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Keri Hilson is exclusively sharing some of her favorite first and last experiences with OK!. The Grammy hopeful — nominated for two awards for Best New Artist and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Knock You Down” featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo — opens up about the when she realized her calling, being blown away by a Justin Bieber concert, and the last time she was embarrassed on stage.

First moment you knew that this was your calling?
Shortly after my mom bought me a karaoke machine and a stand with a microphone which I couldn’t move away from, they knew. I think they knew before I knew.

First time you played with an idol of yours?
I never idolized anyone but Michael [Jackson], so it would be the tribute that I did honoring him.

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First thing you do before you go on stage?
The first thing I do is light candles, that’s always first.

Last thing you do before you go out on stage?
Pray. You can’t forget that, everything else can be shuffled around but you will not put me up on that stage if I do not have time to pray.

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Last concert that blew you away?
I can’t remember who I’ve gone to… Oh! It was Justin Bieber, just his effect on kids is like, what? We’ve performed on the same stage. I went on before him which first of all is amazing. As I’m up there and look around I see all these tie-dyed Justin Bieber shirts, and I’m like ‘Where’s a Keri Hilson shirt?’ and there wasn’t any in the crowd. He goes on stage after me and all he has to do is make this heart with his hands and those kids scream shriekingly loud, the kind where you can’t help but look like a kid.  Wow, it was ridiculous and everyt ime he did it, he would just stop what he was doing, smile and do it and the whole crowd was like ‘Ahh!’ and they were all doing it. I can’t wait to see him on tour in his own element.

Last time you were embarrassed on stage?
I don’t know. I don’t really get embarrassed on stage. I’m sure it was like a near fall or something because it happens all the time, the stage will be slippery sometimes, and there are different surfaces and you never know what you will be able to do on it until you start dancing.

Reporting By Michelle Edgar

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