It’s not uncommon for a gospel artist to transition to the pop genre. But for a successful pop artist to make a gospel album? That’s almost unheard of.
In her sophomore album, Hiding Place, Tori Kelly has done just that. Her first studio album, Unbreakable Smile, had immediate success with songs “Nobody Love” and her Ed Sheeran collaboration “I Was Made for Loving You.” Hiding Place is an album of healing and is sure to have a different type of success.
In an interview with Mike Wass, Kelly opened up about how this new gospel album came to be. She explained, “Growing up, I thought maybe one day I’ll do a gospel project. So, I threw the idea out to my team and they were super into it.”
Kelly is signed by Capitol Records, a record label known for its pop and R&B production. The release of Hiding Place demonstrates the label’s faith in her voice and decisions. With the recent success of artists like Lauren Daigle, gospel seems to be having a moment. For now, Tori Kelly has assured fans that more pop music is on the way.
The album opens with the soulful jam “Masterpiece,” featuring Lecrae. It’s the type of song that is impossible to listen to without bobbing your head. The energetic song is about self image and how God sees us. In our busy lives, we need reminders that God makes us his masterpiece. This is Kelly’s second collaboration with Lecrae. Lecrae is a Christian rapper who has recently been trying to reach a more secular audience. He adds a fresh sound to this already unique album.
“Help Us to Love” is sure to be one of the most powerful songs in Hiding Place. In it, Kelly laments to the Lord of the brokenness of this world. As the title implies, she cries out, “God, help us to love the way that you love me.” Her song “Questions” has a similar theme, and is undoubtedly the most thought-provoking song on the album. In it, she sings about all her questions and doubts about God in the midst of suffering.
This song is so moving because she dares to sing what thousands think but never talk about. It is relatable and challenging all at the same time. It ends with the chilling question: “What happens when the healing never comes?”
The fifth song on the album, entitled “Psalm 42” has been a personal anthem of mine. Kelly interprets Psalm 42 through a beautifully written chorus, “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul needs you, Lord.” If there is one song I would recommend on this album, it’s this one. It begins with nothing but a piano as accompaniment, then builds to a powerful melody. As always, Kelly’s strong vocals are showcased.
Hiding Place shows a new side of the Tori Kelly that we have all grown to love. The 8 – track album will surprise you and leave you wanting more. It has an even mix of melancholy and joy, challenging the listener to reflect on the ups and downs of this life. Even though the album has been labeled “gospel,” I’d argue that it was created for a much wider audience. This album is for anyone who has been through the struggles of life and is searching for meaning.