Piano goddess Tori Amos is busy traveling around the country right now touring in support of her latest album, Native Invader, but she took some time out of her schedule to make an appearance at this year’s Emery Awards in New York City.
The annual event thrown by The Hetrick-Martin Institute honors individuals who helped the organization with its mission advocating for LGBT youth. At this year’s gala the late legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin was honored, and as his longtime collaborator and friend, Amos, spoke about him at the event, before introducing a clip from a documentary about his life.
“He wasn’t a makeup artist, he was a master sculptor, painter,” she told the audience. “He would peel back what was inside to try to find out did you really know what your intention was and is with the work that you are creating? The art you are making.”
“This man could truly change your life. It was truly transformational.”
The Cornflake Girl worked with Aucoin for years, and one of his final projects, before he passed away in 2002, was doing all of the makeup and looks for Amos’ different characters for her Strange Little Girls album.
“There’s no one like him,” she added. “I don’t know anyone out there who is the next Kevin. Kevin was unique. he was Like the rising sun, still rising.”
The Emery Awards is a natural place for Amos since she has been a longtime ally of the LGBT community—and she even got her start playing the piano in gay bars as a teenager in Washington, D.C.
“When I was 13 years old, the first place that gave me a chance professionally was a gay club. There were all men there,” she told Hornet on the red carpet before the awards.
“My father had his clerical collar on as a minister [and we were] turned down at all these other piano bars. We walked into Mr. Henry’s on Wisconsin Avenue and there was a man there with a studded something. It should have been a key but my Dad didn’t get it. And he asked, ’Will you give my daughter a chance?’ And the person said, ’Can she play?’ And my dad said, ’Yes, she can.’ And the person said, ’Well, she can play for tips and then lets see how it goes.'”
And a love affair between gay men and Amos was born.
Below, watch the trailer for the Logo documentary Kevyn Aucoin: Beauty & the Beast In Me.