You couldn’t go anywhere in public without hearing “Nobody Love” by Tori Kelly in 2016. The then 23-year-old singer-songwriter grinned on the cover of her debut pop album Unbreakable Smile, rocking her iconic curly blonde hair while singing some of the biggest pop hits of that year. Though she found undeniable success in pop, it was evident that the genre itself was holding her back.
Cut to 2023 and the new Tori Kelly has arrived. Kelly has a confident look and a more mature sound to match, displayed in her newest single “Missin U.” On the song’s cover, she wears an all-black cut-out jumpsuit, gold hoop earrings, and a shorter dark curly hair style.
Kelly’s musical hiatus clearly allowed her to rediscover herself as an artist, landing her feet first in the pop/R&B genre that is reminiscent of the late 90s / early 2000s sound. This niche genre is set to be trending this summer thanks to artists like Kelly, FLO, Doechii, and many others putting a 2023 spin on nostalgia. The song’s verses are very fast and punchy, but the chorus is classic Tori Kelly belting over an acoustic instrumental. “Missin U” perfectly melds the R&B and pop worlds together for a catchy summer hit.
The “Missin U” music video references retro 90s video aesthetics from artists like Missy Elliott and Janet Jackson, even using the iconic fish eye camera lens. Kelly’s singing style is also noticeably different, with her vocals being much deeper and more conversational to match the bass heavy tempo. It’s no surprise that the R&B vibe fits Kelly like a glove and feels like it something she has chosen for herself, rather than something she’s fallen into. Fingers crossed that this new album is heading in the same direction.
Tori Kelly is set to perform “Missin U” live for the first time on The Late Late Show with James Corden on 3/20.