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Tori Kelly | Hiding Place

Label:  Capitol
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Rating:  3.5 out of 5
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September 24, 2018
By Jeremy Gruen
 
Ever since discovering Tori Kelly’s YouTube video covers of songs like Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”, MJ’s “PYT”, and most infamously Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You”, I had been keeping tabs on this female vocalist and just waiting for her to blow up. In 2012, Tori independently released her first EP titled Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly that she produced, wrote, and mixed herself; and I fell in love. With the album featuring emotional pop ballad “All In My Head” containing stellar vocals, and a contemporary R&B/Pop blend with exquisite guitar chords and riffs titled “Confetti”, it was only a matter of a time before someone with a stature such as Scooter Braun scooped her up.

Two years after being signed to Capitol records and managed by Braun, Tori Kelly released her powerful debut Funk-Pop Unbreakable Smile and it opened at number 2 on the Billboard 200. With lead single “Nobody Love,” this album combined all forms of Kelly’s singer personality from Pop bangers like “Should’ve Been Us” and “Hollow”, to the emotional ballad “I Was Made For Loving You” (featuring the current master of the genre, Ed Sheeran), to the authentic, raw, and truth-telling “Unbreakable Smile”.

And after a long 3 year wait, we finally get to see another side of the Californian singer as she goes back to her Christian-influenced childhood roots, bringing Kirk Franklin along for a masterfully produced Gospel album entitled Hiding Place.

The album begins with “Masterpiece” and it truly is exactly that. Beginning with panned gospel choir jazz chords, Tori freely unleashes her riff-tastic voice only to easily transition into a Cee Lo Green-like funk pop jam where she asks for god's embrace as she says “Just one request from me / God take my heart forever it’s yours / Make me your masterpiece.” At the 3:18 mark, all instrumentation but piano fades as Tori’s vocals and the bass line carry us into a half time R&B breakdown, followed by a verse from Christian Hip-Hop rapper, Lecrae. The song ends on a dominant with Tori unresolved on the 7th, leaving us on a cliffhanger and wanting more.

In order to mend that unsettling state the listener is left in, Tori provides an inspirational and comforting message with “Help Us to Love”, this one written and produced by the aforementioned Kirk Franklin. The song debuted live at the Stellar Awards, the first and oldest televised awards show honoring gospel music artists, writers, and industry professionals. With the assistance of The Hamiltones, the song emulates the need to love one another, especially during times of distress when people need others support the most.
Jeremy is a concert and live music enthusiast. In addition to writing for musiqtone, he works in Digital Marketing at Atlantic Records. Catch Jeremy at your local music venue scoping out the most innovative and unknown artists!
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