The guest artist on the Monday, April 27, 2020, episode of Songland was Grammy-winning R&B artist H.E.R. When she arrived in the show’s performance space, producer Ester Dean asked her about her stage name, H.E.R., which stands for “Having Everything Revealed” and which is also the name of her first EP, and the singer explained:
“It was a collection of songs that I was making in high school and when I graduated high school. It was about the evolution of woman and who I was becoming and songs that were really honest to me. I was having a hard time making such honest music so I decided I’m not going to have my name, my age, my face, nothing, I just want it to be a silhouette and I want people to just focus on the music.”
Viewers might be wondering what H.E.R.’s real name is. Here’s what we know about H.E.R.
H.E.R.’s Real Name is Gabriella Wilson
This 22-year-old California native was born Gabriella Wilson in June 1997. H.E.R. is a “backronym” for Having Everything Revealed and is the title of H.E.R.’s EP volumes 1 and 2. Her subsequent albums are called The B Sides, I Used to Know Her: The Prelude, I Used to Know her: Part 2, and a compilation album titled H.E.R..
Prior to being known professionally as H.E.R., Wilson was part of Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing season two in 2009-2010 when she was just 12 years old. Next Big Thing was a singing contest that broadcast for six years on Radio Disney; the winner of Wilson’s season was Jasmine Sagginario. A new version of NBT started in 2013 and it was no longer a competition, but rather a showcase for emerging artists. Shawn Mendes, Sofia Carson, Alessia Cara, Camila Cabello, and Lennon Stella are among some of the more recent alums.
After her stint on Next Big Thing, Wilson released a song called “Something to Prove under her real name in 2014. She then reinvented herself and started performing as H.E.R. in 2016.
“The way that I released the music did exactly what I wanted it to, which was make people just listen to the music,” H.E.R. told NBC Los Angeles in a 2018 interview. “[And] just listen to the message for what it is because we tend to listen with our eyes sometimes. Sometimes it’s all about hype, and I didn’t want hype … I don’t want people to love my music because of what I look like or who I know or whatever.”
Her Songland Episode
On Songland, ahead of the performances, coach/judge Shane McAnally said that H.E.R. is “the epitome of what this show is about because she would be a songwriter even if she wasn’t having an artist’s career. When people like that come to Songland, it reminds us what we’re all doing here.”
H.E.R. was then given four songs to choose from:
Axel Mansoor, Washington D.C., “Scary”
Milly, San Antonio, Texas, “Safe Place”
Jocelyn Alice, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, “How Could You Not Know?”
Raquel Castro, Long Island, New York, “Wrong Places”
The three chosen to advance out of the initial round were Mansoor, Alice, and Castro. Mansoor was assigned to producer Ester Dean to rework his song; Alice was assigned to producer Shane McAnally, and Castro was assigned to producer Ryan Tedder. After the songs were reworked with the help of the professional producers, H.E.R. chose Castro’s “Wrong Places.”
After announcing her pick, H.E.R. said the song, “[Tedder and Castro] added the flavor that it needed. They made the words more meaningful and they made sure every line mattered. It was like they took it out of the bedroom. They took the song out of being a really nice, pretty acoustic song, and now it’s like a record. This song is going to be crazy when I get on the mic and do it in the studio.”
Songland aired the past two summers on Monday nights. NBC has not yet officially renewed the songwriting competition series for a third season.
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