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February 19, 2022
Tori Amos: "I wrote my first song when I was three"
"I can't recall what it was called or what it was about but writing and playing were like breathing to me"
by Will Lavin
Tori Amos has revealed that she was just three years old when she wrote her first song.
Speaking in a new interview, the 'Cornflake Girl' hitmaker discussed her musical upbringing and how she began playing the piano when she was a toddler.
"No one taught me how to play the piano. It's just something I was able to do from a young age," Amos told Reader's Digest (via Contact Music). "Somehow I sat at the keyboard and I was playing it, without knowing why or how.
"People would act surprised, like, 'What's happening?' but when you're a child and you can do something, you don't think, 'How did that happen?'"
"I must have been two-and-a-half when I started and I never questioned it," she continued. "I wrote my first song when I was three. I can't recall what it was called or what it was about but writing and playing were like breathing to me."
Elsewhere in the interview, Amos recalled the time she considered changing her name to Sammy J to pay homage to Heather Locklear's Dynasty character when she was first on the hunt for a record deal.
"I was around 17 and it was just before I began sending demos out to record companies,: she explained. "Then a friend of mine brought along some guy she was dating to see me perform and he said, 'You're a Tori'. I was like, 'Yeah, you're right.'
"Then someone in the bar said that it was either a pine tree or a political party in England and I went, 'I'm going with the pine tree.' So I was no longer Myra Amos, I was Tori Amos."
Amos released her 16th studio album, 'Ocean To Ocean', back in October.
Speaking to NME about the album, Amos was asked about the surreal imagery of the track 'Spies', and whether it took her a long time to be able to complete the song.
"Yes, I had to work towards that," she said. "That's me coming out of a really dark place and being able to deal with bad dreams, knowing that they're benevolent. [I'm exploring the idea that] from Cornwall to London, up to Aberdeen and over to Dublin, on these isles there are well intentioned beings who are trying to help and protect people who can't sleep because of their night terrors.
"There was about a week when Tash was having all these really bad dreams, and so I was inspired to write something that would make her laugh."
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