Who Was Usher's Guitarist During His Super Bowl Halftime Performance?

On Sunday, Usher wowed millions of fans with a medley of his most iconic hits at the Super Bowl LVIII halftime show. As expected, the performance included myriad iconic 20000s guest stars including the legendary Alicia Keys and southern rapper Ludacris. However, there was another surprise guest that had fans absolutely transfixed — his guitar player.

For those who didn't clock it the first time, that was actually Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R. The "Damage" singer made a special appearance by performing during the hit song "Bad Girl," dazzling fans with a rock star-level guitar solo and shiny black suit that practically stole the show. But while this may have seemed like a breakout performance, the truth is, H.E.R. is already a well-seasoned artist and practically a legend in the making herself. In fact, Usher himself has been praising her work for years.

H.E.R. is a Grammy-winning musician

Born in the Bay Area, Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson (better known by her stage name H.E.R.) grew up somewhat of a musical prodigy, playing both piano and guitar, as well as singing. At the age of 10, she appeared on The Today Show to perform piano rendition of an Alicia Keys song, and by 14, she had a record deal. 

Come 2016, she earned recognition for her debut self-titled album, H.E.R. which spawned hits like "Best Part" and a cover of Drake's "Jungle." Back then, she caught the attention of Usher, who posted about her record on Twitter, dubbing H.E.R. "pure talent."

The record went on to win Best R&B album at the 61st Grammy awards. And it's only been up and up from there for the musician. She earned another Grammy nomination for her sophomore album, "I Used To Know H.E.R." and won a Song of The Year award for her moving, political anthem "I Can't Breathe."

Since then, she's even gone on to perform alongside legends like Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder, and collaborated with the likes of Mary J. Blige and, as you might have guessed, Usher. Now, age of 26, she's halfway to an EGOT, with five Grammy awards and an Academy Award to her name, and now, she has a Super Bowl halftime performance under her belt. Talk about a legend in the making!

H.E.R. teased her Super Bowl performance leading up to the event

Hindsight really is 20/20. While H.E.R. has been rather mum about the halftime experience following her stellar guitar performance, the San Francisco 49ers fan did take to Instagram beforehand and drop a big ol' Easter Egg regarding her involvement in Super Bowl LVIII. "BANG BANG NINER GANG in honor of niners at #superbowllviii here's me at 11 singing national anthem at 49ers game let's get itttttt," she penned in the post along with a throwback photo of a young H.E.R. belting it out at the NFL game to a crowd of fans.

Sadly, H.E.R.'s team didn't come out victorious, but she most certainly took home a win! "Oh so she truly is H.E.R. She's rocking this Super Bowl performance," one Twitter user wrote. Meanwhile, another tweeted, "Can we talk about H.E.R and her guitar performance.....sheesh."

Perhaps, however, the performance wasn't all accolades and recognition for the singer, songwriter, and musician. A few confused viewers mistook H.E.R. for North West. Yep, that's right — Kim Kardashian and Kanye "Ye" West's daughter. "I really thought Ms Kim Kardashian got North West in the half time show," one Twitter user penned along with a video of H.E.R. riffing on the guitar during the halftime performance. To be fair, they're not too far off. Even the throwback photo H.E.R. posted of herself singing at 11 years old looks strikingly similar to that of little Northie.