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July 14, 2011  | by: Vivian Dai

Keri Hilson

Just days after pop sensation Beyonce surprised some young fans in East Harlem, R&B popstar and songwriter Keri Hilson also decided to make an appearance, this time at East London’s DV8, a music school.

Hilson, known for songs like “Knock You Down” and “Pretty Girl Rock,” said that she loves to give back to neighborhoods and added that “people don’t understand how inspiring it is both ways” for students and herself to be able to speak to each other. She shared advice with the young musicians and answered questions about her career path and music. To start off, she advised that all aspiring artists do their research and know as much as possible about the industry: “Know your stuff,” she urged. “’Cause you don’t want anybody taking advantage of you.”

Hilson also shared that her favorite and most valuable collaboration was her famous song with Timbaland, “The Way I Are”. She said the song and Timbaland, with whom she is still close, opened up many doors for her, allowing her to do interviews with people as far as Singapore and Malaysia. “I didn’t know the world would take to [the song] like that,” she said, referring to the song’s message. “There are so many men who flaunt their money, and I’m not attracted to that.” To conclude her visit, Hilson performed a short a capella version of her song “Pretty Girl Rock,” which many of her fans also sang while waiting outside to catch a glimpse of her.

That Grape Juice covered the day in London—to watch the video and Hilson’s performance, click here.

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