Tori Kelly Introduces Millions of Followers to Her Christian Roots With New Album
Grammy-nominated artist Tori Kelly is introducing her millions of pop fans to her Christian faith with her new album, Hiding Place, co-written with Gospel pioneer Kirk Franklin.
Kelly told ABC News Radio in a recent interview that it was a dream come true being able to work with one of her musical heroes.
"I grew up on gospel music, so the fact that a legend like Kirk Franklin would take me under his wing was just a dream come true," she said.
The news station reported that Kelly and Franklin were initially scheduled to do one song together, but upon getting together to record, their collaboration turned into an entire gospel album. Hiding Place marks the first time in Franklin's career that he co-wrote an album with someone. Kelly wrote one half of the record while the 12-time Grammy-winning gospel star co-wrote the other half.
A video of their single together, "Never Alone" has already accumulated millions of views. In it, the artist is seen singing her song of hope while in a church and Franklin joins her at the end with his signature melodic preaching and iconic dance moves.
"I've never seen anyone that's a monster behind the microphone like Tori Kelly ... It set the bar higher for my whole career. A lot of artists out there will rely on Auto-Tune or studio tricks, but there's no button you can push for emotion, and there's no button for skill," Franklin said to ABC News Radio. "Tori is excellent in everything she does, because she's a real, pure artist."
Some of Kelly's three million Instagram followers are showing their support by providing reaction videos of "Never Alone" on social media.
The title of her album, Hiding Place, is a term found in the book of Psalms 32, which says: "You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance."
"That always stuck with me: this idea of God being a place of safety, a place where you can hide from all the crazy things that this world can throw at us. I want people to feel uplifted and encouraged when they listen," Kelly added.
Hiding Place features the songs "Masterpiece" featuring Lecrae and "Just As Sure" with gospel powerhouse Jonathan McReynolds.
Kelly openly shared about her Christian faith in April of this year at Pastor Greg Laurie's Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, California. Laurie told his church that the songstress believes in Jesus Christ and was raised in the church. He shared that her mother even came to Christ at one of his Harvest services in Riverside.
"I was 9 when I started singing in church. So church was always a big part of my life, Jesus was always a big part of my life!" Kelly stated in a video clip shared by Laurie.
"There's time that I'd look back and say, 'Was this just a part of my childhood or did I really believe, you know?'" she confessed. "Our walks can be up and down and it's a whole journey."
However, Kelly described a time at the tender age of five when she knew her faith was real to her. While out with her aunt, the singer was told she had to look both ways before crossing the street and her response stunned her relative but also solidified her faith in her eyes.
"'It's fine, I'll just go to Heaven if I die,'" Kelly admitted that she told her aunt.
The mainstream phenomenon who reached number one on iTunes with her Grammy-nominated album, "Unbreakable Smile," has also shared her Christianity during impromptu worship performances at her concerts.
A video of Kelly singing Hillsong United's "Oceans" during her 2015 New York concert surfaced and garnered the support of many in the Christian community (watch the video HERE). Since then she has had hit singles with faith-based pioneers Lecrae and Amy Grant.
Hiding Place will be released September 14.