Tori Kelly won her first two Grammy awards Sunday and dedicated them to “any girl” facing the rejection she felt early in her career.
Speaking backstage at the 61st Grammy Awards, Kelly said she was transported back to being a 12-year-old aspiring musician dealing with doors closing in her face when she heard she won best gospel album for “Hiding Place” and best gospel song for “Never Alone.”
“I kinda went back to when I was a little girl watching the Grammys, and I wasn’t expecting to have this, but they said my name and I was like, wow, I’ve been dreaming about this moment since I was a kid, you know, wondering if it will happen, when it will happen, and so I immediately got emotional,” she recalled.
“I just remembered, as a kid, there were a lot of doors that closed. I’ve been doing music since I was like 12 years old. And so, just thinking back on all those times that I was rejected and had the door closed in my face,” she said.
“This is for any girl who’s going through that and feels that they’re not good enough. That’s the immediate thought that came into my head,” she said.
Kelly, now 26, signed her first record deal with Geffen at age 12 after appearing on the TV show, “America’s Most Talented Kid.” The parties later parted ways, reportedly over creative differences, and her career seemed to stall.
At age 14, she started posting videos on YouTube. In 2010, she auditioned for “American Idol,” advancing to “Hollywood Week” but falling out of the competition before reaching the “Top 24.”
Kelly gained widespread critical acclaim with her hit single “Nobody Love” in 2015. She was nominated for best new artist at the Grammys in 2016 but lost to Meghan Trainor.