Tori Kelly: Rising Pop Star

“Should’ve Been Us” (Capitol) is the latest smash hit from rising pop star Tori Kelly. Born Victoria Loren “Tori” Kelly on December 14, 1992  Kelly was grew up in  Wildomar, California.  Her father is Jamaican and half Puerto Rican, while her mother is of Irish and German descent. She was exposed at an early age to a variety of music by her parents. “I give them a lot of credit for just playing all different genres, and no genre was off limits.” In 2004, she made an appearance on America’s Most Talented Kids, singing Christina Aguilera’s “Keep on Singin’ My Song” and won, beating out musician Hunter Hayes. She made a second appearance on the show in the Tournament of Champions, but lost to Antonio Pontarelli, a rock musician. At the age of twelve, Kelly was offered a major record deal which she accepted. She began posting videos to YouTube in 2007, at age 14. The first video she uploaded was a cover of John Wesley Work, Jr.’s “Go Tell It On The Mountain”, which she originally performed in December 2004. She was signed to Geffen Records at the age of 12 but because of conflicting ideas, it was mutually agreed for Tori to be released. Kelly gained recognition for her acoustic cover with fellow YouTuber Angie Girl of Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You” in 2012. When later asked about her first YouTube cover she said, “It was just me in my bedroom, it was “The Only Exception” by Paramore and it wasn’t even my own guitar. I knew like…three chords”. Kelly later auditioned for Season 9 of American Idol in Denver, Colorado and made it through to Hollywood week but did not reach the “Top 24. In 2012, she independently released her first EP that she produced, wrote, and mixed herself, titled Handmade Songs By Tori Kelly. The following year, Scooter Braun became her manager and introduced her to Capitol Records, with whom she signed in September. Kelly’s second EP Foreword came out in October 2013 as her first major label release. On June 23, 2015, Kelly’s debut album, Unbreakable Smile, was released. The lead single, “Nobody Love”, was released in the spring and became her first Billboard Hot 100. Now she’s off a running hit after hit and we’re proud to feature Tori Kelly as this week’s rock star cover girl.