Cincy R&B Singer Tori Helene Chronicles Dating Downfalls on Moonchild EP

Tori Helene
Tori Helene
Photo Credit: Lunsford Photography

Tori Helene combines earworm pop production and glimmering vocals on her first project of the year, Moonchild. Teaming up with frequent collaborator and producer Natown, the Cincinnati-based songstress breezes through feelings of longing, lust and dissatisfaction in relationships on the seven-song EP.

Helene asserts her expectations on songs like “Figure it Out” and “Passion,” where she laments lackluster romance. However, she also shows self-awareness on songs like “Moody,” where she acknowledges her own shortcomings in relationships. Besides her direct and vulnerable lyrics, Helene’s music stands out for her glossy vocal range, which is complimented especially on Moonchild by Natown and others’ production.

So far, Helene has released visuals for Moonchild cuts “Little Black Dress” and “Sleepwalking,” the former of which ended with a teaser for “Moody.” The singer-songwriter is now working on filming live video performances for “Passion” and “Sleepwalking.”

Below, Helene answers questions about Moonchild, getting vulnerable in her songwriting, upcoming videos and what else she’s working on, including a new EP slated for release in 2022. Read her Q&A with Audiofemme below.

AF: Congratulations on releasing Moonchild! When did you start working on this project?

TH: Thank you so much! I started working on Moonchild in August of 2020. I was DoorDashing one day and listening to beats in the car, and I started writing some songs and felt it was time to start working on the EP. Those car rides really helped my inspiration for writing the project. 

AF: What producers did you work with for Moonchild?

TH: I worked with Natown – like always, and I also started working with a producer named VSHY from the Netherlands. He’s really dope. I found him online and started reaching out to him and getting beats. 

AF: The video for “Sleepwalking” was super fun and cute. What was filming that like?

TH: The “Sleepwalking” video shoot was a good time! I asked two girls that I know from the music scene here – a very talented artist name Sahara and dope engineer Ihlana [Niayla] from Timeless Recording Studio, where I record my music – to be a part of the video. I wanted it to have a mini girls night/kickback vibe and they did amazing and had great energy. The overall energy on-set was so fun, which is what I wanted since the song is so upbeat and light-hearted. 

AF: If you had to pick one, what is your favorite Moonchild song and why?

TH: I love all the songs on Moonchild with all of my heart, but, if I had to choose, my favorite one would be “Moody.” That one is produced by VSHY, and I fell in love with the beat instantly. It actually made me cry, it moved me that much. Some records are just so effortless for me to make, and “Moody” was one of them. The song is about me getting into my moods, where I can be clingy or have an attitude when I don’t get my way, and it was very freeing to write. I’m basically admitting a flaw that I have, which I felt was growth. I love that song so much! I’ll never ever get tired of it. 

AF: “Passion” has to be one of my favorites off the project. What was your inspiration behind that song? 

TH: I love “Passion” so much. What inspired me to write “Passion” was my dating life! I get very unsatisfied and bored with men and relationships. I’m sick of the boring conversations and the lack of depth. When I wrote “Passion,” I was visualizing having a romantic dinner, going on trips, being wined-and-dined. It was literally me asking, ‘Where is the passion?’ I need that in my life!

AF: Do most of your songwriting ideas come from personal experiences, or from other people in your life?

TH: All of my writing comes from personal experiences and my feelings. That’s why I love making music so much. It’s like my diary – it’s therapy for me. 

AF: What’s up next for you?

TH: I’m planning on pushing Moonchild for several months, and I’m trying to get out and perform at more shows out of town. Also, I am writing and working on my next EP for 2022! The grind doesn’t stop.

Follow Tori Helene on Instagram for ongoing updates.

Tori Helene Teams Up with Natown on Latest Single “Detached”

Cincinnati-based singer/ songwriter Tori Helene has joined forces with frequent collaborator and producer Natown for her first single of the year, “Detached.” Helene says it’s one of her “most empowering” songs yet. “At the time when I was writing this song, I was feeling emotional and dealing with this specific situation that felt pretty one-sided,” she tells Audiofemme. “So, [‘Detached’] was me speaking my truth and my feelings to that person and the situation.”

Helene, who’s made atmospheric vocals and relationship drama her melodic bread and butter, shines on Natown’s minimalistic production. “It’s clear that you just come around only when you get bored/I go along with it though I don’t know what I’m staying for,” she sings, about feeling overlooked by a lover and refusing to settle for less. “You won’t put no time in it/So I won’t put no hope in it.”

Helene finds the courage to walk away from the relationship on the track’s earworm chorus. “Don’t stop me when I leave, ‘cause I ain’t doin’ nothing wrong/And baby I just wanna do me, so I ain’t doin’ nothing wrong,” she croons. 

“Detached” is an accurate sampling of what Helene does best. She consistently serves up the self-assuredness and unapologetic confidence we all want to have, while never losing a relatable sense of vulnerability. “I was really feeling [this song] when I was recording it,” she says of the track.

Helene says that “Detached” was actually written and recorded during sessions for a project that was supposed to come out in 2020 called Chainless. “I decided to start a new project instead,” she explains simply. “[‘Detached’] was one of my favorite songs on there, so I had to release it as a single.” Although she ended up scrapping Chainless, Helene says she may release one other song made during the recording sessions as a future single, and is planning to release her next EP this summer. 

“[It] has a whole different sound and vibe that I’m pretty excited about,” she says of the project. “I’m releasing it in early summer and there are two features on it. That’s all I can say for right now.”

