Pop Star, TORI KELLY Chats With All Access About Her New Single “Hollow”, Her Biggest Inspirations, Her Song on The New Disney Album and Much More!
Posted On 30 Dec 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Andrea Bocelli, Artist Interview, Billboard Hot 100, CAPITOL Records, Colors Of The Wind, Crystal Lewis, Hollow, India Arie, J. Moss, Jeff Buckley, Jill Scott, John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz, Mary J Blige, Max Martin, Maxwell, Michael Jackson, MTV EMAs, Nobody Love, Pochahontas, PUT, PYT, Seal, Suit & Tie, TCA, TLC, Tori Kelly, Unbreakable Smile, US Billboard Hot 100, We Love Disney, Where I Belong, William Rast, YouTube
The pop star, Tori Kelly first gained recognition after she posted a few videos to YouTube at the young age of 14. 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 US Billboard Hot 100 appearance.
More recently, Kelly was nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist!
Learn more about Tori in the following EXCLUSIVE All Access interview:
Thank you for your time! Have you been able to really sit and appreciate this exciting year that you have had? It looks like you are having a lot of fun!
I try to take it one day at a time so I can actually appreciate everything that’s been happening. But yes, thank you, I am having lots of fun!
Growing up, did you always want to be a singer? When did you begin writing your own music?
I’ve wanted to be a singer for as long as I can remember. I was probably about 3 years old when I started mimicking singers – especially in gospel music. I didn’t start writing my own stuff until I was 15.
You first got noticed by putting out amazing YouTube covers. What cover are you most proud of today?
I’m still very proud of the “PYT” cover that I did. Michael Jackson has such a universal sound that anyone can listen to, but the challenge for me was to make it my own. I practiced that arrangement for 3 days before actually posting the video.
Did you hear from any of the artists that you covered?
I recently got to meet Justin Timberlake and he told me I do “Suit & Tie” better than him, (which I don’t think is true) but I’m a huge fan of his so hearing that was surreal.
As a kid with big dreams, I put one dream higher than all the rest and that was to simply release a full length album. when it finally came out this year, it felt like my whole life was put into it. one of my favorite moments of my career so far.
What songs on the album are you most proud of? Generally, where do you get the inspiration for your music? What about for “Hollow”?
I’m super proud of “Unbreakable Smile” because after I wrote it (in my bedroom), it felt like I experienced a breakthrough in my songwriting. I’m honestly just inspired by my life & the lives around me. “Hollow” is a song about being empty. it’s my love song to God because He is the only one who can fill me completely.
Max Martin is one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. he goes with the flow and he always knows what’s missing in a song. he had respect for me as a writer too which was cool. I had a lot of fun in the studio with him and his team.
How has your “Where I Belong” Tour been going? What’s been a favorite venue?
Touring has been incredible! it feels like just the beginning. I love watching the shows grow and getting to put together a unique show every night. One of my favorite venues to play is the TCA in Philly.
What artists have consistently inspired you and your music? Your music has been compared to some 90’s R&B so what 90’s artists did you love?
I grew up listening to singers like Crystal Lewis, J. Moss, Maxwell, Jill Scott, India Arie, John Mayer, and Jeff Buckley. as far as 90’s music goes, I loved Lauryn Hill, TLC, Mary J Blige and Michael Jackson, to name a few.
Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’d love to work with Lenny Kravitz or Seal at some point.
Fashion seems to be a big part of your career these days. Can you talk about being named the new face of Justin Timberlake’s William Rast brand?
I love how fashion can express an emotion just like music can. It’s art to me. So to be a part of someone’s vision, especially someone like Timberlake’s is amazing. It helps when you love the clothes too 🙂
Can you talk about covering the Pocahontas song “Colors of The Wind” for the upcoming “We Love Disney” album? I read that you loved the movie.
I do love the movie! Pocahontas just stood out to me as a kid. Maybe it was her bravery and her adventurous spirit. It’s a lot of pressure to cover a classic Disney tune but I was stoked at the opportunity!
What was it like performing recently with Andrea Bocelli on the MTV EMAs?
Singing with Andrea was a dream. I was so flattered that he wanted to sing with me, let alone on such a big stage. He and his whole team were so sweet and took care of me while I was in Milan.
What do you hope people take away from listening to your music?
I hope people feel inspired by my story. How I took every “no” and every doubt and every set back and turned it into a drive; a fire. I hope it makes them smile even through the hardest times.