Recording artiste and songwriter Keri Hilson is seeing her dreams being played out right before her very eyes. A twelve-year musical journey has begun to bear fruit, but all the fame and attention haven’t come without disadvantages.
“The hardest part of my job as an entertainer is really trying to please everyone. And the sooner I learn I can’t win with every single person, I guess the better off I am,” Hilson confided in an interview recently.
She added, “It’s like I do so much and I bend backwards many times. You know, people’s perception of my reality is far different from the actual reality.”
Hilson, who is billed to perform at Reggae Sumfest International Night 1, on Friday July 24, is currently riding high on the international charts with her debut solo album, In a Perfect World. The set has so far spawned hits with Turning Me On, the number one R&B hit Knock You Down featuring Ne Yo and Kanye West, and the UK Top 20 hit Return the Favour.
Originally from Decatur, Georgia, Hilson studied piano and singing while in high school and, at 14, joined a girl group called D’Signe. Her musical aspirations continued while attending Emory University and she later become part of a collective of songwriters and producers called The Clutch. She began writing songs for a number of top names in the music industry, including Ciara, Mary J Blige & Ludacris, Britney Spears, and Usher.
After signing with producer and rapper Timbaland’s label Mosley Music Group, Hilson did guest appearances on Diddy’s Press Play album and was also featured on rapper Lloyd Banks’ single Help. Hilson’s big break came when she teamed up with Timbaland on the worldwide smash The Way I Are.
“The Way I Are is one of my personal favourites. It was the song that introduced the world to Keri Hilson,” said Hilson. “And Timbaland is like a big brother. I’ve known him for five years and I am signed to his label. We both inspire each other.”
According to Hilson, she is looking forward to her time in Jamaica. “It will be my first time coming to Jamaica and I am looking forward to the jerk chicken and the fish. I am really excited, and I hear you guys have some really crazy and fun clubs down there.”
On the Reggae Sumfest stage, she says she is expecting a lot of energy.
“I am definitely gonna give them Keri Hilson. They’ve seen me on a lot of collaborations and now it’s time to show them I can stand on my own.”
With all the success that she has seen in the past two years, Hilson says her life has changed in many ways. “Things around me have changed, but I like to have fun and I like to laugh. I’m like a big kid, and I never really once think about the accolades and the awards, although they are nice. God gave me a passion at a very young age and I am glad I’m able to pursue it,” she said.
She works out each week and she eats healthily. Hilson describes herself as an outdoor person, preferring to go to amusement parks and bowling.
And what is that one thing that she wouldn’t leave home without? “My wallet. I would never leave home without that,” Hilson said laughingly.