06/08/17 Collaborated with Lecrae on pop single "I'll Find You".
Be a hero to your students! Do the youth group session built around the “Ill Find You” music video!
Who Is She
In 2010, an unknown sixteen-year-old named Tori Kelly auditioned for American Idol and failed to make the Top 24. Undeterred, she began posting clips of covers on YouTube and people started taking notice. Usually armed with nothing but a guitar and her unique, powerful voice, Kelly stood out from many packaged, overproduced singers on the Top 40 charts. She wrote, engineered, produced and recorded an EP of original music by herself in her bedroom and it sold well enough on iTunes to make some industry people to take notice. As she began playing small showcases, manager Scooter Braun attended one and was instantly enamored with Kelly's soulful style and unbelievable vocals. Famous for guiding the careers of superstars like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, Braun convinced Tori to sign with him and secured a record deal for her. Her debut album, Unbreakable Smile, debuted at number two on the Billboard chart.
What Are Her Messages
Tori Kelly is a believer and readily talks about her faith. She has already worked with heavy-hitters of Christian music, including Lecrae and Hillsong UNITED. At her shows, she speaks about purpose, destiny and sometimes even covers Christian songs. Musically, she also stands out from the rest of modern pop music because her lyrics eschew the profane and instead focus on topics that really matter. "Dear No One" finds her admitting that though she often prefers to be by herself, she "would love to have a soulmate and God will give him to me someday." In "Unbreakable Smile", she realizes, "I wanna make a difference, change other people's lives, give hope, even for a moment", before wondering, "Who knows, maybe I can sell out shows without taking off my clothes?" "Expensive" finds her shunning material things in favor of what's real, while "City Dove" is a song of encouragement, noting that though we all face hardships and mistakes, we have to hold on while we continue our eventual journey to Heaven. The fact that her music is being played on Top 40 radio almost feels miraculous. It's wholesome, exceptionally written and produced and focuses on positivity and hope.
What Does A Youthworker Need2Know
If your students are fans of Tori Kelly, you should rejoice! Seriously though, she is an exceptional talent and an increasingly rare example of a believer being in the world, but not of it. Talk about a great role model! Many of her fans feel extremely connected to her because they have followed her since her beginnings on YouTube (she is a true product of this online, viral generation) so it is likely that they follow her every move on social media. Look for her cover of "Oceans" on YouTube and engage with your students about how they think she is able to stay strong in her faith, yet still relevant in pop culture. Also, her album is one you can feel great about blasting in the youth van, without worrying about profane or explicit content.
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