Up and Coming: Tori Kelly

October 19, 2012

She’s the new generation in YouTube stardom. 19 years old and a native of Canyon Lake, California, Tori Kelly is the newest example of what happens when you mix raw talent with the power of the internet. Showcasing her beautiful voice along with her lyrical abilities, the singer does something rather unique in the YouTube sphere: not only does she post covers, but she also uploads videos of her performing original songs. As a result, she’s garnered a sizable fan base and already caught the eye of several music industry big shots – all while being a reject of reality singing competition American Idol.

That’s right: Kelly traveled to Denver, Colorado to audition for Idol’s 9th season, and – unsurprisingly – made it all the way to Hollywood. Unfortunately, she was eliminated before she could gain a place as one of the top 24 contestants. But that hasn’t stopped her. In fact, it seems to have fueled her ambition to prove to the world that she has what it takes to succeed.

And that’s precisely what she’s done.

Her covers are impressive enough, but what’s truly remarkable is her set of original songs, a collection of which compile her EP “Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly” (which is an exceedingly fitting title). Some of our favorites are “Eyelashes”, “All in My Head”, and “Upside Down”, all of which perfectly represent Kelly’s musical abilities and entertainment appeal.

“Eyelashes” is an R&B-pop crossover track reminiscent of JoJo. The song captures Kelly’s vocal talents flawlessly, giving the listener a sense of her range while also endowing us with a pleasing musical melody. “All in My Head” slows things down a bit, a beautifully crafted ballad that questions the authenticity of a relationship. With lyrics such as “She’s so pretty / You two look so great / Time for me to move on now / It was probably just a silly crush anyway”, “All in My Head” is both relatable and heart-breaking – only further proof of how talented Kelly actually is.

As a contrast to the saddened tone that “All in My Head” gives off, “Upside Down” is an upbeat, fun number that serves as a tribute to someone whom Kelly can’t get out of her head, someone who turns her world “upside down”. Not only is it a pleasing tune to listen to, but the song is yet another one that audiences can easily relate to their own lives.

While “Eyelashes”, “All in My Head” and “Upside Down” are three fabulous tracks that work in many ways to prove the best of Kelly’s talents, they’re only a fraction of what she’s written and produced. A complete listing of all the songs she’s performed – both covers and originals – can be found on her YouTube page, at youtube.com/torikelly. It is perhaps because of this accessibility that her talent has gotten noticed by successful musical peers. For starters, music manager and Schoolboy Records owner Scooter Braun (most known for discovering Justin Bieber) has shouted her out countless times on Twitter, raving about how he “can’t stop listening” to and is a “#bigfan” of her music. Similarly, Niall Horan from One Direction recently tweeted about her, posting a link to her cover of Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World” and demanding to know “how has no one found this girl”.

All in all, things are looking up for the newest ornament on the tree of musical success, the roots of which are bathed in YouTube. As Tori Kelly continues to write and produce new music and ultimately catch the world’s attention, her talent and success have nowhere to go but up.

Be sure to download Kelly’s EP “Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly” from iTunes, and connect with the singer on Twitter at twitter.com/torikelly. For fans that live in the LA area, tickets are available to see Tori perform live at The Roxy this Wednesday, October 24th, at 8 pm! Purchase tickets here: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=3103354&pl=roxy

As you as impressed by Tori Kelly’s talent as we are? Sound off in the comments below.


-Shelley DeHekker


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