Born in Wildomar, California, Tori's parents exposed her to different genres of music. In 2004, she tried out for America's Most Talented Kids and won, beating out future country star Hunter Hayes. At age 12, she signed a deal with Geffen Records but was released from her contract due to creative differences. She then turned her attention to YouTube where she began posting videos of herself singing various songs.
Tori auditioned for the show in Denver in 2010 when she was 16. Impressed by her pretty voice, the judges put her through to Hollywood, where she continued to do well. She made it all the way to the top 24 where she was considered by some to be a shoo-in to make the top 12 but ended up getting cut. The judges told her at the time that she wasn't ready.
After her time on the show, Tori continued to post videos on YouTube. She also released her first EP, Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly, independently in 2012. The combination of the success of her EP, which hit the top 10 on the iTunes Pop Albums chart, as well as her YouTube videos caught the attention of popular music manager Scooter Braun, who took Tori on as a client. He helped her get a deal with Capitol Records. Her second EP, Foreword was released in 2013. Her full-length debut album, Unbreakable Smile, was released on January 29, 2016. It features the hit singles "Nobody Love" and "Should've Been Us". She earned a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and got to perform a duet with singer James Bay at the 58th Grammy Awards on February 15, 2016. She also got to be a guest advisor to Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine on season 10 of the NBC singing show The Voice. She made her acting debut by voicing Meena, a shy teenage elephant, in the 2016 animated film Sing. She released a new single, "Blink of an Eye", on her YouTube channel on July 10, 2016 in memory of her friend, fellow singer-songwriter Christina Grimmie, who was murdered by a crazed fan a month earlier.
Tori is currently working on her second album.
* "Blink of an Eye" (2016)
- Unbreakable Smile (2016)
- Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly (2012)
- Foreword (2013)