Named for a halloween costume based on an Edgar Allan Poe short story, Poe gained a contract with Atlantic during the boom of female singer/songwriters during the mid-'90s.
Originally from New York City, she moved around frequently with her parents — a director and an actress — but returned to New York at the age of 16 when they divorced. Poe enrolled at Princeton, and played in a band during her time there.
Signed to Atlantic in 1994, she recorded an album with several producers and co-writers and released Hello the following year. The single "Angry Johnny" pushed Hello into the album charts, and during 1996 Poe supported Lenny Kravitz with a band including guitarist Daris Adkins, drummer Dan Jones, bassist Toby Skard and cellist Cameron Stone and headlined several tours of her own.
Five years after her critical debut, Poe returned with Haunted, an album rhythmically adjacent to her brother, Mark Z. Danielewski's novel House of Leaves.