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Posted under: celebrity News

Who is H.E.R. — the cloaked R&B sensation taking the industry by storm

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I might be just a few days late to the wave, but this weekend I finally indulged in the music of H.E.R., a mysterious artist who has been trending on social media for a few weeks or so.

Her music is pure, authentic R&B, and to be honest she is the injection of fresh air that the urban music industry needs right now. Musically, she is drawing strong comparisons to R&B singer/producer duo dvsn, who are also cloaked in a certain amount of secrecy around their existence. Not to mention, we also didn't know the identity of The Weeknd for the longest time.
Photo: Now Toronto

Here's what we do know about H.E.R: She's signed to RCA Records. Upon release of her EP, titled H.E.R. Vol. 1, the label didn't release any information about her or any pictures. Since the release, literally everyone has been talking about her, and artists like Alicia Keys, Bryson Tiller and Wyclef Jean have sung her praises on social media.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, (who reports that H.E.R. is in fact a child prodigy, so she's familiar to us somewhat) she divulges more about herself, and how long she will keep her identity under wraps. "The mystery is a metaphor for who I am, or who I was at the time of creating the project. I feel like oftentimes we don’t like to be open as people about our emotions or things that we are going through. At the time [of recording], I was very closed off except for when I was writing or when I was in the studio," she said.

Eventually, she says she will reveal her identity. "I want it to be about the music — its honesty and realness. Everything is true to me. I want women to really feel how honest and vulnerable I am and to understand that they are not alone and that these are all human emotions. I’ll reveal who I am in due time."

However, thanks to internet sleuths, we might already know who "she" is.  On "H.E.R." EP, she recorded a cover of Drake's "Jungle." A cover of the song was also released a while back by R&B recording artist, 19-year-old Gabi Wilson.
Photo: The Vinyl Bridge

Both of the versions sound strikingly similar.

As a child, she was already a big sensation, appearing on The View, singing a powerful version of Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You," and performing a small portion of Keys' "Fallin" at the 2010 BET Awards. Wilson also appeared on programs such as Maury, Good Morning America, TODAY and more.



She was also a contestant on Disney's Next Big Thing, and appeared in Nick Cannon's Nickelodeon film School Gyrls. She signed with Sony/RCA and her single "Something to Prove" blew up, as she performed it at the 2014 BET Awards as a Music Matters artist. Her revival as "H.E.R." seems to be a smart rebranding to bring her in the spotlight once again.



If this isn't enough to convince you, her close mentor Alicia Keys, and Justine Skye, an artist she is commonly linked with, have openly promoted H.E.R. on social media.

Regardless of all the mystery surrounding H.E.R., "her" music is really, really good. And if you aren't currently listening to it or planning to check it out after this article, then what are you doing!? My favorite standout from the EP so far is "U," but to be honesty, its such an amazing work as a whole. The direction of this "new R&B" in the way that artists like H.E.R. and dvsn are taking it is really something that the genre (and urban music as a whole) needs right now.


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Trey Mangum is the Lead Editor of Shadowandact.com Tweet him at @treymangum