THE INVENTOR OF “HOPE POP,” TORI KELLY BRINGS HER INFECTIOUS R&B AND JAZZ INFUSED STYLINGS TO KINGS THEATRE
BY TIA KIM
A. based singer/songwriter Tori Kelly traces the musical style she’s coined “hope pop” essentially upbeat R&B and jazz infused gospel as far back as 2007, when she began posting videos on YouTube when she was all of 14. Streams of her acoustic cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” (performed with fellow YouTuber Angie Girl) measured in the millions, which helped fuel an audition for American Idol. Though she failed to rank among the top 24 artists in Idol auditions for season nine, her style struck chords, and in 2012 Kelly independently released her first EP, Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly. A second, Foreword, was released in 2013 on Capitol Records, after which she was chosen to be the supporting act to Ed Sheeran at his Madison Square Garden gig in November of that year, then opened for Sam Smith on his In the Lonely Hour tour in 2014.
There have been two studio albums since Unbreakable Smile in 2015 and last year’s Hiding Place the latter winning her two Grammys for Best Gospel Album and Best Gospel Performance/Song for the track “Never Alone.” In reviewing the first disc, PopCrush music critic Matthew Scott Donnelly memorably observed that “Kelly’s got pipes that could stop an Olympic sprinter in her tracks.”
The 27 year old, in her January launched The Acoustic Sessions tour and in anticipation of a new (as yet unnamed) studio album, brings simple arrangements and intimate soundscapes to an April 3rd show here in Brooklyn. Tickets are $25 to $252; the VIP Meet & Greet Experience upgrade includes a Premium reserved seat, a photo opportunity with Kelly, a tour tee shirt, and priority entry into the historic Flatbush Avenue venue.