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Review: Gospel singer Tori Kelly kicks off concert in Tucson

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Madeleine Viceconte | The Daily Wildcat Tori Kelly, a Grammy award-winning singer and guitarist, performs an acoustic session on Monday, Feb. 25 at the Fox Theatre.

The historic “Crown Jewel of Tucson" came alive when gospel singer-songwriter Tori Kelly took the stage for the very first stop of her tour, The Acoustic Sessions, featuring music from her brand new album, “Change Your Mind.” Kelly broke free from her traditional big gospel sound to focus on a more intimate concert in the Fox Theatre.  

She and her guitarist took center stage along with a comfy couch to make it seem like they were just chilling out in a living room. She greeted the audience with acoustic versions of her most well known songs, then told a story of her life through songs that were impactful to her in her musical journey. She ended the show by giving the crowd a taste of what her new album has to offer.

Tori Kelly, a Grammy award-winning singer and guitarist, performs an acoustic session on Monday, Feb. 25 at the Fox Theatre.


The Grammy winner is most famous for her songs "I Was Made For Loving You," "Dear No One," "Change Your Mind" and her feature in Chris Lane’s "Take Back Home Girl." She also did the voice and songs for Meena, a shy elephant in the movie "Sing."

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Her first songs were more upbeat and had a very full Gospel sound, but the songs slowly started to show her more delicate, almost singer-songwriter or country roots. In between songs, she explained that this was her first time doing the set and she was still memorizing the order. She joked with the audience, but had a very shy and humble personality, like she still couldn't believe she was actually headlining her own tour.  

Tori Kelly, a Grammy award-winning singer and guitarist, performs an acoustic session on Monday, Feb. 25 at the Fox Theatre.

Next, she started to explain the story of her life and how she became famous. She highlighted the first song she ever performed, her first original song, and songs about her dealing with rejection from record labels. Wanting the audience to know that she had to work hard and face rejection made her seem like a normal human and very down to earth. Each song was a snippet of the full song, so the story flowed really well.

Kelly continued playing some new music and explained the meaning behind each song. Some of the songs were fierce and about becoming famous with stronger beats and even riffs from the electric guitar, while some were sad songs with gentle guitar chords. One was about the passing of her grandfather. On the more upbeat, either positive or dramatic songs, she showed off her vocal range and the unique gospel sounds she could make, while on the slower songs, she stuck to simple notes and tones to focus on the lyrics.  

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Mateus Asato, Kelly’s guitarist, performed a guitar solo on the electric guitar. The solo was similar to John Mayer’s guitar solos and was a nice way to break up the concert.  

Kelly’s gospel sounds combined with the historic theatre made her concert memorable and humbly showed off her talent.  


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