August 22 ~  Breathe You In Tori Amos: Piece by Piece

"The most important thing to me as a songwriter is the breath. The most important thing I could ever say to somebody is, Sometimes I breathe you in." ~ Tori Amos

Tori Amos

Born Myra Ellen Amos on this day in Newton, North Carolina, singer/songwriter Tori Amos (1963-) learned to play the piano as a young child and earned a scholarship to the prestigious Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory at age six.

"My songs are like friends," she said. "I have a special relationship with my songs and some of them I always want to have around me."

In 1992, the introspective artist released her debut solo album, Little Earthquakes, which included the autobiographical, Me and a Gun, sung a capella, is a haunting tale of rape.

"I'm not afraid of grief. You might cry. You might even cry so much that there are no tears left, but still your grief lets you make decisions and you grow as a person," she said.

Under The Pink (1994), Boys For Pele (1996), and Strange Little Girls (1999) followed with poetic introspection and roaring brilliance. With Scarlet's Walk (2002), Amos traveled America, post 9/11, searching for heart and hope and understanding.

"Music has always been healing for me, since I was little," she explained. "I can really be in pain, then listen to or play music, and I feel things... ease. I feel the music play me, so that I become an instrument it plays."

In 1994, she founded the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), which operates a national sexual assault hotline (1-800-656-HOPE). "We have worked hard to unlock the silence," she wrote in 2004. "Now, we must continue to work together to turn up the volume."

With talent and innovation, Amos has explored life and pain with her complex melodies. Her sweet voice and powerful lyrics speak directly to her fans who are passionate about the music and message that she has created.

"I swore that I could survive any storm," she wrote in Snow Cherries From France (Tales of a Librarian, 2003). And with undeniable dedication, Tori has...

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Breathe in deeply.