Meaning in Music; Meeting Tori Kelly

AAAAAHHHHH today we have a special guest post from a long time bestie (Natalie Stravens) of mine because she got to go an see Tori Kelly perform and met her! Enjoy

In the postmodern, over-sexualized society we live in today, it’s hard to find an artist that is wholesome as well as being, well, good. The music charts are currently highlighting our obsession with money and butts, no longer filling our minds with ideas about people’s personal journeys and inspiring ideas. When I listen to music, I like to connect with both the lyrics and the melody, and whilst catchy beats are a dime a dozen, it’s hard to be emotionally stimulated by “my anaconda don’t.” As a result, I have turned to more independent or rather, relatively unknown artists for the tunes to be played through my headphones. You Tube and its various talents have since then been a source of this for many years.

One of these such talents that I discovered on You Tube a few years ago was Tori Kelly. The big voiced and equally big haired singer has been posting her covers, and eventually originals, on the site for years. When she was 16, she auditioned for American Idol but did not impress Simon Cowell so she did not go through. While we know now that he missed out on an amazing artist, she was young then and had not yet matured into her voice just yet. Tori Kelly did not give up however, and then took to Youtube, where I found her. Slowly, but surely, she gained popularity.  and in June of this year, released her first album, “Unbreakable Smile.” She had already had success with singles and LPs but this was her official debut onto the music scene and I could not be prouder of her. One thing I love about Youtube artists is that you feel more connected to them as fan. They make an effort to listen to their fans and as a result, their successes feel like your own. “Unbreakable Smile” was an immediate success, debuting as No.2 on the Billboards. It’s filled with amazing melodies and thought provoking lyrics. From the high beat songs like “Nobody Love”, “California Lovers”, “It Should Have Been Us” to slower, more meditative melodies like “City Dove”, “Funny”, “The Art of Letting Go.”

The most amazing part of this album despite getting famous, Tori Kelly still stays true to herself and her beliefs. She did not compromise for fame. In her title song, “Unbreakable Smile”, she talks about “selling out shows without taking off her clothes.” The whole album continues this theme of being true to oneself, despite heartbreak, others, etc. I had the opportunity to attend one of her concerts and meet Tori Kelly. She definitely was able to sell out shows! I lined up with friends hours before the concert started in order to get a place close to the stage (it was a standing concert) and was rewarded with being right behind VIP. She blew everyone away with her powerful ballads and amazing runs. She had a time where she got her band off the stage and just strummed her guitar, chatting with us (well sort of, we were hundreds of people) and playing some of her slower songs. I met her face to face two days later at a CD signing. Before signing CDs, she had an interview about her music, her beliefs, her inspirations, and her hair. I’m not a big fan girl, it’s not in my personality, but I love how genuine she was. When she finally signed my CD, and gave me a hug, I had a moment or two to chat with her. You can see how much she loves her fans as well as her music.

There are so many other artists like this that you can find on Youtube. I encourage you all to not just listen to the top 100 songs but explore new people, new genres and styles. Check out Tori Kelly and other artists (if you need recommendations, ask in the comments). Maybe you’ll find your new favorite singer!

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  1. I discovered Tori Kelly when a friend of mine shared a few of her covers on Facebook, what an amazing talent!


  2. I love Tori Kelley’s music. Unlike most urban music, I feel comfortable playing it around my kids.


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