By Courtney E. Smith
SoCal girl Tori Kelly has made her mark on the pop charts with the single “Nobody Love.” The song became inescapable at pop radio, which was a step onto a different platform for the girl who started out as YouTube star, known for her inventive guitar arrangements and covers of pop songs.
But left to her own devices, Kelly was writing songs of her own, of a more indie pop variety. She released an EP in 2013 called Foreward that was a little more of the crunchy, DIY variety. But for her major label debut album, as well as it’s lead single “Nobody Love,” Kelly teamed up with executive producer Max Martin. And to hear her tell the tale, it was not a decision she took lightly.
“I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous to even work with somebody as successful as Max because I didn’t think that our worlds would go together at all,” Kelly says. “There was me, coming from this indie, singer/songwriter thing and then him, completely running the pop charts. But I knew that was the next step. Personally, I knew that was what I wanted.”
When asked what the experience of working with a guy like Martin is actually like, Kelly says it was not at all like the picture she had in her head. He’s no svengali, pulling the strings of the (largely) female artists he works with like Taylor Swift, P!nk and Katy Perry.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he’s very hands-on,” Kelly says of Martin. “The session was very collaborative too, he would ask, ‘What do you think about this?’ It’s not like he was a machine.”