By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Get Out Editor
Tori Kelly remembers Arizona as a child: the desert climate, the mountains and Easter.
“I remember it being very hot, too,” Kelly said. “But I’m a SoCal girl, so I’m used to that.”
Kelly will get another look at the Valley when she plays an acoustic show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
On this jaunt, she will be joined by guitarist Mateus (Nogueira) Asato, whom Kelly called “amazing.” She is showcasing a stripped-down side of her.
“I think my newer music has a more live element to it,” she said. “They’re really fun to play acoustically. My older stuff is more challenging – in a fun way.”
The new music she’s referring to is her latest collection “Hiding Place,” which won Best Gospel Album at this year’s Grammy Awards. Kelly also took home Best Gospel Performance Song for the song “Never Alone.”
“One of the things I want for this album is for people to feel uplifted and encouraged when they listen,” she said.
“I want them to know that, no matter what they’re going through, there’s a God who loves them so much and so unconditionally, and there’s always a reason to feel hope. That’s what I really believe in, and I want everyone out there to hear my heart.”
Produced by Kirk Franklin, “Hiding Place” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart, earning more first-week streams than any gospel album. The collection features guest artists Lecrae, Jonathan McReynolds and The Hamiltones.
Kelly’s latest single is the soulful “Change Your Mind,” a song she co-wrote with Jimmy Napes, who has also collaborated with Sam Smith, Disclosure and Mary J. Blige.
The song was inspired by her engagement to German basketball player André Murillo. A week after he proposed, she traveled to London to write with Napes.
“I poured out my heart,” said Kelly, who married last May. “It felt so good to let it all out.”
Although she enjoys her time in the studio, she knows her home is on the road.
“I’m realizing I’m the type of artist who has to be on the road as much as she can,” Kelly said. “I’m really just showing people a bunch of new music on this tour. I’ll play some old stuff, too, that fans will hopefully like.”