Although Twitter was mostly reacting to the nonstop awkwardness at the 2018 BET Awards, there was an unlikely presence among the A-listers who totally stole the show. Artist H.E.R. gave the best performance (or at least one of the best) of the night, and audiences are noticing. The 20-year-old singer showed off her serious pipes and a fashion game that even Rihanna would approve of. So, who is H.E.R.? We clearly haven't seen the last of her yet.
During Sunday night's show, H.E.R., who's seemingly notorious for keeping a low profile and avoiding the spotlight, stepped out to mesmerize audiences. She started her set with her song "Focus," standing in front of a simple blue and purple-lit backdrop on a smokey stage. Her vocals were nearly flawless and she effortlessly shred a little electric guitar to further show her talents. She then brought out fellow R&B artist Daniel Caesar and they performed their duet "Best Part." Unlike many awards show performances these days, this one did not include a ton of bells and whistles and the singing really stole the spotlight.
H.E.R. may not have been the biggest or most well-known performer of the night (with other performers including Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, and Meek Mill), but the set could very well be a major breakout moment for the singer. It seems audiences have become instantly obsessed if they weren't already.
H.E.R. has already made her way onto the Billboard Hot 100 when "Focus" earned a spot on the chart in April, according to Billboard. H.E.R.'s debut, a self-titled album was released last October. H.E.R. got great reviews, and was described as both "sultry" and "relatable" by Pitchfork. The album cover consists only of the artist's silhouette against a blue background.
From the start, the artist certainly had an interesting introduction to the entertainment business. The singer now known as H.E.R.'s real name is Gabi Wilson and she became widely noticed for a beautiful cover of Drake's "Jungle" in 2015. According to Genius, when she was signed to RCA records last September after her successful single "Something To Prove," the record label released an interesting statement about the artist, who chose not to go by her given name, from a spokesperson: "I can’t tell you much about H.E.R. just yet but give it a listen and let me know what you think.”
Believe it or not, H.E.R.'s hustle goes even further back. Genius also reported that at age 10, the singer performed Alicia Keys’ “Fallin” on The Maury show for “The Most Talented Kids” episode and gave a performance on The View that went viral. In 2015, Keys tweeted in support of the singer.
She's been around for some time, in fact, Sunday wasn't H.E.R.'s first BET Awards appearance. She also performed at the 2014 show as the Music Matters Artist, when she sang "Something To Prove." And it's clear that music is her passion. In a 2015 interview with Complex, H.E.R. explained her work as an artist, saying, "I'm inspired by the creative minds I surround myself with, the places I've seen, and the situations I've been in. When I'm emotional and I hear the right melodies and chords in my head, the right words come out."
Although she originally seemed to keep a mysterious persona (in the same vein as Sia) which made audiences skeptical, her debut album turned many into believers. "There’s a new captivating voice that’s been frequenting my streaming platforms consistently for the past week," wrote a reviewer at Vibe. "I don’t know who she is — or H.E.R. is, rather — and at this point, I don’t care to. And I’m both surprised... and impressed."
And thanks to the BET Awards, H.E.R. has a growing audience of believers.