One of my greatest musical inspirations is Tori Amos. I was introduced to her by a childhood friend of East Asian ancestry and we saw a concert of hers when were like 10 or 12. At the time I was more interested in Tracy Chapman because I played the guitar but seeing Amos in concert was life changing, and inspired me to play the piano like my East Asian friend.

He suspected, based on her facial features, that Amos might be part East Asian which made us like her even more.

What I didn’t know was that he was gay, though my mother suspected. One night when we were teenagers watching TV in the basement, he wanted to watch porn. I had little interest in porn (still don’t) but I enjoy French cinema and this particular porno was French and tastefully done.

But my fiend kept complaining that the male character (who was black) would not take off his speedo.

“Why are you gay?” I finally asked.

“Maybe,” he replied.

He would never quite admit to being gay, instead saying he was bisexual, because sometimes he wanted soft, and other times he wanted hard. But I never saw any sexual interest in females on his part. He had a white girlfriend in high school but he couldn’t stand her, and instead was obsessed with a white preppy guy who attended our school.

After high school we lost touch completely, but I will always be grateful that he introduced me to Tori Amos. I doubt I would have ever heard of her without him. This is one of her best songs: