By Clara Lincicome | Reporter
With a whopping 152k followers and 6.9 million likes on TikTok, Atlanta junior Tori Templet has been taking the music world by storm with her nine released songs on all streaming platforms. Her single “Butterfly Rain” recently hit over 1 million streams on Spotify. Templet continues to hit milestones in her music career while also pursuing a degree in advertising and a minor in English.
Templet wasn’t always passionate about music, she said. In fact, she was much more concerned with sports growing up and didn’t even think of music as a hobby until her sophomore year of high school when she was given a ukulele for her birthday. Templet said she picked up playing the instrument fairly fast and ran with it by posting videos of her performing on Twitter.
Fast forward to her senior year of high school, Templet said she got a guitar and picked up playing the instrument quickly like she had the ukulele.
“That’s when I finally started writing songs and figuring out my sound, and it became something that was more so a hobby, never something that I thought of as a career or something that I would want to do full time,” she said. “It was something to take my mind off of things.”
Templet said she then began leading worship at her church in Atlanta. The worship band had a studio where they made their own alternative music outside of worship, and they invited her to record her own song.
To check an item off her bucket list, Templet decided to record and release her first song “Right Here.” She said it was unbeknownst to her at the time that it would get noticed and placed on several Spotify editorial playlists.
“I released it in November my freshman year at Baylor, not knowing that this was going to be something that was a huge pivotal moment in my music career, not knowing that this was going to be the thing that I wanted to do as my career and for the rest of my life,” Templet said.
After the release of her song, Templet said her following grew, and she was constantly producing new music. She attributes a significant amount of career growth to one particular platform: TikTok.
Templet said she first downloaded the app in the spring of 2019, long before it was a popular app among young adults. She said she downloaded it because her campers at Kanakuk couldn’t stop talking about the app.
“When I first started, I was making stupid random dancing videos, and then I realized that people started singing on there and were posting videos of them doing all their creative things, so I was like, ‘Well, maybe I could post something of me playing my guitar,’” Templet said.
In December 2019, her sophomore year, Templet posted a cover of “Corduroy Dreams” by Rex Orange County on TikTok that took off. Since then, she said the platform has allowed her to reach huge numbers of people.
Most recently, Templet performed in College Station in the BYX (Brother’s Under Christ) Battle of the Bands competition. This was her first live show with a band, and because she is a solo artist, she got the opportunity to decide who would play with her on stage.
“Luckily some of my guy friends who are sophomores are super talented and play at Harris Creek and lead with the worship band,” Templet said. “So I reached out to them and said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this thing and we could win $500, do you want to do it?”
Even though they didn’t win the competition, Templet said she had a lot of fun. Conroe sophomore Jonathan Scalli was the music director and played bass for the band and said after the performance, the four members all agreed that it was something they needed to do again.
“Tori is so talented and easy to work with,” Scalli said. “It was her first live concert, we were all jumping around backstage excited to go on, and it was so much fun.”
Templet said the event was monumental for her music career.
“It was definitely something that I’m going to look back on and be like, ‘Remember my first live performance ever?’” Templet said.
As for the future, Templet said everything is up in the air. With a non-music major, she said she likes that music is something apart from school that can act as a safe space for her and allows her to keep her options open looking towards graduation in a year.
“This is the first time in my life that I have no idea what I am doing because I have no idea what could happen in the next year,” Templet said.
The support she has received from family, friends and followers has motivated and encouraged her music career, Templet said. When fans often reach out, she said she loves responding and engaging with people that connect with her music.
“It’s been so great from the start,” Templet said. “I get tons of messages on Instagram saying, ‘This song really helped me get through this,’ or, ‘I listen to this when I’m having anxiety,’ and it helps me want to create more. Even if it’s just impacting one person, that’s enough for me.”