Having already begun composing instrumental pieces on piano, Amos won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of five, the youngest person ever to have been admitted. She was expelled at the age of eleven for what Rolling Stone described as "musical insubordination." Amos was the lead singer of the short-lived 1980s 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.
Her charting singles include "Crucify", "Silent All These Years", "God", "Cornflake Girl", "Caught a Lite Sneeze", "Professional Widow", "Spark", "1000 Oceans", "Flavor", and "A Sorta Fairytale", her most commercially successful single in the U.S. to date. Amos has received five MTV VMA nominations, eight Grammy nominations, and has won an Echo award for her classical work. She is listed on VH1's "100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll" list.