It’s fair to say that much of the audience watching at home was just getting acquainted with 21-year old R&B artist Gabriella Wilson — aka H.E.R. — at the 2019 Grammys. It’s also fair to say she just won over a lot of new fans.
Midway through the show, H.E.R. performed “Hard Place,” a striking ballad off her 2018 EP I Used To Know Her: Part 2. She opened alone in the spotlight, playing a translucent guitar, crooning about a collapsing relationship as her outfit glistened along. Bit by bit, her backing band revealed herself as the song upped the emotional ante — male and female backing vocalists, strings, drums, extra guitars. Wilson’s voice surged skyward, matching the enormoity of it all. She shredded, too. It was R&B at its core, but also felt like gospel, arena rock, and big-ticket pop. It certainly feels like we’ll be hearing much more of it.
H.E.R. is up for five Grammys at this year’s ceremony, including album of the year and best new artist. Win or lose, she would’ve likely had a few more voters in her corner if they’d gotten to watch that performance first.
Watch a clip of “Hard Place” above.