Award-winning musical artist Tori Kelly is one of the first in a new breed of stars: one that is found by the fans rather than a talent scout and judged on whether they can be a success or not before releasing a single album. Kelly made her fame via YouTube, posting both her original songs and her unique covers on her channel after being eliminated from hit series American Idol. Now boasting 1.4 million subscribers, Kelly released her first studio album, Unbreakable Smile, in June 2015, with a reissue in October. The album sold over 75,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200.
However, she had plenty of music already made before the release of Unbreakable Smile; in fact, she had already gone on three tours before the one tied to the album. That means it may not necessarily be long until albums number two and three—maybe even in 2016! But with such an extensive library already, what songs are the creams of the crop? For those who only want to hear the best, here are the top five Tori Kelly songs.
Released at the tail end of 2014, “Funny” is an acoustic track that relates how small and connected the world truly is; it makes sense that she’d have that opinion, given she has the internet to thank for her fame. Also note that, unlike the rest of the songs on the album, the version of this song that appears on Unbreakable Smile is a version being performed live, having played the song for MTV, which aired it for several weeks.
“Dear No One”
Arguably one of her best-known songs, 2013’s “Dear No One” takes the traditional song topic of relationships and inverts it, making it about the benefits of being single instead. In addition to its lyrics, which eventually turn cynical, the track is notable for its strong guitar and vocals. Like “Funny,” a performance of “Dear No One” was also recorded by MTV.
“All in My Head”
Coming from Tori Kelly’s debut EP Handmade Songs, “All in My Head” sees Kelly questioning if an ex ever truly cared about her. Being one of her earlier songs, its YouTube view count has reached over 17 million views with people in the comments calling it relatable and emotional and noting the song and video succeeds on its own merits, without relying on sex or shock value to garner a reaction.
“Should’ve Been Us”
Recorded especially for Unbreakable Smile, this song is about regret over an ended relationship with a man she still pines for. Showing off Kelly’s vocal range, the track was received positively by critics, despite receiving extra scrutiny since it was released ahead of the rest of the album.
The lead single off her debut album, “Nobody Love” lyrically contrasts with the other songs on this list, as she sings the praises of a “Mr. Right.” The song, which is an incredibly upbeat piece, also talking about her generation’s habit of failing to enjoy the moment and always looking for more, part of an effort with the lyrics she said she hoped would help to create a pop song with more depth.