Tori Kelly has managed to pack a lot of excitement into her 23 years. That’s because the Hollow singer pretty much always knew what she wanted to do.
Star Search at age 10. Two years later, the aspiring soul/R&B singer appeared on NBC’s America’s Most Talented Kids and soon after started posting her own videos of original material and covers on YouTube.
Amazingly, the California native never made it very far on American Idol (season 9 in 2010), but, armed with sheer moxie combined with raw talent, went on to sign with Capitol Records.
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Last summer, her debut album, Unbreakable Smile, was released, including such chart toppers as Nobody Love and Should’ve Been Us. In February, Kelly snagged a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Remember? Kelly was the one caught on camera allegedly “throwing shade” at Taylor Swift during her Album of the Year acceptance speech.
Tori felt terrible, meaning no harm, and later Tweeting: “I loved every moment of last night,” she tweeted.
“I can’t express how thankful I am. Here’s to the next chapter.”
We spoke to the wavy haired beauty on the Dallas stop of her Unbreakable Tour, which hits the Fillmore Miami Beach 7 p.m. Sunday.
Can you tell us about the concert?
Every city is so different. I rely on the crowd. I kind of feed off of them and that makes it more fun. I’m just up there with my band showing every element of who I am as an artist. We’ll be doing all the new stuff from the album but there’s definitely going to be some throwbacks, maybe even some covers.
Have a favorite song to sing live?
Something Beautiful feels very fresh and new. It feels like it was written for a live show; the audience get involved and it’s fun. But I’m not skipping over anything. All my fans have their favorite and I’ll take care of them.
How have you been prepping throughout the tour?
I give my vocal coach [Billy Purnell] a lot of credit. Training your voice is like training a muscle, and keeping it nice and strong. I feel like he’s able to really listen. My voice isn’t going to be perfect for like 33 shows in a row. I have my trainer with me. We keep my workouts light. You have to pace yourself. I make sure I take care of myself and build up my stamina.
Any advice for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
I would say, Don’t rush into anything. Take your time. There were so many moments when I felt my career was all happening, but then I had to step back and show patience. I thought I knew who I was as an artist but there were so much room for me to grow before I was ready. So I would say to them: Make sure you know who are before you let the world kind of pick you apart. I’m still evolving and growing and learning. That keeps the fire under you.
Burning question. Pictures of you as a child show you with straight hair. How did you get those waves?
It’s actually a combination of things. I use a lot of products and kind of let them sit there. I attach a diffuser to the end of my blow dryer — that seems to really work.