Tori Kelly: Next Big Thing?

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Rachel Seo, Photojournalist

We’ve all seen the four words branded everywhere. “Next Big Thing,” articles declare. Companies compile songs and emblazon the words on shiny album covers. Single smash, but artists eventually disappear into infamy, their sugar-coated pop that passing in a blink.


LA-based singer-songwriter Tori Kelly, though, is determined to last on the music scene.


Her career first began when she started her YouTube channel, scoring a major viral hit with her cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You.” Soon after that, in 2012, she released her own independent EP, “Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly,” featuring songs that she wrote, recorded, and produced in her own bedroom. Eventually, her hard work and effort culminated in management by Scooter Braun (manager of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber), along with a record deal with Capitol Records. Second EP “Foreword” was issued from the record label, introducing a new influx of fans to her distinctive voice and straightforward message. Recently, she completed tours with award-winning artists Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.


Now her own career is escalating. Her latest single “Nobody Love” (produced by Max Martin, who created Ariana Grande’s hit “Problem”) charted and pervaded pop culture. She performed on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and at the Radio Disney Music Awards, further promoting her own music and skyrocketing her Instagram fans, who now number 877,000, and Twitter followers (483K, as of May fifth). Her fame has extended to that of YLHS. Sophomore Anh-Thu Tran admires Tori Kelly, saying that “her music style is very unique…She has a strong and beautiful voice, and her hair is awesome.”


With the announcement of her debut album “Unbreakable Smile” and its upcoming June 23rd release, Kelly is currently rehearsing for a short tour, beginning on May 26th in the Anaheim House of Blues.


Tori Kelly has waited several years for this spotlight. Whether she lasts in the music industry or disappears back into infamy is entirely up to her talent, her music, and her message.