Center stage the poised songstress appeared amidst the spotlight during the 15th annual BET Awards kicking off a special tribute for the legendary Smokey Robinson. Following the opening guitar riff the BET awards audience, at-home viewers, and black Twitter alike wanted to know who the curly haired white girl was who managed to belt out a harmonic and acoustic rendition of Michael Jackson’s classic tune, “Who’s Lovin You”. Tori Kelly, still riding high from her Billboard Music Award performance won over BET viewers as she joined veterans Robin Thicke and Neyo for a medley of Smokey Robinson’s greatest hits. Truth is Tori Kelly is no stranger to covers, in fact it’s her claim to stardom. A sweet and humble Tori gained her fan base early on after uploading several videos of herself perfecting songs from artist like Rihanna, Sam Smith, and Katy Perry. It was in 2012 when her cover of Michael Jackson’s “PYT” took over my life and her infectious melodies became a frequent obsession as she continued to upload videos featuring her powerful vocals. After holding out on signing to a major label Tori hit the road performing at festivals and from city to city reaching out to the core fan base that helped her reach 30 million Youtube views. Tori’s work ethic and passion to deliver music that’s true to her heart is what continues to propel her career forward.

At 21 the young talent already has an album that she wrote, produced and mixed herself under her belt. Unbreakable Smile the new project from Tori Kelly was recently released and highlights Tori’s bluesy tone with a mix of ballads and uptempo tracks with features from Daye Jack, Ed Sheeran, and LL Cool J. Tori Kelly is undoubtedly the next big thing in mainstream music; her artistry transcends multi-genres and her sweet girl next door persona will be a cash cow for big brands looking for the next “It” girl. If you missed it catch Tori Kelly’s performance from the 2015 BET awards below.

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