H.E.R. talks Grammy Nominations & her Vision Board

Gabrielle “Gabi” Wilson, who likes to the called by her artist name “H.E.R.” gave me an exclusive interview right after learning she had been nominated for five 2019 Grammy awards, “It was early in the morning when they announced everything, but I was woken up out of my sleep.  I had a show the night before.  My manager woke everybody up.  We didn’t know what was going on.  He was like, “We’re going to have to cancel the tour.”  He called everybody to my room and said, “Oh, my gosh, you’re nominated for five Grammys,” and I just remember crying and everybody just going crazy.  We were…and then I started seeing the reaction on social media and yeah, it was a crazy moment.  I immediately called my parents and all my friends and family and it was crazy.  It was a moment,” she described how she learned about the nominations for her self-titled album HER, including album of the year, best new artist and best R&B album.

 Also her song “Focus” is nominated for best R&B song and her song “Best Part” featuring Daniel Caesar is nominated for best R&B performance.

H.E.R

She explained to us how she came up with the acronym H.E.R. which stands for “Having Everything Revealed”, “Well, it kind of was a process.  I was making these songs that were very honest and very specific to this time in my life while I was transitioning from being a young girl to becoming a young woman.  You know, in high school, being 16, 17, 18 years old, and going through emotions and all the stuff that a girl goes through in high school—first heart break, and emotions that you haven’t felt and being jaded, like it’s the end of the world, you know.  I’ll never be loved again.  All these things that we feel.  The music that I was making was a collection of stories based on that time period, kind of a very dark time, you know. Teenage hormonal era.  But what I always said was like, “Oh, I’ll never be that girl,” when I was 15, 14, looking at other women like, “I’ll never be that girl that falls for the wrong guy,” and “I’m never going to make this mistake and that mistake,” and then I ended up being that girl.  I ended up being HER.  And the easiest way for me to be honest was to really be anonymous and just, you know, I wanted to release the music and see what happened and I wanted people to love the music for what it was, so I just decided to release an EP with just my silhouette in the front—no name, no face, nothing attached but music and my stories.”

I asked her what does it mean to her “having everything revealed”?

“Really that means that you really know who I am.  You really see how vulnerable I am and how personal my music is.  In my music, you hear it in my music.  It’s not about what I look like or how I dress or the people I’m associated with or if I belong to a clique.  It’s just about the raw message and the emotions in my songs, my real stories, and that’s having everything revealed to me more than anything,” She said.

 

We also talked about her writing process, “It really depends.  I’m bouncing off the walls all the time.  Sometimes I’ll come up with a melody and then I’ll write words to it or sometimes I’ll be laying in bed and just write down my thoughts and the song kind of writes itself, but it depends on who I’m working with.  I love to talk in the studio when I collaborate with people.  When I write by myself, I’m usually at an instrument, a guitar or piano or bass, and coming up with words that way, but it just depends.  For me, it starts with thoughts and where it takes me.  I don’t like to force anything.”

H.E.R.

On December 10, 2018, she launched a new series “Road to GRAMMYs” on her YouTube music channel, in the introduction she says, “I have goals, I have ambitions, and I have dreams,” so I asked her about that, “Yeah.  I mean, honestly, I was just talking to my team, my manager and people, and two years ago, I wrote…I made a vision board.  I made a vision board, like a physical white board.  I went to whatever store and I bought a white board and I wrote down a bunch of little goals and some of it was like, “I want to headline my own tour,” and now I’m doing that.  So two and an half years ago, I want to get at least 100 million streams, you know, and now we’re like at a billion streams.  And on there was a Grammy nomination.  That was one of the biggest goals that I had on the vision board.  It was just part of like my career goals that I had on that board, and for that to manifest and now become reality is so crazy.  So those were some of the goals I was talking about, and now I’m working on a new vision board, and now I’m thinking of how to take my goals to the next level. My goals are changing.  My dreams are getting even bigger.  Because I had one nomination on that board, and now it’s five.  You know, this is my second headlining tour. And I headlined in Europe and now I’m doing a second headline tour in Europe, and it’s like all these levels that I’m passing through, that I’m achieving.  And it doesn’t stop, you know.  I’m excited because this is not even my potential.  This isn’t even my prime. It’s literally just the beginning and all these great things are happening, so yeah, that’s really what I was talking about.  I have personal goals.  One goal I had on my vision board was to buy my mom a house, and I was able to do that this year.”

