Our top 10 H.E.R. songs list looks at the music catalog of a Grammy Award-winning young female R&B songstress. Born in 1997, H.E.R. has had an incredible music career despite a single LP and a few EPs. H.E.R.’s music career is best described by the inspirational projects that have seen her win many accolades. Like most “Outliers” in the music scene, H.E.R. invested a huge amount of time to reach her current feats.
The Filipino-American R&B star started playing music at a tender age. Her first appearance on the music scene was on the Today Show, where she played the piano to a song by Alicia Keys at age ten. She would later grace the Apollo Theater stage with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s R&B and pop-influenced hit “Freeway of Love.”
H.E.R. was destined for success having her perform Alicia Keys’ hit “Fallin’” in the 2010 BET Award ceremony. She would later perform in the ASCAP Awards, proving to be a star in the making. H.E.R.’s current status is as magnificent as her beginnings, thanks to multiple accolades to her name almost every year since her breakthrough.
H.E.R.’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
After showing her potential as an up-and-coming R&B star, H.E.R. was signed to RCA Records through J records in 2011. H.E.R. released her debut hit “Something to Prove” at age fourteen. Her professional career took some time to bear fruits. However, H.E.R. went on a mission to rebrand her act. The change was ushered in after she took up her stage name, H.E.R., an acronym for Having Everything Revealed.
In 2016, H.E.R. released her debut EP H.E.R. Vol. 1, issued through RCA Records. Upon releasing the EP, Bryson Tiller and Alicia Keys helped create some attention to her musical pursuits through social media. H.E.R. received support from other reputable artists, including Wyclef Jean (former member of Fugees), Usher, Pusha T, and Tyrese.
H.E.R. Vol. 1 was lauded by critics for its emotive releases, peaking at number twenty-eight on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The EP also managed to rise to the eighth spot on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. H.E.R. Vol. 1 is home to “Focus,” one of the best H.E.R. songs.
In 2017, the award-winning R&B star released her sophomore EP H.E.R. Vol. 2. The EP was a success peaking at number twenty-two on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. H.E.R. Vol. 2 marked the singer’s first entry to the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at number forty-nine. “Avenue” and “Every Kind of Way” are some of the best H.E.R. songs from the EP.
Later in October 2017, H.E.R. released her first eponymous compilation LP, which included six new songs and some of the best songs from her initial two EPs. H.E.R. marked the singer’s breakthrough moment in the R&B scene. The compilation LP peaked at number twenty-three on the Billboard 200. H.E.R. was Platinum certified in the US, showcasing the singer’s commercial success.
New songs that added glamor to the compilation LP include the collaborative hit with Daniel Caesar’s “Best Part.” “Best Part” was also featured on H.E.R.’s third EP, H.E.R. Vol. 2, The B-Sides, issued on the same day as the compilation LP. H.E.R. introduced the singer to winning ways marking her dominance on the R&B scene.
H.E.R.’s Album Releases over the Years
After success with the award-winning compilation LP, H.E.R., the R&B star, returned to the studio to record and release her fourth LP. H.E.R. issued I Used to Know Her: The Prelude in August 2018. The EP saw the singer work with several reputable artists and producers/songwriters, including Bryson Tiller, Lauryn Hill, DJ Scratch, D’Mile, Cardiak, Tiara Thomas, and Jeff Gitelman. “Could’ve Been” is the best H.E.R. song from this six-track EP. The EP peaked at the twentieth spot on the Billboard 200.
A few months later, H.E.R. released her fifth EP, I Used to Know Her: Part 2. The EP served as a sequel to her fourth EP, I Used to Know Her: The Prelude. I Used to Know Her: Part 2 managed to rise to number eighty-seven on the Billboard 200. “Hard Place” is the most reputable musical gem from the LP.
In August 2019, H.E.R. released her sophomore compilation LP, I Used to Know Her. The compilation LP featured songs from her fourth and fifth EPs. I Used to Know Her hit both mainstream and commercial success. The compilation LP was Gold certified, reaching number eighty-six on the Billboard 200.
After a long wait, H.E.R. released her debut LP, Back of My Mind, in 2021. Back of My Mind saw the R&B star collaborate with Chris Brown, Lil Baby, Bryson Tiller, Ty Dolla Sign, DJ Khalid, Yung Bleu, and Cordae. The LP featured some of the best H.E.R. songs, including “Slide,” “Come Through,” and “Damage.” Back of My Mind was Gold certified, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200.
H.E.R.’s Other Musical Pursuits
H.E.R. has been a darling for many artists, as evidenced by a number of collaborative projects she has made since 2017. The singer has reciprocated the love, featuring on tours as a supporting act for artists such as Chris Brown, Bryson Tiller, Childish Gambino, and Coldplay. Other artists have also featured H.E.R. in their hits, including Ed Sheeran, Ella Mai, DJ Khaled, Kaytranada, and Cordae.
