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Tori Kelly Gets Real About Her 'American Idol' Boot

'I needed to get knocked down and to build up a thick skin,' she told Seventeen magazine.

From her scorchin' performance of "Should've Been Us" at the VMAs to her bangin' R&B medley a few months later to every time she was a vision of past greatness in the world, Tori Kelly certainly had a big year in 2015. We did name her one of the top artists of the year, after all.

And four days into the new year, Tori is already poised to make 2016 even bigger. She's up for a Best New Artist Grammy, yeah, but more immediately, Tori's gracing the cover of the February 2016 issue of Seventeen magazine.

Inside, she talks about getting booted from "American Idol" during the show's ninth season after judge Simon Cowell apparently characterized her voice as "almost annoying." Of course, she bounced back.

"Deep down, I knew I was good, and I knew I could do it," Tori said. "I needed to get knocked down and to build up a thick skin. Who knows what I would have been singing about otherwise? You have to go through things in order to inspire others with your story."

Her debut album, Unbreakable Smile, came out last June, and Tori told the mag she found inspiration in the way industry insiders had perceived her as "vanilla" with "nothing to say."

"And I was thinking, But this is my personality; I'm just chilling," she said. "So I went right back to being that little girl who was just so freaked out. I acted as if I didn't care, but I went home that night and just poured all the feelings that I was holding back into my music. That's how Unbreakable Smile came to be."

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Tori also talked her Ed Sheeran collaboration, "I Was Made For Loving You," and swatted away rumor the two have paired up romantically.

"I knew that was coming, but no. Working with him was a really cool experience because I was a fan and I didn't know how it would go, but right away he made it super chill," Tori said. "Ever since then, he's been someone I consider a friend and even a mentor."

You can read the full interview when the issue hits stands Jan. 5.