H.E.R. faces $3 million lawsuit over 2016 single ‘Focus’

Songwriter and pianist Andre Sims alleges that the track samples his own work without permission

H.E.R. has reportedly been hit with a $3 million (£2.17 million) copyright infringement lawsuit for her 2016 single ‘Focus’, days after her appearance at the Super Bowl.

The singer, real name Gabriella Wilson, is being sued by songwriter and pianist Andre Sims, who has also filed suit against co-producer Darhyl ‘DJ’ Camper, co-writer Justin Love and Sony Music Entertainment for allegedly sampling his track ‘Endless Minds’ without compensation.

In a letter obtained by The Jasmine Brand, Sims claims that Camper even spoke of ‘Endless Minds’ as being an inspiration for ‘Focus’ in a past interview.

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“I’m on Instagram, I’m scrolling…and then it’s a guy that I follow – crazy piano player,” Camper allegedly says in the interview.

“He had did this – it’s like a little warmup he had. And I’m like, ‘Man, this is crazy!’ And it’s kind of similar to like the ‘Focus’ melody so I took that and it inspired me to play it like that, change it a little bit, put a beat, slow it down… BOOM!”

H.E.R., Super Bowl
H.E.R. at Super Bowl 2021 (Picture: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Sims claims that he has been trying to contact Wilson and her team for months, with legal action being a last resort.

Wilson is yet to respond to the claims.

“I had hoped to avoid court and a heated public outcry, but after months of trying to get them to do the right thing, they left me with no other alternative and my fans want me to fight back for what is rightfully mine in this copyright to the song,” Sims wrote in the letter.

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He is seeking $3 million for copyright infringement and injunctive relief, and wants the court to order the defendants to create a trust to hold his share of the royalties along with an accounting of all the song’s profits to date.

H.E.R’s ‘Fight For You’, taken from the soundtrack to Judas & The Black Messiah, recently scored an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

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