Tori Kelly

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Updated On January 24, 2022
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Tori Kelly is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer who catapulted to prominence after her YouTube cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You” became a YouTube sensation. She is a self-taught musician who wrote her first few songs on her computer at home and then released them online to gain exposure. She opted to work independently on her own songs after trying her luck on music reality shows like ‘American Idol,’ and released her debut EP, ‘Handmade Songs By Tori Kelly,’ completely by herself. It became an instant hit and served as a springboard for her musical career. Scooter Braun became her manager soon after, and she signed with ‘Capitol Records’ to record her second EP, ‘Foreword.’ Her debut album, ‘Unbreakable Smile,’ was released shortly after. ‘Nobody Love,’ the album’s debut single, was co-written by her and acclaimed song writer Max Martin, and it became her first song to chart on the US ‘Billboard’ Hot 100. She described the album as combining her soulful urban music with a popular pop flair. She has received numerous honors and has been nominated for a Grammy Award. She recently appeared in the animated film ‘Sing’ as a voice actress.

Childhood and Adolescence

“Tori” Victoria Loren Kelly was born in Wildomar, California, on December 14, 1992, to Allwyn and Laura Kelly. Her mother is half Irish and half German, and her father is half Jamaican and half Puerto Rican. Noah, her younger brother, is her only sibling.

She comes from a musically inclined family. Her father, despite being a construction worker, can sing and play bass. Her mother is a talented keyboardist and saxophonist.

She grew up listening to a variety of musical styles thanks to her parents. She was influenced by pop and R&B music and listened to church music. Crystal Lewis, Jill Scott, Jeff Buckley, and Maxwell were all early influences on her.

Career of Tori Kelly

She auditioned for the television show ‘Star Search’ in 2003, with the goal of becoming a singer. The next year, she competed on ‘America’s Most Talented Kids.’ She came out on top of the competition and secured a record deal with Geffen Records. However, due to a clash of ideas, she did not release any songs during that period.

Tori Kelly’s first attempt at making music and gaining a following began when she was just 14 years old, in 2007. She began recording her music on her computer and uploading it to YouTube. She began by doing cover versions of popular songs, with her most famous cover being of Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You.”

After failing to make the ‘Top 24’ on ‘American Idol,’ Tori Kelly focused her efforts in 2010 on her first EP, ‘Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly,’ which was published on May 1, 2012, by her own company, Toraay Records. She wrote, recorded, and produced the album in addition to writing the songs.

In February 2013, she published the song ‘Fill a Heart,’ which she penned for the ConAgra Foods and Feeding America’s ‘Child Hunger Ends Here’ campaign. She also went on a ‘Fill a Heart’ tour to raise money for the program. The song was later performed on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ by the British boy band ‘The Wanted.’

Scooter Braun became her manager in 2013 after seeing YouTube videos of her songs and assisting her in signing a deal with Capitol Records. Kelly, who had previously signed a fruitless agreement with Geffen Records, was wary of signing another contract, but the fact that the producers were fans put her at ease.

Soon later, on October 22, 2013, Capitol Records issued her second EP, ‘Foreword.’ It debuted at number 16 on the Billboard 200 in the United States.

In November 2013, she played at Madison Square Garden as Ed Sheeran’s solo support act. She also supported Sam Smith on his ‘In the Lonely Hour’ UK tour a year later.

The song ‘Silent,’ which she composed and recorded specifically for the soundtrack of the 2014 film ‘The Giver,’ was featured in the film. The song’s live acoustic version, which she released on her YouTube account, has already received over 4.5 million views.

The song ‘Lullaby,’ which she co-wrote with British rapper Professor Green, was her first UK top ten hit. On September 14, 2014, the song was released in the United Kingdom and reached number four on the ‘UK Singles Chart.’

She was named one of MTV’s “Artists To Watch” in late 2014. ‘Funny’ and ‘Dear No One’ were two of the songs she performed on MTV.

On February 8, 2015, she released the lead single off her debut album, ‘Unbreakable Smile,’ titled ‘Nobody Love.’ Ed Sheeran was among the musicians featured on the album, which was published on June 23, 2015. The album’s lyrics were written by a number of people, including Max Martin and Kelly herself. On January 29, 2016, the album was re-released with two new tracks, ‘Hollow’ and ‘Something Beautiful.’

She voiced Meena the elephant in the film ‘Sing’ in 2016. On the one-month anniversary of Christina Grimmie’s murder at a meet-and-greet, she published the original song “Blink of an Eye” as a memorial to her friend and fellow musician.

Major Projects of Tori Kelly

Despite the fact that her debut EP, ‘Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly,’ was not issued by a big label, it was included in iTunes’ ‘Top 10 Pop Albums’ list. It also reached number nine on the US Heatseekers Albums chart.
Her debut album, ‘Unbreakable Smile,’ received positive reviews from critics who commended the album’s content and singing. The album opened at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 75,000 copies in its first week.

Achievements & Awards

Tori Kelly was named Billboard Women in Music’s ‘Breakthrough Artist’ in 2015. In the same year, she was named one of the ’50 Artists to Watch’ by the YouTube Music Awards.
She was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of “Best New Artist” in 2016. That year, she also took home the Radio Disney Music Award for ‘Breakout Artist of the Year.’

Personal History and Legacy

Tori Kelly, who has worked with Ed Sheeran on several occasions, is frequently associated with him. However, she made it plain in an interview with ‘Seventeen’ magazine that, while she considers him a friend and mentor, their connection is completely business. She is currently unattached.

Her mum is always there for her during her performances and travels. She is close with her younger brother Noah and frequently posts images of the two of them on social media. She considers herself to be a fervent Christian.

Estimated Net Worth

Tori Kelly has a net worth of $3 million as a singer and songwriter in the United States. Tori Kelly was born in the California town of Wildomar in December 1992. She rose to prominence after making YouTube videos when she was just 14 years old. Tori Kelly released the EPs Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly and Foreword in 2012 and 2013, respectively.


Former judge Simon Cowell described her voice as “nearly unpleasant” when she auditioned for “American Idol” at the age of 16. Kelly, who was eliminated before reaching the ‘Top 24,’ later expressed gratitude for all that had happened since it had motivated her and helped her become who she is now.