But one song quickly turned into an entire album after she met gospel singer Kirk Franklin, 48.
“This little idea I had to put one song on the album turned into, ‘Why don’t we just turn this into a whole special album of gospel songs?’ It was amazing. It felt like it all fell together without us really trying. It was such a special experience,” Kelly, 25, tells PEOPLE exclusively about her new album Hiding Place.
As the pair co-wrote Hiding Place, Kelly immediately found solace singing songs inspired by her Christian faith.
“I am able to escape from the world and get this place of refuge with God. He provides this place of safety when the world is constantly throwing these crazy curve balls at us all the time,” says the Grammy nominee.
The “Never Alone” singer, who rose to fame when her YouTube covers went viral, wants to give the same comforting and uplifting feeling to her fans.
“Everyone is going through something. We can pretend that we are not … we all have some kind of mask we put on, but we’re all going through something. There are also good seasons we go through, but we all go through low seasons and dark times,” she says. “I think what I want this album to do is hopefully give people some light in their life and give them hope.”
As she gets ready to share her album with the world, Kelly — who tied the knot with German-born basketball player André Murillo in May— says she has found new purpose with her latest work.
Says Kelly: “To find peace and rest, that is really what this album is for me. I really find peace when I sing these songs, and I really hope it can be a hiding place for other people and give them hope and rest … whatever they’re going through.”