Two nights after performing in Minneapolis, the 10th stop of an 18-city North American headlining tour, Tori Kelly sits in a room at downtown Atlanta's Omni Hotel, still buzzing from a chance encounter with the Twin Cities' most famous resident: Prince. "It's a story I'll be telling for the rest of my life," she says, recounting how the legend seemed to appear out of nowhere at Minneapolis' Varsity Theater just as she began a cover of "Kiss." After the show, a member of his 3rdEyeGirl backing band invited Kelly to his home, where she played pingpong and was eventually summoned to meet the musician himself. "I don't think I said that much," she says. "I was just smiling the whole time, and he was there, wearing a turban. Then he disappeared into thin air. I didn't see him again after we spoke."
The experience is just one of many music milestones already notched by the 22-year-old known for her R&B-pop fusion sound and impressive vocal range. Born an hour outside of Los Angeles in Wildomar, Kelly credits her love of music to her parents -- a nurse and a construction worker -- who are both proficient instrumentalists who often played gospel music at home. "My mom and dad say that before I could even talk, I was humming melodies and reacting to songs," says Kelly, who is of Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Irish, German and English descent.