Sold Out: H.E.R.

Bri Steves, Tone Stith

Tuesday, November 13

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$35.00 - $125.00

This event is all ages

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Absolutely no refunds - no exceptions. Lineups and times are subject to change. Valid government-issued photo ID required. Tickets available at the door (if not sold out). No re-entry.

When RCA Records sent out an early stream of a new album to select music press a month ago, it came with a caveat: The identity of the artist would be kept secret.

No publicity stills or bio were offered with the seven-track project from a new R&B singer who only goes by the moniker H.E.R.

"I can't tell you much about H.E.R. just yet but give it a listen," the label stated in the one-line press release that accompanied the album.

Simply titled "H.E.R., Vol. 1," the release quickly caught fire online despite the lack of information. It turns out that people love a good mystery.

Alicia Keys raved about the project on social media; Wyclef Jean vowed to track her down; and Bryson Tiller posted one of the EP's standout tracks, sultry slow-burner "Focus."

Celebrity co-signs aside, word of mouth among listeners traveled wide, sending the album to No. 1 on the iTunes R&B chart (as of press time it's seated at No. 5 nearly two weeks after its release). Thus far, H.E.R. songs have logged nearly 80,000 plays in 10 days on the singer's Soundcloud.

The cover of the project is just the singer's silhouette standing in front of a blue background. While we live in a social-media-driven era of oversharing, H.E.R. certainly isn't the first time an artist has released music under cloak or disguise.

When the Weeknd debuted in 2011 with a trilogy of mixtapes, he did so with an anonymous persona, keeping his real identity hidden and eschewing interviews until he could no longer hide. Additionally, rapper Leikeli47 never appears without a ski mask.

What's more, R&B act Dvsn put out one of the year's most buzzed about debuts in "Sept. 5th," but fans were given next to zero biographical information on the act. Also, pop superstar Sia would rather perform with her back to audiences or hidden beneath a massive wig.

That anonymity, regardless of how it's achieved, is motivated, say artists, not just by savvy marketing but a desire to keep the focus on the music.

But who is H.E.R.? Online sleuths have some theories (hint: she a former child prodigy, they say). But first, why all the secrecy?

"The mystery is a metaphor for who I am, or who I was at the time of creating the project," the singer said by phone in her first interview about the release.

"I feel like oftentimes we don't like to be open as people about our emotions or things that we are going through," she continued. "At the time [of recording], I was very closed off except for when I was writing or when I was in the studio."

H.E.R., an acronym for Having Everything Revealed ("It's kind of ironic, right?" she laughed), is calling from New York, where she's currently at work on the second volume.

So does she live there? She won't say, nor will she reveal her age or any other details that could identify the voice behind the EP.

"I felt like I could truly be honest," she said. "This was the most real I've ever been when it came to creating."

H.E.R., the concept, was birthed in the studio while the singer was in the throes of heartbreak over a toxic relationship.

