Birth Name: Gabriella Wilson
Birthplace: Vallejo, California
June 27, 1997 – Present
Years Active: September 9, 2016 (First EP released) – Present
H.E.R., born Gabi Wilson, is a songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, at age 10 Gabi Wilson appeared on The Today Show during and sang Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” accompanying herself on the piano. At age 14, she was signed to her first recording contract.
When Wilson began her career as H.E.R., a stage name that is an acronym for Having Everything Revealed, she wore dark glasses and remained anonymous. In 2016, listeners were introduced to the vulnerable lyrics and distinctive songwriting style on H.E.R., Vol.1, a 7 track EP that featured a cover of the Drake hit “Jungle” and rose to #28 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart. A second EP, H.E.R., Vol. 2 was released in 2017 and debuted at #22 on the chart. In August 2018, a third EP was released, I Used to Know Her: The Prelude, which rose to the number 1 spot on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
H.E.R. might be best known for “Best Part,” her duet with Canadian vocalist Daniel Caesar originally released on Caesar’s Freudian and re-released on H.E.R.’s self titled debut. In late 2018, H.E.R. was nominated for five Grammy Awards: Album of the Year and Best R&B Album (for H.E.R.), Best R&B Performance (for “Best Part”), Best R&B Song (for “Focus”), and Best New Artist. In the 2019 ceremony, H.E.R. took home two Grammys: Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. H.E.R. earned another five Grammy nominations in late 2019: Album of the Year (for I Used to Know Her), Record of the Year and Song of the Year (for “Hard Place”), and Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance (for “Could’ve Been”). The album, H.E.R., sold over 1 million units and was certified platinum in January 2020. H.E.R. has 3 platinum singles (1 million units sold) and 2 gold singles (.5 million units sold).
H.E.R. has said that she is influenced by Albert King, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Donny Hathaway, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Parliament, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, James Brown, Lenny Kravitz, Jodeci, Boyz II Men, as well as her contemporaries, Drake, the Weeknd, and Jhené Aiko. She has recorded with a wide range of collaborators, including Ed Sheeran, Khalid, Chris Brown and Bryson Tiller. In September 2020, Fender introduced a H.E.R. Custom Stratocaster guitar. Other artists for whom Stratocaster customs have been issued include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.