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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

R&B stands for Rhythm and Blues. The genre originated in African-American communities in the 1940s and has changed a lot ever since. In the early 50s, R&B was heavily associated with blues records. Later, the term’s use was extended to soul and some electric blues productions. By the 70s, R&B was seen as a combination of soul and funk. The contemporary R&B, 80s contribution to the genre, gained an even wider concept, mixing elements from pop, disco, funk, hip-hop, soul and electronic music together with its own style.

You’ve probably heard about some really famous R&B artists in the music industry:  Marvin Gaye in the 70s, Alicia Keys in the 2000s, Bruno Mars in the 2010s. But R&B goes well beyond the mainstream media. So, if you like the genre and want to know more about it, allow me to show you these 5 R&B artists! 


The North American singer is the newest sweetheart of the Brazilian people. She was one of the main attractions of “The Town”, the music festival held in São Paulo. Her performance, on the 10th of September, was overly complimented by the fans and the critics. Among various instruments and a little bit of Brazilian music, H.E.R. has yet again shown her talent and her ability to captivate the audience.

Gabriella Wilson, H.E.R.’s birth name, was born in 1997, in California. She gave her early steps into the music industry when she was only ten years old and performed a cover of an Alicia Keys’ song at the Today Show, streamed by NBC. At the age 14, she released her debut single under her real name, the song called “Something to Prove”, after she signed with Sony’s RCA Records. 

Gabi Wilson became H.E.R. in 2016. That year, she released her first EP called “H.E.R. volume 1”. The production has 7 songs, including one of her first big successes, the song “Focus”. In 2017, she released the follow-up, “Volume 2”, with other 8 songs. The compilation of the both EPs, which was also put out in 2017, won Best R&B Album and was nominated to other four categories at the Grammys, in 2019. The album contains the songs from the other two and six additional songs, including “Best Part”, her collaboration with Daniel Caesar.

H.E.R. is an acronym for Having Everything Revealed, which is a little bit ironic since Gabi is not the person to brag about being famous. She has always said that she prefers to keep a low profile and spread her message through her music. The 26-year-old musician has released other 2 albums, the latest one being the huge success “Back of My Mind”, of 2021, that features Bryson Tiller, Chris Brown and Ty Dolla $ign. 


Another American R&B singer, Giveon Dezmann Evans was born in 1995, in Los Angeles, California. He fell in love with music at a young age, really encouraged by his mother to pursue his passion. Musically speaking, Giveon’s biggest inspiration has always been Frank Sinatra. At the age of 18, he sang a cover of “Fly Me to the Moon” while participating in the Recording Academy’s Grammy U, the academy’s mentorship program, which led him to actually start his own career. The crazy thing is that he used to find his baritone voice ugly, until he realized he just needed to adjust his style – maybe having the same tone as Sinatra helped him in the process.

Giveon released his first productions in 2018, when he put out “Garden Kisses” and “Fields”. In 2019, he paired up with the producer Seven Thomas and participated on the Swedish R&B gem Snoh Aalegra’s tour. That same year, he released what he calls the perfect introduction to who he is as an artist: the single “Like I Want You”. 

With over 20 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Giveon has been receiving a lot more attention to his work lately. He went viral on TikTok with his song “Heartbreak Anniversary”, released in 2020 and added later on to the 2021’s album “When It’s All Said And Done… Take Time”. Beside that, he collaborated with Drake in “Chicago Freestyle” and with Justin Bieber and Daniel Caesar in “Peaches”, which also made more people get to know him and his productions. 

“GIve or Take” is the name of his latest album, released in 2022. It has 15 songs and shows how talented Giveon is, since the production and songwriting processes to his incredible vocals and performance. The songs talk about love, fame and heartbreaks, all that between some wise advice from his mother, who has been with him since day one. And I mean literally between – some of the songs have voice messages that Giveon’s mother has sent to him, some advice that we could all benefit from. 