 Another thing that’s on the board that hasn’t happened yet, “One thing is an arena tour.  I got to do that next. I think Oracle arena because that’s right by my hometown.  I used to go to concerts there all the time. I saw Prince there, and Barclay Center.  I live in Brooklyn now,” she told us.

“I’m working on my debut album so there will probably be some really dope surprises on there. Chris Brown is so talented.  I’d love to work with him.  There’s people like J. Cole and Drake who I really want to work with.  There are so many artists out.  I don’t know,” she said.

Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys are her fans. In fact, Janet Jackson attended one of her shows in London, “That was crazy.  It was unbelievable.  Like Janet Jackson is one of my favorites, all time, and the fact that she’s a fan of me and knew all the words to my songs is like confirmation. It’s like, wow, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.  I’m doing something right if Janet Jackson is coming to my show,” she told us about it.

On Friday December 14, the multi-talented artist played the piano, the guitar and sang all her hits “Focus”, “Best Part”, at The Novo Theater by Microsoft, as part of MWP Entertainment Group Presents “WANTED,” a Live Experiential Musical Event Series, attended by her celebrity fans Queen Latifah, Janet Jackson, Ella Mai, Tichina Arnold, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Phil Ivey.

She told me before the show, “Friday is going to be a really special show on the tour because there’s going to be this crazy technology and you can just experience my music in a different way, like it’s going to be holograms and it’s going to be…it’s going to be something super different from all the other dates.”

At the end of the show she said to the audience on the microphone, “So many amazing things are happening in my life and I really have to thank you for supporting me and loving me and keeping it about the music, thank you so much, and I have been dealing with a lot, it’s just as much as there is good, there is bad, the devil always gonna try you and to take you away from your blessings, you have the opportunity to abuse the blessing and that’s what I am trying not to do, I am on the stage, I am so grateful I am so happy, and that’s all I can be,  I am only 21 year old, so thank you so much for making my dreams come true, thank you.”

H.E.R. performing at MWP Entertainment Group Presents “WANTED,” a Live Experiential Musical Event Series

H.E.R. performing at MWP Entertainment Group Presents “WANTED,” a Live Experiential Musical Event Series

She also told me how she feels in front of an audience, “I definitely get that energy from the audience, like I always feed off the audience’s energy, but I’ve always been a performer.  I’ve always loved performing since I was a little girl, and I’ve prepared my whole life to be on tours.  It’s just what I love to do.  We have a great time on stage, me and my band, every single night, so it’s just fun for me. I never really get nerves unless it’s like a really big stage sometimes I get a little bit nervous, but I just tap into why I love it so much and how much fun I have.  People love coming to my shows.  They experience my music in a different way.  I try to create like a dynamic show.”

Hip Hop Honors Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Martin Lawrence

VH1 presented “HIP HOP HONORS: THE 90’S GAME CHANGERS” at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, CA, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, and I was right in the middle of everything.

The cutest moment of the night was when T.I. walked to the audience bleachers and picked up DJ Khaled’s son in his arms.

The cutest moment of the night was when T.I. walked to the audience bleachers and picked up DJ Khaled’s son in his arms.

The 90’s style block party on the lot on Brooklyn St. celebrated the golden era of hip-hop and the moment when hip-hop became mainstream across pop culture. Designed by one of the night’s honorees,  Hype Williams, the walls of the building were covered with colorful graffiti reminiscing NYC back in the 90’s.

Hosted by Regina Hall, honoring Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Martin Lawrence and Master P and Hype Williams will air on Monday, September 18th at 9PM ET/PT on VH1.

Mariah Carey performing

Mariah Carey performing

Missy Elliot was the first to perform and she started the show in style emerging from a water tank in a black trench coat performing 90’s hit “She’s a Bitch,” surrounded by dancers and parkour performers.

DJ Khaled’s son, Asahd Khaled, stole the show when he took the stage with his father to honor Mariah Carey; together they introduced Mariah’s show-stopping performance of “Honey” which made everyone very excited; the performance featured a tricked out jet ski, a golden ‘honey’ helicopter and special appearances by Da Brat, Jermaine Dupree, Mase and The Lox. For some reason, Mariah had to do a second take on her performance that included a sexy dance with her on-off boyfriend Bryan Tanaka.

