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Tori Kelly on Wikipedia
Tori Kelly
Tori Kelly, 2016 Toronto Film Festival-1.jpgKelly at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival promoting Sing
BornVictoria Loren Kelly
(1992-12-14) December 14, 1992 (age 24)[1]
Wildomar, California, U.S.
OccupationSinger, songwriter, actress
Years active2004–present
Musical career
OriginCanyon Lake, California, U.S.
GenresPop, acoustic, R&B
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • piano
  • drums
  • keyboard
  • Capitol
  • Geffen
Associated acts
  • Lecrae
  • Sam Smith
  • Professor Green
  • Pentatonix
  • AJ Rafael
  • Sam James
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Andrea Bocelli
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Justin Bieber
Notable instruments

Taylor Signature Guitars

Suhr Guitars
Tori Kelly Signature.svg

Victoria Loren "Tori" Kelly (born December 14, 1992) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and voice actress who slowly gained recognition after starting to post videos on YouTube at the age of 14. When she was 16, Kelly auditioned for the singing competition television series American Idol. After being eliminated from the show, Kelly began to work on her own music. 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 after seeing her videos on YouTube 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 US Billboard Hot 100 appearance. Kelly was nominated for Best New Artist at the 58th Grammy Awards. She voiced a shy teenage elephant named Meena in the 2016 animated film Sing.


  • 1 Life and career
    • 1.1 2010–2013: Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly
    • 1.2 2013–present: Foreword, Unbreakable Smile and "Hollow"
  • 2 Discography
  • 3 Filmography
  • 4 Tours
  • 5 Awards and nominations
    • 5.1 Billboard Women in Music
    • 5.2 Glamour Awards
    • 5.3 Grammy Awards
    • 5.4 MTV Europe Music Awards
    • 5.5 People's Choice Awards
    • 5.6 Radio Disney Music Awards
    • 5.7 Streamy Awards
    • 5.8 Teen Choice Awards
    • 5.9 VH1's Big Music in 2015: You Oughta Know
    • 5.10 YouTube Music Awards
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Life and career

Kelly was born in Wildomar, California. Her father is of Jamaican and Puerto Rican ancestry, while her mother is of Irish and German descent.[2] Growing up, she was exposed 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," she said when asked about her upbringing.[3] Kelly has appeared on the show Star Search. With vocalist Tiffany Evans winning the title of Junior Champion in the junior singer division, she did not win the contest.

In 2004 she participated 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 record deal with Geffen Records, which she accepted, but because of conflicting ideas it was mutually agreed for her to be released.[4] In 2007, Kelly began posting videos to YouTube, at the age of 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, back in December 2004. Kelly gained recognition for her acoustic cover, with a fellow YouTuber named Angie Girl, of Frank Ocean's "Thinkin Bout You".[5][6]

Despite her shortcomings when she auditioned for American Idol and failing to reach the top 24, she approached the world in a different way. Kelly learned how to play the guitar, composed original song pieces and had them recorded through her own personal computer. In given time, Kelly had gone viral in a matter of days. Tori Kelly began sharing her performances through YouTube, and due to her musical talents, her page reached 700,000 subscribers.[7]

2010–2013: Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly

In 2010, Kelly auditioned for Season 9 of American Idol in Denver, Colorado and made it through to Hollywood Week but did not reach the "Top 24" of the artists. She had claimed that 'she was devastated' but she had 'given it her all'. Afterwards, she was asked to take part in a youth version of the 1985 charity song "We Are the World" titled "We Are the World: The Next Generation". Although former judge Simon Cowell appeared to find Kelly's voice "almost annoying", she carried on performing and writing songs. On May 1, 2012, she released her first EP, titled Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly, which was released on her own label, Toraay Records. Kelly wrote, produced, engineered, and recorded the EP by herself in her bedroom. Shortly after its release, the EP made it to the Top 10 Pop Albums list on iTunes.[8] She called the EP a "warm up" to a full-length album that was to come in the future.[9] As of 2013, it had sold more than 14,000 copies and reached number nine on the US Heatseekers Albums chart.[10]

