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Everyone, pay attention: That was H.E.R. who joined Usher on stage for a searing electric guitar solo during the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show. It was was not, as some brilliant minds on social media seemed to think, 10-year-old Kim and Kanye progeny North West. H.E.R. might not be as instantly recognizable on a mass scale as some of Usher’s other guest stars who have been performing for 25 years—such as Alicia Keys—but she’s wildly accomplished in her own right. And she’s 26 years old, not 10.
Oh, and also: Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, a.k.a. H.E.R., is, as of this moment, only one award away from becoming an EGOT, arguably entertainment’s most elite honor that only belongs to 19 people. And yet some lurkers in dimly lit corners of the internet were like, “Wait, who was that on guitar with Usher?”
In addition to her five Grammy Awards, the singer, songwriter, and musician also has an Academy Award for best original song (“Fight for You,” which she cowrote for the 2021 film Judas and the Black Messiah) and a Children’s and Family Emmy Award for outstanding short-form program for the Netflix animated series We the People.
All H.E.R. needs is a Tony Award in order to reach EGOT status, and—judging by her flawless performance as Belle in ABC’s 30th anniversary celebration of Beauty and the Beast in 2022—that doesn’t seem out of the realm.
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; in 2023 she released a cover of the Foo Fighters song “The Glass” and performed with the band 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 10 years old—performing then as Gabi Wilson—she played an Alicia Keys song on piano the Today show, and at age 12 covered Keys’s 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!”
Originally Appeared on Glamour