From complete anonymity to the massive fame in two short years, R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. (Having Everything Revealed) received her first Grammy award — for both Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance. For those unfamiliar with the incredibly-talented musician’s quick rise to fame, who is H.E.R. and how did she get here?
Who is Gabi Wilson?
Gabi Wilson has always been destined for greatness. As a child, she went on the Today Show as a prodigy, covering Alicia Keys on piano. She later appeared on the scene in 2009 at the age of 14, participating in Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing, a contest between new and unsigned artists and bands. After getting picked up by RCA Records and releasing a single (“Something to Prove”) in 2014, she disappeared for a couple of years before re-emerging with a new persona, the anonymous and incredibly talented H.E.R.
H.E.R. Volume 1
H.E.R. Volume 1 dropped in late 2016, with Wilson hiding behind a silhouette and immediately garnered the attention of artists like Usher, Pusha T, and Wyclef Jean. Rhianna’s Instagram video clip featuring the song “Focus” from the album helped push it into mainstream consciousness with over 5 million views, and soon enough the album would break 65 million plays across streaming music services worldwide.
Wilson’s 2017 follow up H.E.R. Volume 2 shot her into the spotlight and on July 3rd, 2017, she pulled back the veil of her anonymity and revealed to the Los Angeles Times her true identity — child prodigy Gabi Wilson, now an enigmatic adult making some of today’s best R&B music.
Despite revealing her true identity, H.E.R. remains mysterious, not because of Wilson’s insistence of concentrating on her music over the superficial. She doesn’t want the focus to be on her social circle, her outfits, her looks — she makes music for the sake of making music, and she wants her listeners to feel that above all else. The music certainly speaks for itself, and her initial anonymity was meant to let it do just that. If people can love music without tying a person to it, it’s more than just a gimmick.
Flash forward to 2019 — world famous K-Pop group BTS stood on the GRAMMY stage (a first for a K-Pop group) and read off the nominations for Best R&B Album. The room went silent and in unison, the BTS boys shouted, “H.E.R.!” solidifying Gabi Wilson’s well-deserved place in R&B history.
From a Disney contest to the Grammys, the last seven years of Wilson’s career are certainly not the peak, and the talented 21-year old has so much more energetic, beautiful music to share with the world. This is surely just the beginning.