Who She Is:
Keri Lynn Hilson, born Oct. 27, 1982 in the Atlanta, Georgia area, is an American R&B singer-songwriter. She has written songs for a large number of other artists, including Toni Braxton, Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Ciara, Avant, Ruben Studdard, Kelly Rowland, Keke Palmer and Omarion. She's also part of a five-person group of writers and producers known as The Clutch.
Keri was born and raised in the Decatur, Georgia area, a few miles outside of Atlanta. She grew up watching TV talent shows like "Star Search" and "Showtime at the Apollo." She's said that by the age of 12 she was already plotting a music career. As a girl she took piano and vocal lessons. In her mid-to-late teens, her career jumped off as a songwriter and background vocalist, working under producer Anthony Dent. After trying and failing with two girl groups, Pretty Toni and D'Sign, she enrolled into Emory University in Atlanta while still pursing a music career.
Behind the Scenes:
Keri has been writing music for other artists since 2001. She also made a name for herself as a song arranger and has sung background vocals on many of the songs she's written. She remained mostly behind the scenes until 2004, when she was featured on the single "Hey Now (Mean Muggin')" by the rapper Xzibit. She made her performing debut at the 2004 MTV Europe Awards in which she performed the song live with Xzibit. She was eventually signed by producer Timbaland in 2006 and in 2007 was a featured performer on his Shock Value album. She was featured on the songs "The Way I Are," "Scream" and "Miscommunication."
Also in 2007, Keri was featured on albums by Britney Spears, the rapper Rich Boy and others. After working on her debut album, In A Perfect World ... , off and on since 2006, it was originally for release in 2007, then in mid-2008. The album's first single "Energy," was released July 14, 2008. However, the single did not do well on the charts and the album was pushed back to the fall. A second single, "Return The Favor," also did not do well. The poor performance of the two songs, coupled with record label budget cuts resulted in In a Perfect World ... , being pushed back multiple times and completely out of 2008.
In a Perfect World ... :
In a Perfect World ... was finally released in the U.S. on March 24, 2009, and to date has had one very successful single, "Turnin' Me On," which features the rapper Lil' Wayne. A remix of the song caused controvery in the weeks leading up to the album. Some people though that some of the lyrics, such as "I shot the sheriff but wait till I shoot the b*tches down," were meant as disses at Beyonce, Ciara and Keyshia Cole. Keri, however denied this. A fourth single, "Knock You Down," featuring Ne-Yo and Kanye West, dropped after the album was released and became a radio hit.
The Final Word:
"It's my way of saying nothing in the world is perfect and no person in it is, either. None of us is exempt from certain hardships and heartbreaks. It was really important for me to write songs that women can relate to from real situations. I didn’t want to do an album that painted myself as perfect because no matter how things look, no one is." -- Keri Hilson to MTV.com in July 2007, explaining the title of her debut album.