Listen to Kelly's soulful acoustic performances of two 'Unbreakable Smile' tracks.
Tori Kelly says Simon Cowell called her voice "almost annoying."
Then he should probably check out her latest performances of "Hollow" and "Funny" on Jimmy Kimmel Live that aired Monday night (Jan. 4), because Kelly sounds flawless.
"Deep down, I knew I was good, and I knew I could do it," she said of Cowell's comment in the latest issue of Seventeen magazine. "I needed to get knocked down and to build up a thick skin. Who knows what I would have been singing about otherwise? You have to go through things in order to inspire others with your story."
Even her manager Scooter Braun had some harsh words for her. "He told me, 'People are saying you are vanilla and that you have nothing to say,'" she recalled. "I was like, Whoa. I remembered record-label guys telling me I was really reserved when I was younger. Like, 'Wake up, you should be bubbly and happy!' And I was thinking, But this is my personality; I'm just chilling. So I went right back to being that little girl who was just so freaked out. I acted as if I didn't care, but I went home that night and just poured all the feelings that I was holding back into my music. That's how 'Unbreakable Smile' came to be."
"Hollow" is the latest release off Unbreakable Smile, and it appears Kelly has her sights on releasing "Funny" next.