The Rise of Tori Kelly

by Deanna Chapman

Tori Kelly has slowly been rising to prominence in the music industry since her childhood. She began showing off her talent on shows such as Star Search and America’s Most Talented Kids. While, she didn’t win the Star Search competition, she beat out the now well-known country artist, Hunter Hayes on America’s Most Talented Kids. From a young age, she had an amazing singing ability. And this is where the ascension started for Tori Kelly. I’ve been a huge fan of her’s for quite a few years now and I’ve had the chance to see her progress and become the artist she is today.

After the child star shows, Tori tried her hand at American Idol when it was increasingly more popular than it is today. She was given the golden ticket to Hollywood, which wasn’t a far drive for her considering she grew up in Southern California. Unfortunately, she was unable to make the Top 24, but that still didn’t stop her. A few years later, I recall going to one of her shows at House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. As I’m standing there watching the show, I look over to one of the tables and see none other than Randy Jackson sitting down, enjoying a meal while Tori performed. Clearly, not making it on American Idol still helped her out.

We move on to mid–2013 when Scooter Braun (also Justin Bieber’s manager) takes the plunge to work with Tori. By this time, Tori had released her Handmade Songs EP the previous year. This time she was introduced to the big wigs over at Capitol Records and signed a deal with them. It wasn’t too long before her next EP was announced. Foreword was her first major label release and she opened up for Ed Sheeran at Madison Square Garden. Not bad, right?

Tori began playing venues like The Roxy in Los Angeles and going out on tour more often than she previously had. Fast forward to the present day and Tori is preparing to release her debut LP. This past Sunday, she performed one of her singles at the Billboard Music Awards and within the same week she ended up on Billboard as Kia’s “One To Watch.” Three singles have been released from the album, which she worked on with Pharrell, Ed Sheeran, and pop hit guru, Max Martin.

It’s been a tremendous pleasure to see Tori Kelly grow over the last several years. As soon as I found out about the album, I pre-ordered it, and I don’t pre-order music too often. So it’s safe to say, I highly recommend checking her music out. The only question left is: what’s next?