WATCH: 10-Year-Old H.E.R. Singing The Iconic Filipino Ballad "Maging Sino Ka Man"
Who is the mysterious H.E.R. anyway? Here's what we know.
Filipino-American HER recently won two Grammy awards, and we couldn't be more psyched for the R&B artist. But anyone who's paid attention to Gabi Wilson (HER's real name — more on this later) would know that this success was inevitable.
Wilson won the Grammy for Best R&B Album for the self-titled compilation of her first two EPs ("I used to know her: The Prelude" and "I used to know her: Part 2"), as well as Best R&B Performance for "Best Part", a duet with Daniel Caesar. The K-pop group BTS presented the award.
“So first thing I wanna say is this is unbelievable and second it's not even an album, it's an EP," she said. "I'm speechless right now, I'm holding back tears."
Born to a Filipina mother and an African-American father, Wilson grew up around music. Her father was a member of a local band, and her mother, like many Filipinos, was crazy about music. On The Late Late Show with James Corden, H.E.R. said that her Filipino roots got her interested in music.
"I'm half-Filipino and Filipinos love karaoke," she said. "So yeah, I love to sing, I've always been around music my entire life and I just gravitated towards instruments."
At the age of 10, she was labelled a child prodigy and even ended up appearing on The Today Show, playing Alicia Keys' "No One".
Her mom Agnes always made it a point to teach her Tagalog songs, such as "Maging Sino Ka Man". Skip to 2:51 to listen to 10-year-old Gabi sing the iconic OPM ballad:
In 2009, Wilson was part of the Radio Disney's Next Best Thing (a singing contest), and later signed to RCA Records at just 14 years old. In 2014, she released "Something to Prove".
Wilson took on the stage name H.E.R. in 2016. The acronym H.E.R. stands for "Having Everything Revealed" — which is kind of ironic, because she initially wanted to keep her identity secret so people could just focus on her music.
"I remember saying I'll never be that girl, I'll never be that girl that falls for the wrong guy. I was constantly criticizing that girl and eventually I found myself being that girl, being her," she told the Los Angeles Times back in 2016, when her identity was still a mystery.
“I want people to vibe with my songs and fall in love with the music — I want to build a fanbase that stems from that, not cosigns or associations," she told Variety in 2018. "The artists I love — Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson — were low-key in revealing who they were, despite what the press did. Their personalities were introverted. Like me, we’re loners. Out here, being myself, being in the studio — that’s crucial. My personal life is not important. With me, and for me, it is all about the music.”
H.E.R.'s success is proof that when you focus on art, rather than your ego, good things are bound to happen.