Born and raised in Atlanta, I’ve been to my fair share of sold out shows at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, but I had never been to a sold out show like this one. For an hour and a half, 20-year old Tori Kelly deeply moved every single person in that room with her remarkably stunning voice, her guitar and her contagious personality. The excitement from the audience was unbelievable and incredibly overwhelming, and she deserved every bit of it. Her raw and intrinsic performance got her two standing ovations and I wouldn’t expect anything less.
Tori Kelly is a true musical artisan; she started singing at age three and then picked up drums, piano and guitar shortly thereafter. She credits Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, John Mayer, Jeff Buckley, and gospel artists such as Crystal Lewis and J. Moss as her musical influences, which are reflected in her soulful pop/rock blend.
It is her clear and uncompromising vision for her craft and career that has helped her build a YouTube channel that has garnered over 30,000,000 views and a following that spans the globe. The new “it girl” of music, Tori has generated a buzz not seen in years from a female singer -songwriter.
Fortunately, Tori took the time to talk to us before her show! Read below to see what Tori had to say about becoming a musician, what she thinks of Atlanta and how she handles her nerves before shows!
Was there a certain time in your life where it just clicked, where you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Yeah, when I was six. Music was always in the house, it just came really natural. Both of my parents were musicians and they were always playing really good music around the house. I started doing vocal lessons and local competitions. That would be in kindergarten. In kindergarten they always asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I would always say singer. I always stuck to that, I never really had a ‘plan B.’
You were on America’s Most Talented Kids and you won! What was it like competing with fellow musician Hunter Hayes?
I was I think 11. Yeah, he was on the show as well. We got along great. It’s been really cool to see how his career has taken off. I’m fully supportive of him. I respect him a lot. It would be cool to collab one day too!
As an artist how do you want your fan base to know you?
I always hope that my personality and my own style kind of comes out through stuff like that, my music videos and little things online. I use social media a lot, on Twitter, I try to make sure I’m being myself. I make sure that I am the one tweeting. It is really important to stay true [to who I am]. I’m just trying to keep it as real as possible throughout the whole thing.
Is this your first time in Atlanta? What is special to you about Atlanta?
It is my first time. I’m bummed that I only have a day here. I can’t wait to come back already because I’ve heard so many great things about the city! I do have some family that lives here, so it’s cool that I get to see them and hang out. I would love to just be a tourist someday!
Are you ever nervous to sing?
I’d say yeah, I get butterflies before every show or before anything I do involving music, but they are the good butterflies! I try to use the nerves to my benefit and just be real. I would probably just say, ‘I’m nervous guys!’
Can you think of one moment that was that “wow” moment for you?
I’d say a big one for me was when I had a sold out show in London. That alone was crazy just to think that there’s people all the way across the world that listen to my music. That was definitely a “wow” moment for me. Just last week I got to be on the ACMs. That was my very first award show. I got to walk the red carpet and announce Jewel singing a piece of my song. Even now just being on tour, the whole thing is just a pinch me moment.
What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
Right after this tour, I have another show in London in May and then there’s a show in Manchester. There’s a few things in the works this year. I could say big things! I’m always writing new music, that’s something I will really be focused on this year. That’s all I can really say. Big things, hopefully!