Overrated, by Kenya Vaun, talks about a relationship that didn’t end that well, about a girl that’s tired of mourning something that is well over, about her process of realizing that maybe it wasn’t even that good, maybe her partner was a little overrated. What isn’t overrated is the 21-year-old singer that owns the song. 

Kenya Vaun has a little over 60.000 monthly listeners on Spotify – what I would call criminally underrated. Born in Philadelphia, she released her first single called “Movie Night” in 2018, when she was 16 years old. She signed her first record deal with 300 Entertainment last year, the same year she released “Overrated”. 

She says she got her taste in music from her mother, whose favorite artist was the North American singer Mary J. Blige, considered to be the queen of Hip-Hop Soul and R&B. Other inspirations that came from her mother were Lauryn Hill, Angie Stone and India Arie, who she said spoke to her because of the message behind their songs.

Her newest release, “Summer”, talks about the summer in New York City, how it is to work in one of the busiest cities in the world. For Kenya, who grew up in Philly, New York just feels different, and we can see that by her songwriting that resulted in “Summer”.


There is no comparison when it comes to Ella Mai. The 28-year-old British R&B singer began her career at London’s British and Irish Modern Music Institute, the BIMM Institute for creative education, in 2014. That same year, she participated as part of a trio in the British reality television X Factor, but the group didn’t pass the initial stage of the competition and broke up. 

In 2015, she uploaded a solo EP to Soundcloud, which caught the attention of Mustard, the producer that got her signed with his label, 10 Summers. Later, in 2018, she released her self-titled debut album that included the song “Boo’d Up”, which charted in the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 5 and was nominated for two Grammy Awards – Song of the Year and Best R&B Song, winning the second one. 

Her name comes from Ella Fitzgerald, the North American singer from the 50s considered to be the “Queen of Jazz”, since her mother was a huge fan of hers. Mai’s biggest inspirations in the music industry are Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Lauryn Hill, who helped her pursue her own career and find her personal style. 

One of her most famous songs, “She Don’t”, is a collaboration with Ty Dolla $ign, the rapper from California, and talks about how unbothered she is with seeing her ex with someone else at the club. She is saying that there is no comparison between her and his new girl while the rapper, in his part of the song, begs her to stay and give him a second chance. 


The last artist of this list is from PG County, Maryland. Reggie Becton is known for his ability to mix R&B, new wave soul and funk-rock and, for his signature, an orange beanie. He fell in love with music at the age of 17, heavily inspired by Marvin Gaye, Prince and Tank. 

Reggie grew up as the youngest in a musical household. His mother used to sing gospel, while his father was a huge admirer of Anita Baker, Keith Sweat and Scarface. His older sister got him to know Destiny’s Child and the jukebox at his grandparent’s house was always playing some Gaye’s song. 

He moved to LA in 2016, in order to pursue his musical career, but that was not his only purpose. He secured a position at the University of Southern California, initially in their development office for the College of Liberal Arts, before he started working for the dean of the School of Communication. His family calls him their “Hannah Montana” because of his double life, working a full-time job while still making music.

Becton’s first album, “Phases”, was released in 2018, but what really boosted his career was the single “Rainin’ in LA”, from 2019, that reached over a million streams on Spotify and got him featured in some of their editorial playlists. Reggie’s most famous single is the song “RM. 143”, included in the 2021’s album “California”, where he describes the feeling of waiting and yearning for a love interest kept in secret from everybody else. 

His last album, “Sadboy, Vol. 1”, was put out this year and has some influence from the 90s R&B that Reggie is so fond of. In his own words, his music is a breath of fresh air with a hint of something smooth lingering from the past, the right amount of nostalgia that creates a unique fusion of classic R&B and new wave rock & soul.

The article above was edited by Camila Lutfi. Liked this type of content? Check out Her Campus Cásper Líbero for more!

Isabela Moretti

Casper Libero '25

Journalism student at Cásper Líbero.