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Photo courtesy of Billboard.
The Holdovers Review
February 20, 2024

A New Name in the Music Industry

By Katie Quigley

Torri Kelly

Tori Kelly, a 22 year old California girl, has taken the music industry by storm in a matter of a couple of months. From her debut on the ninth season of American Idol in 2009, to her iconic 2015 VMA performance, Tori has brought a new definition to talent in her field. However, her journey to where she is today was not an easy one. It all started with the click of a button, when she uploaded her first YouTube video.

At the age of 14, Tori posted a video of her singing on YouTube to try to gain recognition for her work. She didn’t really start a fan base, though, until she auditioned for American Idol. At her audition to try to get to Hollywood, everyone but Simon thought she was cute, and gave her a “yes” to get through. Simon, however, told her that her voice was “annoying” and said that all of the other judges were crazy for liking her. Tori did an amazing job on the show. She got cut right before the “Top 24” were announced, which was really impressive for a sixteen year old. She said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest a couple months ago that getting knocked off of the show motivated her to keep going and make her dreams a reality. She kept making YouTube videos, and she finally had fans that helped spread her music.

In May of 2012, Tori released her first EP, which she called “Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly” which debuted six of her songs under the label she came up with herself, Toraay Records. She produced, engineered, and recorded the entire EP in her bedroom. Soon, she signed with Scooter Braun, a well known talent manager, who helped her release more music and get her name out in the open. In October 2013, she put “Foreword” on the market, and it became very popular very quickly. She included five songs on this album, including my favorite, “Dear No One.”

It was by the time Tori released “Unbreakable Smile” in June of 2015 that I really began to love her music. This is her biggest and most popular album by far. “Should’ve Been Us” became a huge hit that she performed on stage at the VMA’s. This song, among others like “Nobody Love,” “Funny,” “Anywa,”, “I Was Made For Loving You,” and “First Heartbreak” are my favorites. Tori Kelly has the kind of voice that doesn’t really require any autotune. I find it amazing that her VMA performance of “Should’ve Been Us” and the track on the album sound exactly the same. She is the kind of talent that is hard to find in the music industry today. From here, her career will only prosper.

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