Sometimes it takes a while for people to catch on to truly talented artists. And while there will unfortunately always be super exceptional singers and musicians out there that will never get the recognition they deserve, there are times when, as Oprah says, “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity”. That is exactly what happened to Tori Kelly.
Tori is a California native who realized her talented at a young age, and because she grew up in a post-American Idol world, she auditioned for shows like Star Search and America’s Most Talented Kids (where she beat out country heartthrob Hunter Hayes).
Because of her appearances on reality competition shows, she signed a couple of record deals but those fell apart. So like Justin Bieber, she took her talents to YouTube and became one of the biggest singers to come out of the early days of YouTube fame. One of her most notable vids was of this mashup with another popular YouTuber, a beatboxer, as they covered Frank Ocean’s Thinkin’ Bout You.
This is when I first heart of Tori Kelly’s name, but I didn’t think anything much of it besides a passing viral video. There were other videos that were far more stupid than this that I had to give my time to. By 2010, Tori was old enough to try out for the big leagues – American Idol.
Simon wasn’t a fan and never really was throughout her tenure on the show, which was shortlived after she was cut just before the Top 24. But, the journey obviously wasn’t over for her there.
In 2014, Scooter Braun, you know, the dude responsible for making Justin Bieber from Usher cover singer on YouTube into BIEBER, signed on as her manager, and slowly but surely, she made a TV appearance here, had a song in a soundtrack there, and now it seems as she’s finally hit her stride.
More and more people are starting to notice Tori for her pure talent, and it’s not only that, but her perseverance through the slow burn, if you will, to get to where she is now.
She performed Should’ve Been Us, the latest single from her new album Unbreakable Smile, on Live! With Kelly & Michael recently, and it was the first time I heard the song, more specifically, an acoustic version. I’m a sucker for acoustic versions, and I S2G, I rewatched this over and over again because I could not believe how amazing she sounded. #THOSERIFFSTHO
From there, I obviously had to go back to her back catalogue but also research recent performances, like this other acoustic one of her lead single Nobody Love:
Or her tribute to Smokey Robinson at the BET Awards:
Or the time she covered Ed Sheeran:
And the time she collaborated with Ed Sheeran:
And the time she almost outsang Ariana Grande:
Whatever the case may be, I’m so glad I found a new powerful female artist to obsess over, and I hope you do too.
Listen (or buy) Tori’s latest record, Unbreakable Smile! I swear I’m not getting paid for this.