Tori Kelly Performs New Songs, Covers Beyonce & P!nk at Billboard Women in Music Event [VIDEO]
Artist-on-the-rise Tori Kelly performed at The General in New York City on Dec. 10 as part of a celebration for Billboard's Women in Music event earlier in the day.
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter, who was recently named one of Billboard's "21 Under 21" for 2013, performed to an almost packed house (including Enstars) at the venue. The intimate setting added to the allure of Kelly's emotionally embalming acoustic songs. The singer was also pleased that the platform allowed her to work her performance in a "storytellers" mold, wherein she could give a backstory for most of her songs.
The pop singer possesses the lyrical bent -- writing about teenage woes and high-school crushes and heartbreaks -- of Taylor Swift and powerful, texturally rich vocals that are evocative of Beyonce and Rihanna.
Kelly looked stellar with a half buzz-cut and heavy, lustrous blond hair on one side, while wearing a shimmering black dress with metal studded black boots.
She thanked the audience for all their love, stating that she was grateful for the attention she was receiving even though she hasn't even released a full-length album yet. Kelly released her debut EP, Foreword, on Oct. 22.
While the young songstress played her own popular songs like All in My Head, which got the crowd singing along, she also played a couple of covers and new songs.
Kelly introduced a new song while speaking of working on new material for an album. Before launching into the track Rocket, she spoke about what inspired it using the abbreviation "FOMO" (fear of missing out). The song was written when Kelly was at home one evening while all her friends were out having fun and she felt left out.
She also played a song titled Design, evocative of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful, about "loving yourself."
Kelly disclosed that All in My Head was written when she was heartbroken after finding out that a guy she had a crush on started dating a new girl. During the song she worked a medley, seguing in and out of Beyonce/Destiny's Child's Say My Name.
As she took fans through her brief trajectory as an artist, she also played the very first cover that she uploaded on YouTube: Paramore's The Only Exception. While playing, she revealed that she was only 16 when she first performed the cover and was going through an "emo phase."
At the Billboard Women in Music luncheon held at NYC's Capitale earlier on Tuesday, P!nk and Monae were honored for their contributions to music. Monae received the event's title of 2013's Rising Star.
Fellow celebrities and musicians -- including Andy Cohen, Tegan and Sara, Chvrches and Kelly -- were present at the gathering. Cohen interviewed P!nk on stage while Tegan and Sara, and Chvrches played a musical tribute to the pop diva.
The event was the first time Billboard officially celebrated women in music and is intended to be an annual ceremony.
"I remember when I won the Female Rock Vocal Grammy for Trouble, I think it was 10 years ago," P!nk said at the event. "And the very next day, they dissolved the category. So Billboard, if this speech sucks, please wait one year. If you're thinking about not doing this again, it's not my fault."
Paying tribute to the lady of the evening, Kelly also performed a stripped-down and soulful rendition of P!nk's Glitter in the Air.
Watch Kelly perform Glitter in the Air: