Tori Kelly is a name that is quickly gaining momentum on the Billboard charts as of late. Kelly, 22, appeared at the Varsity Theatre on the Campus of the University of Minnesota on June 11, to a show that sold out months ago, and with good reason. Kelly, who is as easy on the eyes as she is a very talented singer and songwriter, is trying to take a deep breath and take it all in. She just released her first full major label album, Unbreakable Smile and is currently on tour to support the release.
Kelly, who got her start by posting music videos to YouTube, auditioned for American Idol season 9 but didn’t make the top 24 and after a series of different EP’s released with modest success she eventually hit it big when she caught the attention of Scooter Braun; who also happens to manage the illustrious careers of pop superstars, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber. It was with Braun’s help and convincing that Tori decided to accept the recording contract with Capitol Records. Previously she had been burnt in the past; offered a contract when she was 14 with Geffen Records. However due to her age and creative differences, both parties mutually agreed to dissolve the agreement and she was released from her contract; so it was understandable she was apprehensive of entering another recording agreement, but Braun was able to set her mind at ease.
This tour marks Kelly’s second appearance in the Twin Cities and fans couldn’t wait to come back and see her. With her undeniable signature range and disarming stage presence, and that unbreakable smile, they were here to support her in any way possible. Adorned in her unmistakable black leather jacket, black almost see through leggings with sequins and ankle high leather boots, it was clear that she was here to give this crowd what they wanted; her complete undivided attention for the next hour or so.
Although Kelly hasn’t been around long to amass the hits like other superstars Demi Lovato, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, she is well on her way to definitely making a name for herself. She penned all 14 tracks on her latest release and several of the tracks are currently racing up the Billboard charts, including Nobody Love and Should’ve Been Us. From the start of the show this crowd was hyped up to see her perform and she interacted flawlessly with them. Often asking them “if it’s alright if I play…” and would announce a song first telling a little of the background behind the concept and what events led to the inspiration of it. Her fans loved it as the place erupted with cheer. Kelly held up her phone and told the crowd, now you guys are going to be on here so everyone lets blow the roof off this place!
Powerful moments in the show was when Kelly’s band took a break and it would be her alone just wailing on the beginning of a few songs first with absolutely nothing and then her guitar. Her voice is breathtaking and the conviction that just hangs on every word she sings is what could truly transform even the hardest heart. She emotes effortlessly and knows how to connect with her fans. Her tour entitled Where I Belong is a true testament to where she indeed belongs; up on that stage sharing and connecting with fans and everyone else who gives her listen.
So if you get an opportunity to hear her perform on this tour give yourself a favor and bring someone with you too; who knows both of you just might leave her show with a smile on your face, for the first time in a longtime.