After winning 2 x Grammy’s for her gospel EP ‘Hiding Place’ earlier this year, Tori Kelly has returned with her most intimate and honest collection of material yet. Her sophomore record ‘Inspired By True Events’ is unapologetically her in the most sincere and raw way. What her gospel side-project allowed her to do was find a passion deep inside of her that redirected her storytelling to be even more honest than she has been in the past. And now she’s back to her pop roots and giving you sweet harmonies and catchy melodies that interpolate her raw personal history and her strong songwriting that made her debut album ‘Unbreakable Smile’ a memorable piece of work.
“I envy the cup of coffee that kisses you every morning” she reflects during the opening lines of ‘Coffee’ which begins the confessional theme of the record. Exploring the hardships and longing that are involved with long distance relationships, she longs to be in her lovers embrace again. With it’s relaxed and soulful pop production, she immediately draws you in and has you swaying during the chilled out ‘2 Places’, ‘Kid I Used To Know’, ‘Sorry Would Go A Long Way’ and ‘The Lie’. With her guitar roots heavily intact, the blues influence of ‘Language’ adds a gritty and standout moment which is experimental compared to the rest of the record. But her pop side is still highlighted with the playful ‘Actress’ and ‘Pretty Fades’ that have those pure singalong moments that will work extremely well in her live show.
But the albums strongest area is in the songwriting. That’s where her heart lies on the record. It’s pure, honest and real. ‘Change Your Mind’ embodies that sentiment as she explains how her mother and father didn’t approve of her fiancé but she was so convinced to show them why she was in love with him. “No one ever said it was easy and I love him, you gotta believe me. No, it don’t seem right but I’ll change your mind”. It was an honesty that her fans have immediately drawn to and have felt privileged that she decided to open up and share.
This whole album tells unique stories from her life and sees her looking from the outside into other peoples lives as she reflects on situations. The four interludes that break up the record are audio taken from early home videos that hear wholesome interactions with her family. It cements the personal feeling and embodiment that this record has which makes it one of the best releases of 2019.