Behind the Music
for KING & COUNTRY Deliver Triumphant Message of Hope on “For God Is With Us”
By Lindsay Williams
for KING & COUNTRY Wins Group/Duo of the Year at 2021 K-LOVE Fan Awards
By Lindsay Williams
While working on the follow-up to her debut album Unbreakable Smile (2015), Tori Kelly felt compelled to include a track that honored her lifelong passion for gospel music. With the help of her manager, Scooter Braun, she soon connected with Kirk Franklin, a 12-time Grammy Award-winning gospel artist and one of Tori’s musical idols.
“I flew to Dallas and Kirk showed me a few songs he’d written, and I fell in love with all of them,” says Tori. “Next thing you know, one song turned into us doing a whole album together. It just took on a life of its own.”
With its R&B-infused, deeply melodic take on classic gospel, Hiding Place offers up what Kirk refers to as “hope-pop”—a classification that fully resonates with Tori.
“One of the things I want for this album is for people to feel uplifted and encouraged when they listen,” she says. “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.”
The title to Hiding Place draws inspiration from a line in one of Tori’s favorite psalms (Psalm 32).
“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance.”
“That always stuck with me: this idea of God being a place of safety, a place where you can hide from all the crazy things that this world can throw at us,” she notes.
As she gets ready to share Hiding Place with the world, Tori hopes that it might give others the same sense of solace and joy she’s found in gospel her entire life. And as the album’s creator, one of the most rewarding aspects of Hiding Place was embracing gospel’s boundless intensity, and pushing her vocal performance like never before. “With gospel music, you can’t sing without all your heart being in it,” says Tori. “This album was an opportunity to not only express my faith and my love for God, but to do what I felt and never hold back. I could just be free and let the song take me over.”
Tori lives with her husband, Andre Murillo, in Southern California.