H.E.R. on 5 Grammy Nominations: 'If Anything, This Is Motivation to Work Harder'

Micaiah Carter

H.E.R. photographed on Aug. 13, 2018 at White Balance Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Normally discovering you've been nominated in a whopping five Grammy categories is cause for celebration, but when H.E.R.'s management came to her Wednesday (Nov. 20) morning, she thought something was wrong.  

"I forgot about the announcements today," the R&B singer-songwriter tells Billboard. "I'm in the middle of doing this shoot, and Jeanine [McLean], part of my management team [at MBK Entertainment], came up to me like, 'Oh, there's an emergency.' She got me thinking it was something wrong -- and then she told me I had five nominations. And I was like, 'What? Again?!'"

It's a fair reaction. She was up for five nominations at the 2019 Grammys and walked away with two trophies. In 2020, not only is she up for five additional awards, but she's nominated in the album of the year category for the second consecutive year.

"I did not think the second time I would be nominated for five," she readily admits. "That makes it 10 nominations in two years, which is kind of unheard of. I feel really special and grateful."

In addition to album of the year nomination for I Used to Know Her, H.E.R. is up for record of the year and song of the year for "Hard Place," and her hit featuring Bryson Tiller, "Could've Been," is up for best R&B song and best R&B performance.

Even with two wins under her belt, H.E.R. remains hungry. "If anything, this is motivation to work harder," explains the 22-year-old talent, who says she keeps one of her Grammys in her bedroom for "motivation every morning."

Aside from staying laser-focused on the music, H.E.R. acknowledges her incendiary performance of "Hard Place" at the 2019 Grammys – complete with translucent guitar and soaring vocals – likely helped to keep her at the top of the Recording Academy's mind.

"People come up to me all the time, of all ages and all ethnicities, and say, 'Your performance at the Grammys really blew me away,' even to this day. I'm grateful to stay in people's minds," she says. Even with the constant reminders from strangers, the experience doesn't entirely feel real for the rising star. "I still look at my Grammys and it still doesn’t feel like it happened. I'm at a loss for words when it comes to my name being associated with the Grammys."

2020 Grammy Awards