The currently untitled effort will mark Helene’s first project since her 2019 EP, Delusional, which featured Cincinnati rapper D-Eight. Helene followed up the effort with three singles last year, “Get It Right,” “If You’re Lucky” and “Sitting Pretty,” the latter two of which arrived with videos that did not disappoint. Helene says fans can be on the lookout for a “Detached” visual soon.

Turning the conversation over to Women’s History Month and female representation in Cincinnati’s music scene, Helene says the city could be doing better. While Cincy has enjoyed vibrant blooms in hip hop, pop and R&B music the past few years, it’s remained, unfortunately, a bit one-sided. 

“I feel like [women] should be represented more,” Helene says, recommending Elle and LXXS. “I feel like the female artists are overlooked a lot of the time, especially female singers.” With her commanding presence, Tori Helene is certain to be among the Cincinnati artists who will change that.

Follow Tori Helene on Instagram for ongoing updates.

PLAYING CINCY: Tori Helene Is “Sitting Pretty” In Her Vibrant New Clip

Sitting Pretty

Sitting Pretty
Photo by 12 AM Media

Tori Helene has dropped a vibrant new video for her latest single, “Sitting Pretty.” The Natown-produced earworm finds Helene unapolgetically feeling herself, as she weaves cocky lines with messages of self-love and independence. “Lookin’ real good but what’s the catch?/If you know better, you won’t get attached,” the Cincinnati mainstay croons.

The bold new visual catches the “2 Legit” singer gazing lovingly at herself in a mirror as she stretches out on a luxurious chaise lounge. Meanwhile, an onslaught of admirers vie for her affection. “Anything I want/Anything goes/You want me bad/Well, so does your bros,” she teases.

“I wanted the message to be about being pretty, confident and flirty. Not really needing a man but wanting to flirt a little bit – something that I know girls can relate and sing along to,” Helene tells Audiofemme. “[It’s] definitely one of my favorite records I’ve ever made.”

“Sitting Pretty” follows Helene’s single “If You’re Lucky,” which the singer released in May. She says the two tracks will be followed by a full-length project in 2021. “I actually was in the process of releasing a new project, but there’s been a change of plans,” she explains. “I want to go a different direction with my artistry, and I feel that right now isn’t the best time to release another project.” Instead, Helene plans to share a few more loosies from her scrapped effort later this fall, while she prepares to release her next project in the new year. “Right now, I’m finishing up the writing process and will be recording and getting everything ready for that release,” she says. “But new music and content is still on the way!”

Helene’s upcoming project will follow her 2019 EP, Delusional. The six-song debut offering saw an appearance from local rapper D-Eight and introduced Helene as not only a powerhouse vocalist, but also a compelling songwriter.

Follow Tori Helene on Instagram for ongoing updates.

PLAYING CINCY: Tori Helene Learns to Heal on EP Delusional

Tori Helene Delusional

Tori Helene, Cincinnati’s latest rising voice in the hip hop and R&B scene, recently dropped her debut EP, Delusional. The Natown-produced project shows growth and a different creative direction for Helene, who released two singles last year – the sensual “Straight F***in” and heated “Judas.” The mood shifts quite a bit to introspection, pain, and healing on Delusional, where Helene has the chance to show off her impressive vocal range, get into her feelings and still drop some quick-paced bangers. A story of relationship woes, the EP fittingly starts with “Lord Knows,” the most vulnerable track, then travels through peaks and valleys, like the pain-escaping “Under The Influence” and the D-Eight assisted “Numb,” finally ending with a cocky and playful showcase, “2 Legit.”

Tori Helene gets a running start with Delusional, making her a newfound force to be reckoned with. Here, the Cincinnati singer talks about healing through her music, artists she’s inspired by and what’s up next.

AF: Congrats on your EP! Walk me through your inspirations and thought process going into this project.
TH: Thank you! I started on Delusional at the beginning of last year. I was in a deep depression [from] 2016 to 2017 and wanted to use music as a way to get these dark emotions out. Delusional shows a little bit of my vulnerability and my honest thoughts about relationships and experiences that I’ve gone through.
AF: “Under The Influence” is a standout track, can you talk about what the song means to you?
TH: Under The Influence” was a collab I did with my producer. It’s about being in love with getting high and how it has helped me when I’ve been down. So we made the song where I’m talking like I’m talking about a man I’m in love with, but it’s really about my love for weed [laughs].
AF: Who are some artists you’re inspired by?
TH: My biggest inspiration is Beyoncé. I’m a huge fan. She has inspired me to be an entertainer. I would watch her when I was younger and just study her voice and how she performed for hours at a time. I also love Stevie Wonder, John Mayer [and] Whitney Houston.
AF: What’s your favorite song on the EP?
TH: I love all the songs on the EP. They all have my heart but if I had to choose, it would be “2 Legit” and “Numb.” “2 Legit” is fun and “Numb” is super real for me because it’s about my last relationship and how I messed it up.

Tori Helene Delusional
Tori Helene. All photos by Randy Lefebvre.

AF: How did your music career begin?
TH: My music career began when I was 15. I started recording at my friend’s basement. I wanted to start learning the recording process and getting a feel for my sound. Then I went to college and decided to fully pursue [music] after I graduated. I graduated and then started releasing singles for a couple years and now Delusional is out.
AF: What’s something you love about the Cincinnati music scene?
TH: I love the versatility and I also admire everyone’s love for music here. It’s beautiful.
AF: What are you working on currently?
TH: I’m working on pushing Delusional and I’m about to start working on more music for later in the year and next year! The grind doesn’t stop.
AF: Any touring coming up?
TH: I do plan on doing a promo run later this year or next year. It’s still in the works.