Sue KwonGrowing up in Vallejo, California, Gabriella Wilson was told to forget about her dream of becoming a music star. Now known as H.E.R, she has two Grammys and five pending nominations — and she’s proving her doubters wrong.
“Some adults would be like, ‘Your music’s never gonna come out,’ the 22-year-old tells Rolling Stone. She remembers how, in high school, she was too busy dreaming of recording studios and concert arenas to focus on her schoolwork.
“I wanted to be on tour,” the “Hard Place” singer says. “I was in class thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get in the studio.’ I really prayed for everything I have now.”
H.E.R. credits her family for her appreciation of a wide variety of music.
“My dad had a cover band that I sang with, and he loved Parliament, Prince, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, the blues, James Brown,” she recalls. “As I got older, my uncle played a lot of Nineties R&B – Jodeci, Boyz II Men. He’d pick me up from school, and he was playing Drake, The Weeknd and Jhené Aiko.
H.E.R often closes concerts playing the guitar solo from “Purple Rain.” As a child, she was determined to learn the instrument.
“I remember watching a video of Lenny Kravitz and Prince [from the Rave Un2 the Year 2000 concert] when I was a kid,” she says. That video changed my life — it made me want to play guitar just because of how rock star it is.”
H.E.R won two Grammys last year, and she hopes to add to her trophy list at the awards show on January 26. She has five nominations, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, for “Hard Place,” and Album of the Year for I Used to Know Her.
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