H.E.R. was almost in a band with Zendaya and Kehlani.
In an interview for OZY Fest last Wednesday, the “Best Part” singer revealed to host Carlos Watson that she had known Kehlani from a young age and they used to sing together with some other longtime friends, Dylan and Jaden Wiggins, sons of D’wayne Wiggins from Tony! Toni! Toné!
“Dylan Wiggins, who is D’wayne Wiggins’s son from Tony … we used to be in a band together. We used to perform together when we were really young,” the singer recalled in the interview.
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From 2011, the Wiggins brothers and Kehlani were all members of the same teen vocal group, Poplyfe—along with Dillon Ingram, Denzel Merritt, and Ali-Khan Lochin—which rose to recognition on America’s Got Talent when the group placed fourth during the show’s sixth season.
Kehlani, then in her teens, split from the group due to contractual disagreements shortly following the season’s closing, with judge Piers Morgan reportedly encouraging this decision. “You’ve got real talent, but I don’t think you need the group,” he said, according to Billboard.
The group still went on to perform, collaborating with other stars including Zendaya on her Swag It Out Tour for Disney Channel’s Shake It Up in 2012.
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The Wiggins brothers were presumably the ties connecting H.E.R. to both Kehlani and Zendaya. “Kehlani was actually in our band,” H.E.R. shared later in the interview. “We all used to sing together. Zendaya was going to be in it at one point. But yeah, they all grew up together. I came into the picture in Oakland, and we used to perform together.”
H.E.R. rose to recognition at just 10 years old when she appeared on the Today show singing “No One” by Alicia Keys. She recently won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah and is set to perform at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards on May 23.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.