Pop songstress Tori Kelly scores her first ever #1 song with "Never Alone." This week the song topped Billboard's streaming-, airplay- and sales-based Hot Gospel Songs chart. "Never Alone" is a duet by Kelly with Gospel veteran Kirk Franklin and it's her first single from her new faith-based album Hiding Place. Incidentally, this song is the 6th #1 hit for Kirk Franklin.
"I'm so humbled that people are loving and listening to this song," Kelly tells Billboard. "It's amazing to see a positive reaction to something that came straight from my heart. I'm forever grateful."
"Never Alone" dethrones Koryn Hawthorne's "Won't He Do It" atop Hot Gospel Songs. Hawthorne's "Won't He Do It" spent an amazing 41 weeks on the #1 position, the longest reign for a female artist.
While working on the follow-up to her 2015 debut album Unbreakable Smile -which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 2 and contained the Gold-certified singles "Nobody Love," "Should've Been Us" and "Hollow" - Kelly wanted to honor her musical roots by recording a gospel song. Her manager, Scooter Braun, realized that 12-time GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin, was one of Tori's musical heroes, and arranged a meeting.
"I flew out to Dallas and Kirk showed me a few songs he'd written, and I fell in love with all of them," recalls Tori, who received the Billboard Women in Music Breakthrough Artist award in 2015. "Next thing you know, one song turned into us doing a whole project together. I grew up on gospel music, so the fact that a legend like Kirk Franklin would take me under his wing was just a dream come true."Hiding Place was recorded primarily at Franklin's studio just outside Dallas. Half of the songs were penned solely by Franklin, while the remaining tracks came from a collaboration between the two artists - the first time that Franklin had ever co-written in a decades-long career that's seen his songs performed by legends like Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston.
"I've never seen anyone that's a monster behind the microphone like Tori Kelly. She'd nail one song in three takes, and all those takes were amazing. It set the bar higher for my whole career,"says Kirk Franklin. "A lot of artists out there will rely on Auto-Tune or studio tricks, but there's no button you can push for emotion, and there's no button for skill. Tori is excellent in everything she does, because she's a real, pure artist."