Keri Lynn Hilson (born December 5, 1982) is an American R&B recording artist and songwriter. Born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, Hilson made herself a name as a songwriter, penning tracks for several artists in the mid-2000s as part of the five-person production/songwriting team known as The Clutch. In 2006, she signed a recording contract with Timbaland's label, Mosley Music.
Hilson released her debut studio album, In a Perfect World... in March 2009, which peaked within the top five of the Billboard 200 albums chart and featured the hit singles "Knock You Down" and "Turnin Me On". The album reached number one on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and was eventually certified gold. Hilson earned two Grammy Award nominations for the album including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Knock You Down", which features Kanye West and Ne-Yo. A reissue of the album, included previously unreleased songs such as "I Like". The song became Hilson's first number one hit in Germany and certified platinum there. As a prominent guest vocalist in both the contemporary R&B and hip hop genres, Hilson has been featured on over a dozen singles by other artists, including the number-one hit single "The Way I Are" with Timbaland.
Hilson was born in Decatur, Georgia. She attended Tucker High School in Tucker, Georgia. At the age of 12, Hilson began piano and singing lessons. During her mid to late teens, Hilson began her career as a songwriter and background vocalist, working under producer Anthony Dent. After trying and failing with two girl groups, Pretty Toni and D'Sign, Hilson enrolled at Oxford College of Emory University in Atlanta while still pursing a music career. Hilson cites Janet Jackson as a major influence in her career.