H.E.R. released the exquisite collaborative hit “Best Part” with Canadian singer Daniel Caesar. “Best Part” was penned by the two singers and featured on Freudian by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R.’s eponymous compilation LP. The song has been Platinum-certified five times, making it the best release by the duo. “Best Part” won the Best R&B Performance accolade in 2019.
H.E.R.’s Accolades and Legacy
A musical career feels quite solid, backed by accolades for some notable work. H.E.R. has had quite a share of accolades from reputable awards shows that showcase her superlative music career. After several nominations without a win, H.E.R. landed her first major accolades at the 2018 Soul Train Music Awards ceremony. This was after her eponymous compilation LP won the Album/Mixtape of the Year Award. The collaborative hit with Daniel Caesar, “Best Part,” won the Best Collaboration Performance accolade in the same event.
In 2019, H.E.R. saw “Best Part” win a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Performance category. Her eponymous compilation album made away with the Best R&B Album accolade in the 2019 Grammys. Soul Train Music Awards named H.E.R. as their 2019 Best R&B/Soul Female Artist. Her song “Hard Place” won the 2019 BET Her Awards, placing her among the most reputable female artists in the R&B scene.
2020 saw H.E.R. receive three BET Awards and five Grammy Awards nominations. Her major win was with the hit “I Can’t Breathe.” “I Can’t Breathe” won the MTV Video Music Awards’ Video for Good. It also scooped The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter of the Year Award in the 2020 Soul Train Music Awards ceremony.
H.E.R. was back to winning ways after she scooped two Grammy Awards in 2021. The first was the Song of the Year accolade, thanks to the hit “I Can’t Breathe.” H.E.R. received her second Grammys in 2021, thanks to Robert Glasper’s hit “Better Than I Imagined,” in which she was featured alongside Meshell Ndegeocello. Her song “Fight for You” saw her win an Academy Award for Best Original Song. H.E.R. was crowned the Songwriter of the Year by Apple Music Awards in 2021.
The singer was the second most nominated artist in the 2022 Grammy Awards alongside Justin Bieber and Doja Cat. Out of the eight nominations, H.E.R. scooped one Grammy Award. Her song “Fight for You” won her the Best Traditional R&B Performance. “Fight for You” had been nominated for two more awards, including the Song of the Year and Best Song Written for Visual Media.
#10 – Every Kind of Way
Ushering us into the top 10 H.E.R. songs is the charming hit “Every Kind of Way.” “Every Kind of Way” is a lyrical gem penned by H.E.R., DJ Camper, and SoundzFire. The song is featured on H.E.R.’s 2017 EP, H.E.R. Vol. 2. Its lyrics allude to love and uncensored emotions towards someone.
H.E.R. revealed that she penned the song after she met someone she had been crushing over. The singer wished that things would go beyond just crushing over the man. “Every Kind of Way” has been remixed by Wale. The song has also been sampled in the hit “Girls Need Love (Girl’s Edition)” by JAYBeatz #HVLM.
#9 – Come Through ft. Chris Brown
At the ninth spot of our ten best H.E.R. songs is the collaborative hit “Come Through.” H.E.R. teamed up with R&B star Chris Brown in penning the lyrics to this song. The two later croon about canceling plans for a sneaky meet-up. “Come Through” is featured on H.E.R.’s debut LP, Back of My Mind.
The song peaked at number sixty-four on the Billboard Hot 100. On the UK Singles Chart, “Come Through” managed to rise to number seventy-five. The song has been Gold certified in the US after its sales rose above the five hundred thousand copies mark.
#8 – Hold Us Together
“Hold Us Together” is one of the best H.E.R. songs released in 2020. The song was recorded for the soundtrack to the drama film Safety. Marcus Miller is the only other artist whose songs were released on the soundtrack of the movie. Josiah Bassey is credited with having penned the lyrics to the song.
H.E.R. delivers a heartfelt performance on this soundtrack that align with the emotiveness of the movie. Safety is based on a real-life story of a University football player taking custody of his younger brother after their mother is admitted to drug rehab. H.E.R. sings the song from the perspective of the older brother talking to God. The brother wishes that God holds them together.
H.E.R. teamed up with Christian pop-rock singer Tauren Wells in releasing the Hope mix to the song. Their mix was nominated for the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song accolade in 2022. However, it lost to “Believe For It” by CeCe Winans.
