Tori Kelly Interview: "I don't believe in ghosts."

16 September 2015, 17:57 | Updated: 2 November 2020, 17:40

tori kelly

By Alim Kheraj

We caught up with Tori to chat about working with Max Martin, her start on YouTube and whether she believes in ghosts...

It was pretty impossible to miss the VMAs. We mean #MileyWhatsGood

However, while everyone was focused on Kanye's bid for president, Kim Kardashian rushing into every selfie possible and Miley x Nicki's beef, there was another moment that gripped the world and it involved Tori Kelly. 

Basically, Tori smashed her performance of her single "Should've Been Us" causing people to sit up and pay attention. Basically, she slayed it. 

So, when Tori came to the UK swiftly after the awards we couldn't not catch up with her for a chin wag to ask her about working with Max Martin, her start on YouTube and whether she believes in ghosts...

But first, let's hear "Should've Been Us". 

PopBuzz: Hello Tori Kelly. After the VMAs you're having a bit of a moment, what with the album climbing the charts and you being the most Shazamed artist at the event.
Tori Kelly: I think so.

PB: I would be pretty tired and my brain would probably be melting, especially if I also had to perform shows like you are, too!
TK: The good thing about my fans is that they like when I'm awkward and real, so I'm able to just go on stage and be my dorky self.

PB: I'm legit obsessed from a song from your first EP Handmade Songs
TK: What? The first EP? Wow.

PB: It's called "All In My Head".
TK: Oh thank you.

PB: It's a proper bop.

TK: Oh, we don't say that in The States. I need to gather some UK slang. You guys also say, tune?

PB: Yep, as in, "That's a tune," for example. Anyways, you started off by putting you music on YouTube. What was it about the platform that you liked?
TK: I did start posting stuff on MySpace first, but I noticed that people were posting covers on there, too. I was a little confused by it at first because I was like, "Oh these people are singing other people's songs and they're getting views for it." It was low quality stuff, right into the computer with no microphones or crazy studio equipment, which I thought was really cool. I posted my first cover, which was Paramore's "Only Exception". It wasn't even my guitar, it was someone else's guitar. I just slowly kept posting and I would make sure that in-between the covers that I was posting an original song so that people could know that I was a song writer too.

PB: Are you a secret pop punk kind, then?
TK: I might be...yeah.

PB: Do you have any advice for budding musical YouTubers that want to get into posting videos?

TK: I would say just go for it. It took me a little while to work up the courage, and actually what really helped was the community. I would meet people that had a decent following and they knew the whole art of posting videos. I'd do collabs with them and it'd be on their channel and then they'd tell me to post a video on mine and that it would all link up. I really became close friends with this community of people, so I think that helps. It's not relying on just yourself and remembering that it can be fun.

PB: You started quite young and you're still young. How do you keep your head level when you're constantly moving around and have people having meetings about you when you're not even there?
TK: It helps having a team around you who really understands your vision and who you can trust. It wasn't always like that, but once I got there it's made everything so much easier. As cliché as it sounds, you've got to just get out there and be yourself. By me finally being at peace with knowing that what I'm putting out there is the real me is how I can take each day slowly and focus on the moment rather than the big picture. I have other people to focus on the big picture for me.

PB: You certainly get that from the album. Lyrically it's got this two fingers to the man attitude that's really cool.
TK: There's some of that in there [laughs].

PB: You worked with Max Martin. Obviously, he's a genius. How did you not freak out?
TK: I'll tell you: the first time we met I was geeking out because I've been a fan of his forever since NSYNC and Britney; I walked in as a fan for sure. But once we started working together it was so cool to see him treat me like a writer and respect me in that way. I think there was always something in the back of my head worrying that working with someone so successful like him that I'd walk in, the song would already done, perfectly ready and I'd be this little machine singing it. But he shattered all of that, it wasn't like that at all. He wasn't forcing anything on me. We created a sound that really fit in with what I wanted to do.

PB: I've heard he actually lives and has his studio in Marilyn Monroe's old house. Please can you confirm or deny this.
TK: Yeah, it is! I was one of the first people to record it in because it was brand new.

PB: That's mad.
TK: I think Frank Sinatra lived there, too.

PB: There's a song on your album called "Expensive" where you sing "money can't buy you love". What does it take to get the love of Tori Kelly?
TK: [Laughs] Definitely not money, I'm living up to that for sure. That would be so sad I was all about money. You have to be a real and genuine person. I don't think there's a formulae for how to love somebody. I think if you just fit with someone then you do. And that's any realtionship. It's something that takes work that you have to put time into. TIME. Time could buy my love.

PB: That's very sweet Tori. Now let's do some quick fire questions.
TK: Ok.

PB: What's your favourite type of candy?
TK: Between Reeces or Soup Patch Kids.

PB: Are you a water or soda person?
TK: Water.

PB: Sparkling or still?
TK: Still

PB: Do you believe in ghosts?
TK: No.

PB: So you've never seen a ghost?
TK: [Laughs] No.

PB: What's the worst thing about being on tour?
TK: Missing home.

PB: The best thing about being on tour?
TK: Getting to hang out with fans every night.

PB: Thanks Tori.
TK: That was good. Now I'm just thinking about ghosts.

PB: Oh.
TK: I don't believe in ghosts but I do believe in angels and demons.

PB: That seems scarier than ghosts, to be honest.
TK: Well, the world is a scary place.

PB: On that note...BYE!

Tori Kelly's debut album Unbreakable Smile is available in the US now and in the UK 16 October. You can also catch Tori on tour this autumn. For dates and deets visit Tori's official site