Singer-Songwriter Tori Kelly on 'Intimidating' Max Martin and 'Inspiring' Manager Scooter Braun

tori kelly
Sarah Barlow and Stephen Schofield

The 22-year-old singer's first Hot 100 hit precedes her full-length debut.

Max Martin, who produced hits for Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and more, helmed "Nobody Love." What was working with him like?

Intimidating. Amazing. He's a perfectionist, which I had to get used to. It took three, four days to get the lyrics right. The deeper meaning of the song is how our generation is always chasing the next thing. Nothing is ever good enough. I'm saying, "Just chill, trust and be happy with what you've got."

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How did you connect with your manager Scooter Braun, who also reps Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen?

Scooter came to one of my very first shows in L.A., right after I put out my first viral video, a cover of Frank Ocean's "Thinkin' 'Bout You." He's always dropping nuggets of wisdom, but it's his passion that rubbed off on me the most. It's inspiring. It makes me want to throw my soul to the world.

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You're not shy about your Christianity. How does religion factor into your music?

My faith is a huge part of my life. I don't force it into my music, but it's in my experiences so it comes through. People pick up on what they want to pick up on, but any way strangers connect to a song that I wrote is awesome.

This story originally appeared in the April 11 issue of Billboard