In February 2013, Kelly released a single called "Fill a Heart", which she wrote for the "Child Hunger Ends Here" campaign by ConAgra Foods and Feeding America. The song was later performed by British boy band The Wanted on Dancing With the Stars. Starting in April 2013, Kelly performed at eight different venues across continental U.S. for her "Fill a Heart" tour, helping out at the cities' food banks during the day.[11] She has performed in venues such as the Troubador and the Roxy in Los Angeles, the Gramercy Theater in New York and Bush Hall in London. She has also been featured in magazines such as Teen Vogue, Elle and Glamour.[12]

During mid-2013, Kelly's newly assigned manager Scooter Braun introduced her to the heads of Capitol Records. She had been "very skeptical" about signing with a major record label in fear that things would not work out in her favor. "I'd been burned before. But when I met those guys, I had never felt that way: They were fans and really got me." On September 6, 2013 she was signed to Capitol Records.[10]

2013–present: Foreword, Unbreakable Smile and "Hollow"

In September 2013, Kelly announced on The Today Show that her major label debut, a second EP, titled Foreword, would be released on October 22, 2013 on Capitol Records. By the end of November the EP had sold more than 16,000 copies, debuting at number 16 on the US Billboard 200.[13] Kelly was the sole supporting act to Ed Sheeran at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2013 and supported Sam Smith on his In the Lonely Hour UK tour in October 2014.[14] Kelly wrote and recorded a song called "Silent" for The Giver: Music Collection, supporting the film adaptation (The Giver) of the novel The Giver, which was released on iTunes on August 5, 2014.[15] On August 7, 2014, Kelly posted a live acoustic version of the song on her YouTube channel; which has over 2.6 million views as of October 2015.[16] Kelly was featured on "Lullaby" by British rapper Professor Green, which was released in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2014.[17] The song peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart, thus providing Kelly with her first British top ten hit.[18] Kelly was featured on the medley "Winter Wonderland"/"Don't Worry Be Happy" on Pentatonix's album That's Christmas to Me that was released in October 2014. On December 1, 2014 it was announced that Tori Kelly was one of MTV's Artist's To Watch. She privately performed two songs for MTV: "Funny" and "Dear No One"; both can be found on her Artist To Watch page.[19] Her "Funny" performance was aired on MTV for several weeks.

Throughout 2014, Kelly worked with Braun on her debut album in which she had contributions from Toby Gad, Max Martin, and Ed Sheeran.[20] The lead single from the album, "Nobody Love", was released on February 8, 2015. It was written by Rickard Goransson, Max Martin, and Tori Kelly herself.[21] Kelly performed "Nobody Love" at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. The album, entitled Unbreakable Smile, was released on June 23, 2015,[22] and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200.[23] Kelly performed "Should've Been Us" at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.[24]

In October 2015, Kelly covered the song "Colors of the Wind" on the "We Love Disney" album.

"Hollow" was released on October 22, 2015[25] as the first single from the new edition of Unbreakable Smile.[26] In the same month, Kelly became the brand-ambassador of William Rast, the clothing line co-founded by Justin Timberlake.[27] In late 2015, Kelly received a nomination for Best New Artist at the 58th Grammy Awards.[28] She performed at the ceremony with English singer James Bay.[29]

Kelly recorded an updated version of "Baby Baby" with the song's original artist, Amy Grant. This recording commemorates the song's 25th anniversary and was released on April 29, 2016.[30] Kelly made her cinematic debut in the animated movie Sing (2016), voicing Meena the elephant.[31]

On July 10, 2016, Kelly released an original song "Blink of an Eye" in honor of her friend Christina Grimmie, on the one-month anniversary of her killing during a meet and greet at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida, on June 10, 2016 while on tour with Before You Exit.[32]


Main article: Tori Kelly discography
  • Unbreakable Smile (2015)


  • American Idol Season 9 Contestant, top 24
  • Sing (2016): Meena (voice)
  • The Voice: Season 9 Finale Result and Season 10 Battle Advisor from Team Adam


  • Fill A Heart Tour (2013)
  • Where I Belong Tour (2015)
  • Unbreakable Tour (2016)

Awards and nominations

List of Tori Kelly awards
Billboard Women in Music
Glamour Awards
Grammy Award
MTV Europe Music Awards
People's Choice Awards
Radio Disney Music Awards
Streamy Awards
Teen Choice Awards
VH1's Big Music in 2015
You Oughta Know
YouTube Music Awards

The following is a list of awards and nominations received by American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress Tori Kelly.


