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'I Was So Devastated’: Tori Kelly Tearfully Recalls Struggling with Comparison, Rejection


Tori Kelly's soulful voice has captured the hearts of millions of fans and won numerous music awards.

While many young singers admire her success, Kelly admits she struggled with feelings of inadequacy and comparison when she first began her music career.

"People all around me all the time would say like, 'Oh, you're such an amazing singer,' and that became my identity in a lot of ways." she explained in a recent interview with I Am Second.

"They wanted me to be this outgoing, bubbly personality which I just, I didn't have. And that's when I really started comparing myself to other people," Kelly added.

The young singer, who started her music career at just 12-years-old, faced closed door after closed door. After being unable to secure and maintain a record deal, Kelly auditioned for Fox's American Idol. She did well on the show, but was ultimately eliminated.

"I was so devastated," Kelly recalled.

That's when she decided to step away from the spotlight, regroup, and talk to Jesus.

"I went back into my room, my childhood room, and I started to journal a lot. I wrote about confusion, feeling different, getting out these emotions I've never been really good at explaining....I would even write down prayers," she said.

"Lord, like guide me. I don't know who I am without singing," Kelly remembered praying. "If this doesn't work out, what am I, what am I gonna do?"

She received new inspiration from the Lord when she decided to submit her dreams and plans to Him.

"Those moments in my bedroom, it was just me and my notebook. That's when I really got into songwriting more. I felt like I had something to say now. Instead of other people giving me words to say, now I finally had these emotions that I was carrying," Kelly said.

In 2012, the singer released her first independent EP that she wrote, produced, and mixed herself. She shared her new music on YouTube and was eventually discovered and signed to Capitol Records.

Since then, she has released numerous albums, sold out tours, and won multiple music awards.

Despite her success, Kelly lives by Philippians 3:7-8, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ."

"I don't believe that every single day wholeheartedly, but that I think is the goal. To really look at my life and be like, 'Okay, if all of this went away, would I still be okay with just Jesus and all of the things that he offers?'" Kelly shared. "I would be okay because he's just, He's everything."

When asked what she would tell her younger self, Kelly says she would tell her who she is in Christ.

"I would tell that little girl who feels she's too shy, or not bubbly enough...That's just a lie, and it's not true and you're being built up into the woman that God wants you to be. And it might, it might take a while, but one day you're gonna grow into your own skin and just be the girl that God uniquely made as you."

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