Tori Kelly’s “Inspired by True Events”

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Her soothing, sultry, soulful and serene sound accompanied by her guitar can either make you feel like you’re floating in the clouds and like everything’s alright, but sometimes she’ll take you to a place where you’re in the deepest of your feelings and crying your eyes out. However you feel, you’ll recognize that you never walk away with an attitude of negativity. If anything, you feel uplifted. In a word, Tori Kelly is pure. Tori has the talent and the gift to make you experience music in a distinct way because her lyrics are real and relatable.

Tori Kelly popped up on the music scene in 2010 when she appeared on American Idol as a semi-finalist in the ninth season. Shortly after, she posted music and videos on YouTube featuring songs like “Dear No One” and she released her first EP titled, “Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly” which featured known songs such as “All in My Head”, “Stained” and “Confetti”. Following that, she's released projects such as “Unbreakable Smile” and “Hiding Place”. But most recently, she released her newest album entitled, “Inspired by True Events”.

This album comes after her success from the 2018 gospel-inspired, “Hiding Place”, and though this new project is not gospel, it’s still clean, meaningful and carefully crafted. In every song that Tori releases, you somehow have a sense of peace. You receive a sense of congeniality in knowing how much she carefully crafts and creates her songs through her lyrics, her heart, and tone in her voice. As the story goes, this newest project was revealed to her through a trip she took home to L.A. where she found a bunch of home videos and after she spent days watching them and crying, she was musically inspired and began piecing the album together. The tracks on the album are inspired by the videos, her relationships with her family, her relationships with men and her now-husband, André Murillo and life as she sees it as a whole.

I’m here to tell you, get this album in your spirit, in your life, in your mind, in your heart, all of that. Tori Kelly is a gem of a singer and songwriter. Like I said before, you feel every word, every melody, every effortless run, every string she plucks on her guitar. She kicked off the album with “Coffee”. She plays on words with lyrics such as “I envy the cup of coffee that kisses you every morning” to describe how jealous she is of everyone and everything that gets to be near her man rather than her. It’s a song that anyone can relate to. We’ve all had those moments in relationships where we miss our significant-other well....significantly and desire to be “the seat belt on your chest, hearing your heart holding you down”.

When it comes to Tori Kelly, it’s honestly hard for me to have specific favorites because the whole album tends to be my favorite. She’s literally one of those artists that I rarely have my “skip tracks” because her songs speak to various parts of my life whether it’s present-day or past. However, one I can’t relate to quite yet, but I feel her still, is “Change Your Mind”. It’s a soulful track about her convincing her dad that she’s found the man she wants to be with and marry and I don’t think dad was too happy or wanted to give his blessing, but she’s ready to change his mind.

Though I can’t relate to wanting to change my daddy’s mind about the man I want to marry, I can relate to being hurt by a man, feeling lonely, feeling a mess and just wanting to hear the right words and an apology. Well, press play here on “Sorry Would Go A Long Way”!

That’s literally what the song is about. Tori softly croons about how the situation the man has placed her in and “No, it won’t make it better, won’t make it okay, but sorry would go a long way.”

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With the album being titled “Inspired by True Events”, and having the backstory of her watching these home videos, she so carefully chose beautiful audio clips from the home videos and inserted them in between the various tracks as little interludes. Though it’s not new for her to make this move because how many albums have we heard where an artist inserted little behind-the-scene audio of being in the studio or conversations with family members and friends? It’s not new, but hearing little pieces like her grandfather praying over her when she was dedicated as a baby or the clip of her singing her little heart out and asking her mom, “Do some people sing in their bathing suits? CAN I DO THAT WHEN I’M A KID?! IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?! I’m not embarrassed anymore.” Or even the clip of her dad saying that she’s looking right at him and she knows that he loves her. How do you not tear up at these things???? How do you not feel closer to her as a person? How do you not feel the meaningfulness and genuineness of that?

This album is a true piece of art. It doesn’t feel rushed. It doesn’t feel thrown together. It doesn’t feel like she aimlessly chose the music. Every song has a meaning and a story. It’s a work of quality and you can tell she took her time and put her heart into every word. But honestly, that’s always the quality of work that she delivers. Her music has never given the impression that it was aimless. No. It’s always been able to carry itself as music that meets you where you are and sometimes is able to give you the words to situations you may not be able to verbalize yourself. Most importantly, it leaves you with a little bit of hope.

Inspired by True Events” is sure to have a track that you can relate to. Whether you’re missing your significant other, whether you’re a little pissed off and you’re carefully thinking about the “Language” to use to communicate with your partner. Or whether you’re willing to journey with her on “Kid I Used to Know” and daydream about how you’re all grown up now, dealing with grown-up things and life’s not that simple. Let the events of her life as they inspired her, take you on a journey to inspire you, too.

by: Nia I. Williams @__queenniaa