Singer and songwriter H.E.R. has been nominated for 5 2019 Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Album. She will also be performing during the awards show. On Spotify, she has over 9.6 million monthly listeners, and she released an EP entitled “I Used to Know Her” in 2018 (for which she received her nominations).
H.E.R. is an acronym for “having everything revealed.” While the recording artist goes by H.E.R. as a stage name, it is widely reported that her biological name is Gabriella Wilson. Grammy.com points out that she “is believed to have been born Gabi Wilson, but has never confirmed her true identity.” According to Genius.com, a representative for H.E.R.’s record label, RCA, “declined to comment on the identity of H.E.R” when they reached out; however, they did quite a bit of research to find evidence that H.E.R is, in fact, Gabi Wilson.
Their article was written back in 2016 when RCA first released music from an artist named H.E.R. One of the 7 tracks they released they say was a cover of “Jungle” by Drake. In 2015, RCA announced their newest artist Gabi Wilson, and she premiered a cover of “Jungle” shortly after. When the cover was first released in 2015, Alicia Keys even gave Wilson a shoutout on Twitter.
When asked about her nominations and the impact they have on her rapidly blossoming career, she said “It’s really telling. It’s confirmation for me, you know, all those doubts and all the frustrations and everything along this journey. This is, like, proof that I made all the right decisions and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” She revealed that her family would be coming to the Grammy Awards, and she was wearing an “M” necklace during the interview (or was it an upside-down “W”)?
It is clear that H.E.R. and her team’s decision to keep her identity unconfirmed is an intentional one, and she wears a large pair of sunglasses during public appearances and in Instagram posts to keep her physical appearance mysterious, too. H.E.R. even addressed the mystery to Billboard, saying “you have easy access to what everybody’s doing 24/7 and [the mystery] was kinda my way of getting away from that.” The choice is meant to keep the focus and attention on her music. rather than on H.E.R.
Before She Was H.E.R
Gabi Wilson’s professional singing experience began a long time ago. Wilson is from Northern California, and performed on The Today Show. Before she sang “No One” by Alicia Keys and accompanied herself on the piano, she was introduced as a 10-year-old musical protigy and straight-A student.
Gabi went on to become a recording artist, and her song “Something to Prove,” released in 2014 was a big hit; however, she stopped releasing music as Gabi Wilson shortly after that success. According to Forbes, “Gabriella Wilson” is credited on ASCAP with writing 20 tracks, all of which were sung/performed by H.E.R.
20-year-old Wilson, as H.E.R., has referenced the number of years she has been in the music industry. According to Refinery 29, she reflected on her past experiences, saying “I’ve been working in this industry since I was 13, and I still get producers who walk into a room, see me with a guitar, and joke, ‘Oh, what is she going to do with that? I think people underestimate the talents of a woman and especially of a Black woman.”