Tori Kelly’s Unbreakable Smile made its debut late last month, but Tori’s singing career has been in the works for over a decade.
The former You Oughta Know artist is finally seeing the fruits of her labor in the form of being asked to perform at both the Billboard Music Awards and BET Awards this year, a collaborative track with Ed Sheeran, and positive album and concert reviews.
This young queen is on the come up, and she already knows herself and her voice. If you think she sounds damn good in her album, you need to see her perform live. From shutting down the BBMAs to putting out what some already think is the Song of the Summer, Tori Kelly is owning this year. Check out all of the ways she’s killing 2015 in the best way possible, and learn more about the YOK alumna in the clip below.
Her ode to ’90s R&B at the MTV EMAs was on point.
Tori opened her EMA performance with “Should’ve Been Us,” but about halfway through, she switched things up. Tori surprised us all by “taking it old school” and mashing up “No Scrubs” by TLC, Mary J Blige’s “Real Love,” and “Ready Or Not” by the Fugees with her hit song.
Her debut album is fire.
Rarely is a debut album as unapologetic and sure of itself as Tori’s Unbreakable Smile. Tori, 22, has been singing since the age of three, so in a way, this album is a long time coming. It also helps that she has the backing of Scooter Braun and Max Martin, but her strikingly effortless voice is enough to do the work for her. Unbreakable Smile, currently number two on Billboard’s Digital Albums chart, exudes endless optimism and finds Tori’s voice soaring to high notes and hitting them with the ease of someone who has been in the business for decades.
She shut down the Billboard Music Awards.
Tori closed out this year’s BBMAs with an acoustic rendition of “Nobody Love.” Armed with just her voice, guitar, and wild hair, Tori proved fanfares aren’t necessary to pull off a showstopping performance.
And nailed her Smokey Robinson tribute at the BET Awards.
Tori slayed this rendition of “Who’s Lovin’ You” by Jackson 5 in honor of Smokey Robinson at this year’s BET Awards. The performance sparked comparisons to powerhouse artists like Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys, but let’s be clear: Ain’t nobody sing like Tori Kelly. Or Christina and Alicia for that matter.
Her song with Ed Sheeran will make your heart burst.
Tori and Ed’s friendship goes back to when Tori opened for Ed on tour. The two eventually hit the studio to record a beautiful duet for Unbreakable Smile. “I Was Made For Loving You” is enough to pull at your heart strings.
Her first tour has received positive reviews.Getty Images
Tori’s debut Where I Belong tour, which began before the release of her album, has garnered positive attention, such as this review in The Baltimore Sun as well as glowing Ticketmaster fan reviews. Catch her at her upcoming September show in Las Vegas, and keep up to date on TK concerts via her website.
She had a brief stint with Target.
Tori became Tori from Target when the mega-retailer put out an exclusive version of Unbreakable Smile. She pretended to be an employee for the day, noting that she was actually once kicked out of a Target, and made this adorable video documenting her day in the store.
Her fashion game is correct.
Here she is dripping in style while posing on a throne.
Her hit single just might be the Song of the Summer.
At least Complex thinks so. The jury’s still out, but Tori’s hit has all the makings of the perfect summer jam. And it’s catchy as hell.
She’s an inspiration to other DIY artists and YouTubers.
Being a DIY artists has its own set of challenges. Ever since the rise of Justin Bieber to mega-stardom, YouTube has become a legitimate stomping ground for major acts to get discovered. Tori Kelly is another example of the pay off that can come when DIY artists / YouTube talents stick it through and chase their dreams.