#7 – Hard Place
Our number seven pick on the ten best H.E.R. songs is the somber hit “Hard Place.” This Gold-certified R&B hit was penned by H.E.R. Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, and David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris. “Hard Place” is among the most popular songs from H.E.R.’s compilation LP, I Used to Know Her. Initially, the song was released on H.E.R.’s EP, I Used to Know Her: Part 2.
H.E.R. finds herself trapped in a toxic relationship and her well-being. The song addresses the uncertainties that people have while in a dilemmatic situation where they have to choose themselves or the love that hurts them. “Hard Place” made it to number fifteen on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart. The song was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
#6 – I Can’t Breathe
“I Can’t Breathe” is a Grammy Award-winning song by H.E.R. The song scooped the Song of the Year accolade at the 2020 Grammy Awards ceremony, thanks to this massive release. The song was inspired by the memory of George Floyd and other African-Americans who have succumbed to police brutality-related issues.
“I Can’t Breathe” establishes itself as a pensive R&B hit that highly awakens the world towards reaching social justice for all, no matter their race. H.E.R. calls for an end to the endless victimization of African-Americans in the US. “I Can’t Breathe” managed to rise to the twentieth spot on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart.
#5 – Fight for You
Number five on our top 10 H.E.R. songs list is the protest track “Fight for You.” The song was recorded for the soundtrack to Judas and the Black Messiah. “Fight for You” is a lyrical gem penned by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas. The song has been lauded for its funk-soul and ’60s rhythm and soul-influenced sonic vibes.
“Fight for You” peaked at number twenty-three on the Billboard R&B Digital Songs chart. The song saw H.E.R. win an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2021. H.E.R. won a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category in 2022, thanks to the song. “Fight for You” had also been nominated for the Song of the Year accolade but lost to “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic.
#4 – Focus
H.E.R. Vol. 1 marked H.E.R.’s career beginnings in professional music. The EP is home to our fifth track on the ten best H.E.R. songs list, “Focus.” “Focus” was penned by H.E.R. and Justin Love, who later revealed that the song alluded to his mother. The song topped the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart, marking H.E.R.’s first number one hit on the Billboard charts.
Eventually, the song peaked at the last spot on the Billboard Hot 100. “Focus” was nominated for the Best R&B Song accolade in 2019. However, the song lost to Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up.” Nevertheless, “Focus” received a double Platinum certification after its sales rose above the two million copies mark. H.E.R. later released a remix of this R&B hit featuring Chris Brown.
#3 – Slide ft. YG
“Slide” is a collaborative hit by H.E.R. and rapper YG. The song is one of the striking releases from H.E.R.’s debut LP, Back of My Mind. “Slide” finds the R&B star paying tribute to the musical sound of her homeland San Francisco Bay area. The song marked H.E.R.’s highest-charting hit after it rose to number forty-three on the Billboard Hot 100.
A remix of the song has been released featuring Chris Brown, Pop Smoke, and A Boogie wit da Hoodie. “Slide” is one of the best-selling hits by H.E.R., receiving three times Platinum certification in the US. However, the song has barely attracted any awards despite its great stats on the charts and streaming platforms.
#2 – Damage
Our number two pick for the ten best H.E.R. songs is the raving R&B ballad “Damage.” The song is yet another musical gem from the singer’s debut LP, Back of My Mind. H.E.R. co-wrote the lyrics to the song with Tiara Thomas, Ant Clemons, Carl McCormick, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis. “Damage” alludes to how the singer allows herself to be vulnerable in a relationship.
However, this is not at the expense of being taken for granted by her significant other. The singer reveals that it would hurt her to know that the man is just taking advantage of her. Ante Clemons provides backing vocals in this song. The song peaked at number forty-four on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Damage” samples the hit “Making Love in the Rain” by Herb Alpert featuring Janet Jackson and Lisa Keith. The song has been Platinum-certified twice in the US. “Damage” was nominated for the Best R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song accolades in the 2022 Grammy Awards. However, the song lost the awards to “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic in both categories.
#1 – Could’ve Been ft. Bryson Tiller
“Could’ve Been” is one of the best H.E.R. songs from the EP I used to Know Her: The Prelude. The song was later featured on her sophomore compilation LP, I Used to Know Her. “Could’ve Been” finds H.E.R. collaborating with fellow labelmate Bryson Tiller. This was their first collaborative hit released before H.E.R. accompanied Bryson Tiller on his 2017 tour.
The song finds the two R&B singers crooning about the probability of love growing between two hopeless souls. “Could’ve Been” peaked at number two on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart. The song managed to rise to number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100. “Could’ve Been” was nominated for two Grammys in the Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance categories in 2020. However, the song lost the awards to “Say So” by PJ Morton featuring JoJo and “Come Home” by Anderson Paak featuring André 3000, respectively.
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