Amos: Playing in gay bars from 13 taught me lots

Tori Amos played her first gig in a gay bar when she was just 13 years old.

Tori Amos played her first gig in a gay bar when she was just 13 years old.

The 'Professional Widow' singer always knew she wanted to be a professional musician and says the shows – to which she was accompanied by her minister father – taught her a lot about performing.

She said: "At 13, I was ready. I had a repertoire of a couple of hundred songs – things you hear on the radio.

"I got dressed up, put on my sister's high heels. My dad wore his clerical collar. We went to Georgetown, in Washington, to Mr Henry's – a gay bar. I had to be chaperoned.

"I played there for tips until I was 15. People were really receptive at Mr. Henry's. They requested a lot of show tunes and put me through my paces – they told me how not to look like white trash: 'No you can't go from church to hussy'."

Tori was thrown out of a prestigious music school when she was 11 years old because she rebelled against the curriculum, much to the distress of her father.

She told the Guardian newspaper: "I'd been kicked out of the Peabody conservatory in Baltimore at the age of 11 and lost my scholarship because I wasn't Peabody stock any more.

"I had real issues they weren't teaching contemporary composers. They said the Beatles would be dead and gone in 30 years and no one would care. It was 1974, I was 11 and it was good to be right!

"My father was really distraught. He had these dreams of me being a concert pianist and then going into religious music. I just looked at me and said, 'Dad, this music is not moving me.' "

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