Pharrell Williams presented Hype Williams with his award, he took a moment to deliver a heartfelt message about the current political climate, encouraging everyone to “Open your eyes and if you look like I look you know how you got here, and we are here and not leaving, so what are we gonna do?, and for everybody else in this country the human condition is important, don’t think just because they coming after the African-American, they coming at the Jewish community, they coming at the Hispanics, they can’t beat you too just because you look like them, they are using you, you should understand that.”

“They keep talking about a wall, but the enemy is this divisive this mentality, it's on this side of the wall guys and girls it's already here.” he continued,  “This is America it's with liberty and justice for all thank you.”

Trick, Trina, Romeo, Silk The Shocker and XSCAPE performed a special medley celebrating the rise of hip-hop in the South before honoring Jermaine Dupri and Master P with their awards.

Trick, Trina, Romeo, Silk The Shocker  and  XSCAPE  arriving

Trick, Trina, Romeo, Silk The Shocker and XSCAPE arriving

Fat Joe and Rema Ma performed “Not a Player,” Warren G performed “Regulate” with Ty Dolla $ignXSCAPE performing TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and Ty Dolla $ign did a special rendition of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It.”

 Kelly Rowland introduced Lil KimHavoc and Fabolous to the stage who performed “Quiet Storm” in tribute to the late Prodigy (of Mobb Deep.) When Lil Kim arrived to walk the red carpet she was very nervous and she had an entourage of three huge bodyguards, a make-up and hair stylist, they touched her up every minute. After her performance, she sat in the audience relaxed with Fat Joe.

Selma Fonseca and DJ Khaled

Selma Fonseca and DJ Khaled

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Lamorne MorrisAffion Crocket and Regina Hall were super funny when each took a turn interrupting Tischina Arnold as she presented Martin Lawrence with his award, dressed as characters from his famous television show “Martin.”

Faith Evans, who told me exclusively “I am happy to be here and happy to be part of 90’s music, it’s s great moment and to be part of it’s a blessing.” She continued, “ I am always happy to come out and honor those who were part of."

Selma Fonseca and Faith Evans

Selma Fonseca and Faith Evans

Selma Fonseca and Jermaine Dupri

Selma Fonseca and Jermaine Dupri

Also there Timbaland Blac ChynaKarrueche TranNene LeakesRosci Diaz“Love & Hip Hop Hollywood” cast members Keyshia ColeMichelle PoochMiss Nikki BabyTeairra MarieBooby, and Amara La Negra,  “Scared Famous” cast members Eva MarcilleDon BenjaminErica Mena.

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Selma Fonseca and Blac Chyna

Selma Fonseca and Fat Joe

Selma Fonseca and Fat Joe

Selma Fonseca Lil Kim

Selma Fonseca Lil Kim

Naughty by Nature Surprise Performance The Surf Lodge

Naughty by Nature's Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee, surprised guests at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY on July 3, 2017, with an hour performance rapping their 90's hits.

Naughty by Nature's  Treach, Vin Rock,  and  DJ Kay Gee, 

Naughty by Nature's Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee, 

They opened their set with "O.P.P.", then went on the rap "Uptown", "Craziest", "Respect", "Jamboree",  "Cali love". The beautiful crowd went crazy dancing and singing along.

Treach wore a khaki outfit with 5 white gold chains and a huge diamond-encrusted watch, by the third song he had taken his shirt off, leaving the chains and showing his incredibly cut and heavily tattooed body.

Vin Rock screamed on the mic: "How many Tupac riders do we have in the house?" 

Then Treach said on the mic how people are saying on social media "How can you play Biggy after you played MOP, because Biggy and Tupak had a fallout, first of all, because I can, Tupak was my brother then he introduced me to Biggy then Biggy became my brother."

"We are the love gang", making the heart shape with his hands.

"When I drink you drink, when I smoke you smoke, when I come to Long Island you come to Long Island", then Vin said: "And we called Montauk", then Treach continued "It's all part of the Long Island four five hundred dollars a night"

Naughty by Nature's  Treach  and  Selma Fonseca

Naughty by Nature's Treach and Selma Fonseca

The last song "Hip Hop Hooray" they pulled everyone on stage.

The previous night Hailey Baldwin and Jack Brinkley Cook, Rosario Dawson, were all having fun (separately) at the hot spot where Nashville's band "Bully" was playing.

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Rosario Dawson and Selma Fonseca