Tori Kelly Covers P!nk, Destiny's Child and More at Intimate Billboard Show

Kate Glicksberg
Tori Kelly performs a Candid Covers session at The General in New York City, December 10, 2013

Tori Kelly’s a low maintenance performer. When she quietly made her way on to the stage at The Jazz Room in New York City for her Nikon Candid Covers show on Tuesday, the only instrument that assisted the sweet California vocalist was the one strapped to her shoulder: a guitar. There was no drummer and keyboardist, just Kelly strumming her strings.

Tori at Billboard's Women In Music Event: Watch

And that’s all she needed to rock, rolling through several cuts from her two quiet soul EPs "Handmade Songs” and “Foreword.” The signer-songwriter often paused to explain what was going through her head while crafting them. “All In My Head” was made after seeing a guy she was into in a wonderful relationship with another girl and the “bittersweet” feeling she had.  Kelly mixed in parts of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and Frank Ocean’s “Thinking Bout You” with it.

Then came more deliberate covers, like a heartfelt rendition of Paramore’s "The Only Exception," a song Kelly said she first heard when she was about 16-years-old. That wasn’t too long ago, considering Tori turns 21 in less than a week on December 14.

Before wrapping her hour-long performance with lead “Foreword” single “Dear No One,” Tori took a second to appreciate P!nk, who accepted her Billboard Woman of the Year award at the Women in Music luncheon earlier that afternoon.

“I can't think of a better person to win that award," she said.  Then Tori spoke of P!nk’s “Glitter in the Air,” from the pop star’s 2008 “Funhouse” album. "It just kind of showed a softer side of her,” Kelly mentioned before asking the crowd to help her with the lyrics to it in case she forgot them as she sang it. She did not. But they sang along anyway.

Look out for Tori Candid Covers performance videos next week.