She’s a two time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and H.E.R. hasn’t even released her full-length, debut album yet. The 22-year-old musician has taken the world by storm as she defies social norms to create music that crosses genres and appeals to a wide variety of audiences. H.E.R., real name Gabi Wilson, started her career with a level of anonymity because she wanted her music to be received with authenticity for the art, not because of her image.

“We live in an era of social media,” she said. “We care more about looks, popularity and followers than about real music. And I wanted to get away from that. I just love music, and that’s what I want people to see and respect.” She added, “To live your truth and sing your truth, that defines success. I think a lot of people are getting back to that real, honest music. That’s what R&B is. It’s raw.”

The talented singer covers Essence magazine’s June digital issue and inside she also discusses growing up around music and shaping herself as an artist. “I really didn’t have any formal training,” she told the magazine. “My dad is a musician. His band rehearsed in our living room. Sometimes I would sneak in while they were taking a break and play on the drums, piano, guitar and bass. I kind of found my way. And my father taught me how to play the blues.”