of a “concert pianist level” and I didn’t know how to play a single instrument, I got a mic and amp, and would do performances (basically singing along with CDs) in my apartment for my supportive and most understanding friends. But my obsession didn’t stop there. I started dreaming of an act! At a corporate farewell party, a co-worker named me “Almost Amos”. Viola …. The act had a name!
After dragging my friend Eric to numerous open mics (where I would just sing along with a laptop of Tori Amos music called Midi files – music with no vocal – that Eric would operate), he surprised me with a keyboard for Christmas! This opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. And, now there were no excuses, I’d have to learn how to play keyboards. I didn’t want to disappoint Eric after all! So, Dummies for Piano book in hand, and music notes taped to the keyboard, I took on the monumental task of learning to read sheet music. I wasn’t, after all, a spring chicken so this didn’t come as easily to me as it would have if I had learned it as a child. I was baffled by thoughts such as “how do you keep the left hand from knowing what the right hand is doing while playing at the same time?” And I hadn’t even started singing – at times the task seemed insurmountable!