With her big smile, perfect hair, and the voice of a legend, Tori Kelly is a rarity among artists. Armed with her powerhouse vocals, Tori Kelly’s rise to fame has been a prime example of what happens when hard work and talent mix together. After her burgeoning success with her debut album Unbreakable Smile in 2015, Tori Kelly has just released her highly anticipated sophomore album, Hiding Place. Connecting with her Gospel music roots, this album is a first for Tori, and features 12-time Grammy Award-winning Gospel icon Kirk Franklin as a featured artist and producer.
“I’ve been wanting to do a Gospel song or something down the road since I was really young. I grew up under Gospel music and my faith is such a big part of my life,” Tori said. “My team reached out to Kirk Franklin and this one song with him turned into this eight-song album. I’m so excited because I’ve seen the response already. I’m glad to share about this God that I believe in.”
As a young teenager, Tori built her fan base on YouTube, despite a dead-end at American Idol. This led to her discovery by Scooter Braun. Known for launching the musical careers of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, Scooter Braun introduced Tori to Capitol Records, and as they say the rest is history.
A Grammy-nominated artist, Tori says balancing her work and her private life is quite simple.
“Right now, I kind of feel like there’s not a ton of separation. My music has always felt an extension of who I am, so it doesn’t even feel like work,” Tori said. “There’s just an on season and off season. I do my album and do a couple of beats and get some rest. I think it’s all woven in. It’s important to have family and friends around you.”
Tori grew up in church, and some of her earliest memories was singing. She says what keeps her going strong is her relationship with God. Tori also stressed the importance of prayer.
“When you have a relationship with God, it’s not this faraway thing that we can’t fully access. It’s such a beautiful thing to talk to God like He’s right here. He offers that to everyone,” Tori said. “I think it is definitely important and I can see a difference when I pray a lot more. Prayer and peace go together. I like that verse that says to cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us.”
Earlier this year, Tori married the love of her life, basketball player Andre Murillo. Their love story isn’t well-known, but it came about naturally.
“I’m the introvert and he’s the extrovert. We met through family. Our family basically became neighbors and they were talking about us and we were rolling our eyes,” Tori said. “What did it for me was when I saw a testimony of how he became a believer. Our faith is the basis for our relationship and that’s a huge blessing.”
Promoting her new album with an upcoming tour, Tori Kelly is staying busy. Busy but smart. Her advice to people aspiring to do what she does is simple yet profound.
“I would say definitely don’t try to do it alone. You need people around you that you can trust.” Tori said. “Also, even if you think you are not good at songwriting, I think you should still write out your songs. That’s one thing people can’t really take from you. This is how people can get your unique perspective.”