  1. ^ "About Tori Kelly (Facebook)". Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Tori Kelly Interview with Tre (7:49)". Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Tori Kelly on "Handmade Songs" EP and Viral Success". Fuse. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ Adam, Mike (July 2015). "Mike Adam's Music Minute: Get to Know Tori". Popstar!. 16 (4): 81.  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ "Take Cover: Frank Ocean's 'Thinkin Bout You': Tori Kelly (and Angie Girl)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ "104.3 MYfm New Music – Interview with Tori Kelly". Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Tori Kelly – Biography | Billboard". Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Tori Kelly – Sushi Challenge – Nobu Unplugged January (2:19)". 
  9. ^ Benjamin, Jeff. "YouTube Star Tori Kelly Reveals Plans for Full-Length Album". 
  10. ^ a b Wete, Brad. "Tori Kelly Moves 'Foreword,' Releases 'Dear No One' Video – 21 under 21 (2013): Tori Kelly". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ Costello, Carly. "Toi Kelly Launches Fill a Heart Tour Today". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Justin Bieber Curates the 2013 Music Portfolio". Teen Vogue. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  13. ^ Wete, Brad. "Tori Kelly Moves 'Foreword,' Releases 'Dear No One' Video". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Taylor Swift makes surprise appearance at Ed Sheeran's Madison Square Garden show". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Giver: Music Collection". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Tori Kelly – 'Silent' from The Giver movie soundtrack". Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Professor Green – Lullaby ft. Tori Kelly". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Lullaby – Professor Green Feat. Tori Kelly". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  19. ^ Walker, John (December 1, 2014). "Artist To Watch: Tori Kelly's The Idol You've Been Looking For, America". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Tori Kelly – About". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Tori Kelly – About – paragraph 2". 
  22. ^ "Unbreakable Smile on iTunes". Apple. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ Tori Kelly – Chart history. Billboard (July 11, 2015). Retrieved on 2016-06-18.
  24. ^ Lindner, Emilee (August 28, 2015). "Tori Kelly Reveals What She'll Be Doing For Her VMA Performance". 
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 26, 2015. Retrieved October 29, 2015. 
  26. ^ Garibaldi, Christina (October 22, 2015). "Tori Kelly's Single 'Hollow' Is Your New Heartbreak Song: Will someone please wrap Tori up in their love?". Retrieved October 22, 2015. 
  27. ^ Chan, Stephanie (October 23, 2015). "Tori Kelly is the new face of William Rast". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Grammy Nominations 2016: See the Full List of Nominees". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Tori Kelly & James Bay Mash-Up Their Hits "Hollow" and "Let It Go" at the 2016 Grammys". Billboard. February 16, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Amy Grant Releasing Updated Version of 'Baby Baby' With Tori Kelly". Vintage Vinyl News. April 18, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Sing" (2016) – Sneak Peek. (November 10, 2015). Retrieved on 2016-06-18.
  32. ^ Tori Kelly (2016-07-10), Tori Kelly - "Blink Of An Eye" (Original), retrieved 2016-09-04 
  33. ^ "Tori Kelly to Perform, Receive 'Breakthrough' Award at Billboard's Women in Music 2015". Billboard. November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  34. ^ GLAMOUR WOTY voting 2016. (February 25, 2014). Retrieved on 2016-06-18.
  35. ^ "Taylor Swift Leads MTV EMAs With 9 Nominations". Billboard. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  36. ^ a b Radio Disney Music Awards Nominations 2016 — Full List Of Nominees Revealed. Hollywood Life (March 4, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-06-18.
  37. ^ "5th Annual Winners & Nominees". Streamy Awards. Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  38. ^ Reiher, Andrea (July 30, 2015). "Justin Bieber, Bethany Mota lead 3rd wave of 2015 Teen Choice nominations". Zap2it. 
  39. ^ "Cast Your Vote for VH1 Artist Of The Year!". VH1 News. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 
  40. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (March 3, 2015). "Here Are The Winners Of The 2015 YouTube Music Awards". Forbes. Retrieved May 1, 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Tori Kelly at the Internet Movie Database
  • "Tori Kelly – Biography Billboard". Billboard. 

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