During the course of her career, H.E.R.—primarily an R&B musician—has experimented with other genres, making her one of the more interesting artists working right now. She was, for example, nominated for a CMT Award in 2022 for her duet “Hold On” with country star Chris Stapleton, and in 2023 released a cover of the Foo Fighters song “The Glass,” and performed with the brand on Saturday Night Live in 2023. She’s also an actor, most recently appearing (and singing) in The Color Purple.
The synchronicity of H.E.R. playing this particular Super Bowl halftime show can’t be understated: When she was ten years old, the 26-year-old—performing then as Gabi Wilson—played an Alicia Keys song on piano the Today Show, and at age 12 covered Keys’ 2001 mega-hit “Fallin’” at the 2010 BET Awards. Keys, of course, was the first guest to join Usher on stage during the halftime spectacle.
Luckily, there were some wise people across social media who recognized H.E.R. right away (and didn’t think, for example, that she was a 10 year old) and praised her skills.
“H.E.R. is so talented and underrated im so glad Usher brought her out!!!!” one commenter wrote, with another comparing her to Prince, one of H.E.R.’s biggest influences. “I love that H.E.R. has kind of taken over Prince’s reputation for randomly showing up to big celebrations and killing it on guitar for a minute.”
Another reason performing at this particular Super Bowl was so moving: H.E.R. shared a photo to Instagram of herself at 11 years old singing the National Anthem at a 49ers game in Vegas.
As one commenter put it “Full circle 😍 you were made for this!”
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