Nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Song at the 62nd Grammy Awards, HER’s “Could’ve Been” featuring Bryson Tiller has been a considerable hit for the singer. But a lawsuit filed Tuesday by acapella gospel group Take 6, alleges that HER’s song uses an “obvious” sample of the sextet’s song, “Come Unto Me.”
HER (neé Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson), producer Dernest “D’Mile” Emile II, and Sony Music Entertainment are among the defendants named in a document obtained by Billboard. The lawsuit claims that, “‘Could’ve Been’ is a song comprised of substantially similar compositional, rhythmic and lyrical elements to ‘Come Unto Me,’” adding that, “Defendants have profited greatly from the commercial success of the infringing composition and infringing sound recording.”
Listening to “Could’ve Been” (above) there is what sounds like a gospel sample auto-tuned into the production backbone. But it’s not immediately discernible as Take 6’s “Come Unto Me” (below).
Take 6’s attorney, James Walker, disagrees, telling Billboard that it is in fact “obvious.” Walker also stated that he consulted with a musicologist to confirm his and the group’s suspicion. “Come Unto Me” netted Take 6 a Best Contemporary Soul Gospel award at the 33rd Grammys, so it’s fairly notable. Still, before the case can advance to court, a judge will have to determine if the sample sounds close enough to the Grammy-winning single to warrant it. You can listen to both above.