Bri Steves
Bri Steves
For as much as Philadelphia remains known for historic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, it boasts a commensurately revered and recognized artistic legacy.
From Jill Scott and The Roots to Eve and Meek Mill, artists from the “City of Brotherly Love” traffic in the real. They pull no punches. They hold nothing back. They share truth. Bri Steves stands next in a long line of Philly narrators. The East Falls-born rapper, singer, multi-instrumentalist, poet, and producer speaks straight from the heart on her 2018 full-length debut for Atlantic Records.
“Every song is a piece of my life,” she affirms. “I was raised by a single mom. My father and I have a very strained relationship. I have a really complicated love life. I’ve learned many hard lessons. I’m not afraid to talk about painful subjects and topics either. Musically, it’s pure energy. It’s melody. It’s bars. It’s vulnerable. It’s the aggressive tone you only get from Philly. You’ll hear everything in my story.”
The story begins in East Falls in Philadelphia. Bri found initial inspiration in her mom’s classic records of Marvin Gaye, Faith Evans, Lauryn Hill, and Mary J. Blige before discovering the likes of Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, Kanye West, Pharrell, The Notorious B.I.G., Drake, and more via YouTube – fusing multiple influences from the classic sounds of Philly and today’s hip-hop/R&B artists, Bri started to discover her sound. Relocating to Delaware at ten-years-old, she took up playing the viola, performing in the Delaware Symphony Orchestra through high school, while studying the poetry of her favorite lyricists at home and learning piano by ear. Bri later returned to the City of Brotherly Love to attend Temple University, where she studied public relations. But in any spare moment, Bri studied her true passion; music. She dove headfirst into writing and recording – investing her whole life savings in professional gear, including speakers and headphones – determined to teach herself how to engineer and producer her own tracks.
At the same time, she honed her talents on stage by getting up close and personal in front of a rather tough crowd…
“I used to go down to the subway in Philadelphia and rap and sing for strangers,” she recalls. “Singing in the subway every day really made me a fearless performer.”
Assuming the opening spot on a Starr Island Music Group showcase in 2016, her powerhouse performance left the audience stunned, and she signed to the company’s roster. Gaining early tastemaker support from the likes of Revolt TV, The Fader touted her among “5 Artists Ready to Be Philadelphia’s Next Champion.” After a competitive bidding war, Bri’s charisma, confessional songwriting, and unparalleled ability to spit ultimately landed her a deal with Atlantic Records. Her senior year at Temple would be split between assignments on Blackboard and marathon recording sessions. She recorded in Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles; everywhere from The Hit Factory and Circle House to Jungle City Studios and Glenwood alongside Sonny Digital, Boi-1da, and more. Her 2018 debut single with Atlantic Records, “Jealousy,” introduced her next chapter.
Produced by T-Minus and Yung Berg, it showcases the scope of her signature style. Tightly wound and clever wordplay gives way to a soulful crescendo powered by dynamic range. Over throwback production and airy keys, her voice soars on the proclamation, “I don’t listen to, what them people say, they don’t know about, ‘bout you and me, put it out your mind, cuz it’s jealousy.”
“When I wrote the song, I was going through a tough time with my ex,” she sighs. “His friends would go through my social media and come to him with all kinds of bullshit. I’m very aggressive, and I say off-the-wall things sometimes. So, they’d get in his ear like, ‘Look at what she’s saying. Did you see her image? She must not really care about you.’ He got caught up in all of this. I’d come back and be ask, ‘Why are you so worried?’ That’s how it came together.”
With such honesty, Bri’s story will ultimately resound in Philly and far beyond for a long time to come.
“When you listen to me, I hope you take away strength,” she leaves off. “A big focus of my music is empowerment for women. I want you to feel strong. That’s my dream.”

-Atlantic Records
Tone Stith
Tone Stith
The Jersey native was discovered by Jas Prince and has already been co-signed by heavyweights including Justin Bieber and Drake. Before stepping out as an artist on his own, he wrote music, placing “Liquor” and “Make Love’ with Chris Brown. Last July, he released his debut project, Can We Talk, which showcased not only Stith’s vocal acrobatics and dynamism but his songwriting abilities as well. The young artist in his early 20s is a breath of fresh air and melodic R&B that is evanescent of the '90s and early 2000s.

When asked what he wants people to take away from his debut project, Stith tells Billboard, "When people hear Can We Talk, I want them to be able to say, front to back that's a great album. I want to take everyone on a relationship journey, the ends and outs of love."

Speaking on “Let Me” specifically, the singer makes it clear for the audience in the song saying, "'Let Me' really caters to the women, literally. The song is about me doing everything for my woman." As proof, he sings, "Where you wanna go, I got you baby/ What you wanna do it's all on me," on the track. He concludes by proclaiming, “I want all the women in the world to feel loved after hearing/ Watching this, because it's all for them!"

As to what's in store for the rest of the year, Tone says, "2018 all I can say is, there will be a ton of new music, I just hope everyone is really ready for it!"