H.E.R.

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H.E.R.
H.E.R. in 2019
H.E.R. in 2019
Background information
Birth nameGabriella Sarmiento Wilson
Also known asGabi Wilson
Born (1997-06-27) June 27, 1997 (age 24)
Vallejo, California, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • drums
Years active2007–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteher-official.com

Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson (born June 27, 1997), known professionally as H.E.R. (pronounced "her", an acronym for "Having Everything Revealed"), is an American singer and songwriter. After initial music appearances and singles under her real name, Wilson re-emerged in 2016 as H.E.R., releasing her debut EP H.E.R. Volume 1 under RCA, followed by four subsequent EPs. Her first compilation album H.E.R. (2017), consisting of tracks from her first two EPs plus six additional songs, was nominated for five Grammy Awards, winning Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album.

Her second compilation album, I Used to Know Her, was nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for "Hard Place". In 2021, she was awarded the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "I Can't Breathe", and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Fight for You" from the film Judas and the Black Messiah (2021). Her debut full-length album Back of My Mind was released in June 2021.

H.E.R. is featured in an episode of the 10-part animated series We the People on Netflix. Wilson wrote and performed the song "Change" for the "Active Citizenship" episode.[1]

Musical career[edit]

Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson[2][3] was born in Vallejo, California[4] to a Filipina American mother and an African American father. Raised in California's San Francisco Bay Area, performing as Gabi Wilson, she performed as a child such as playing an Alicia Keys song on the piano for Today Show at ten years old.[2] She appeared at the famed Apollo Theater in NYC on September 23, 2007, covering Aretha Franklin's "Freeway Of Love".[5][6] She made her acting debut at the age of nine, starring in the Nickelodeon TV film School Gyrls.[7] She also performed on Maury in 2007, Good Morning America, and The View in 2008.[7] At this time, she was managed by Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment.[7] She performed at the 2010 BET Awards covering Keys' "Fallin'", sung a tribute to Keys at the ASCAP Awards, and competed on Radio Disney's The Next BIG Thing at age 12, with her song "My Music" featured on Radio Disney.[7]

In 2011, at age 14, Wilson signed a record deal with Sony's RCA Records via J Records, in a deal arranged by her manager Jeff Robinson's MBK Entertainment. Her debut single "Something to Prove" was released under her real name.[7][8]

Re-emerging in late 2016 with a new persona, Wilson released her debut EP, H.E.R. Vol. 1 on September 9, 2016, produced by songwriter David "Swagg R'Celious" Harris. She received support from Usher, Tyrese, Pusha T, and Wyclef Jean; labelmates Alicia Keys and Bryson Tiller helped get the word out through Twitter co-signs, shoutouts, and re-posts.[9][10] In April 2017, Rihanna posted an Instagram clip with H.E.R.'s track "Focus" playing in the background. The clip has been viewed over 5 million times.[11] Additional industry support came from Issa Rae of HBO's Insecure, Taraji P. Henson of Empire, Kylie Jenner, and Kendall Jenner.[citation needed]

NPR listed H.E.R. Vol. 1 as the first selection in its "5 Essential R&B Albums You Slept On".[12] Calling the music "Slow-burning R&B that zooms in on emotional highs and lows," Rolling Stone included H.E.R. in its March 2017 "10 Artists You Need To Know" roundup.[13] Forbes named her one of "5 Alternative R&B Artists to Look Out for in 2017", reporting: "In the same vein as The Weeknd's enigmatic introduction to the world, H.E.R.'s image remains a mystery. The irony, though, is that her moniker is an acronym for Having Everything Revealed."[14]

Wilson's follow-up EP, H.E.R. Vol. 2 (2017) also produced by Harris, was released on June 16, 2017, and includes the single "Say It Again". She went on tour with Bryson Tiller for the Set It Off tour, and concluded her first headlining tour, the Lights On Tour, in support of H.E.R. Vol. 2.[15] She released H.E.R. Vol. 2, The B Sides (2017), produced by Harris, on October 20, 2017, and the single "2" on October 13, 2017. The compilation album H.E.R. was released on October 20, 2017, comprising the songs from each of the three EP's in this series. The album won Best R&B Album and received four other nominations at the 61st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist.[16]

Wilson announced in September 2018 the I Used to Know H.E.R. Tour in support of her EP series I Used to Know Her: The Prelude and I Used to Know Her: Part 2.[17][18] Her second compilation album I Used to Know Her was released on August 30, 2019.[19] She performed as one of the headliners of the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York on September 28.[20][21] On October 5, she participated in the 2019 edition of the Rock in Rio festival located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Among the headliners were Drake, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse.[22]

On September 20, 2020, she sang Prince's song "Nothing Compares 2 U" for the In Memoriam segment of the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. In February 2021, during the pre-game festivities for Super Bowl LV,[23] she performed "America the Beautiful", singing and playing guitar. She appeared as herself in the movie Yes Day (2021).[24]On June 17, 2021, her single "Damage" topped the US R&B radio chart.[25] The song is from her debut full-length album 'Back of My Mind', which was released on June 18, 2021.

In August 2021, it was announced that Wilson was in final negotiations to make her feature film debut in the upcoming film adaptation of The Color Purple, playing the role of Squeak.[26][27] She also sings a duet with Tauren Wells on the song called Hold Us Together

Musical style[edit]

Consisting mostly of R&B ballads, H.E.R's songs have been described as "downcast post-breakup material that sounded vulnerable and assured at once".[4]

Addressing the secrecy over her identity, she has said: "The mystery is a metaphor for who I am, or who I was at the time of creating the project... I feel like oftentimes we don't like to be open as people about our emotions or things that we are going through. At the time [of recording], I was very closed off except for when I was writing or when I was in the studio."[28]

She explained further: "I am a voice for women who feel like they're alone in these situations. This project came from emotion, and that's what I want it to be about – not what I look like or who I'm with, but the raw emotion and support for women."[29] To NPR she said, "I feel like this is the era of the anti-star. I really just wanted it to be about the music, and get away from, 'Who is she with?' and 'What is she wearing?'"[30]

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

Headlining tours[edit]

  • Lights on Tour (2017)[31]
  • I Used to Know Her Tour (2018)[32]
  • Back of My Mind Tour (2021)

Supporting[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2017 Soul Train Music Awards Best New Artist Herself Nominated [37]
2018 BET Awards Best Female R&B Artist Nominated [38]
Best New Artist Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Nominated [39]
Song of the Year "Every Kind of Way" Nominated
Video of the Year "Avenue" Nominated
Album/Mixtape of the Year H.E.R. Won
The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award "Focus" Nominated
"Best Part" (with Daniel Caesar) Nominated
Best Collaboration Performance Won
2019 Grammy Awards Album of the Year H.E.R. Nominated [40]
Best New Artist Herself Nominated
Best R&B Performance "Best Part" (with Daniel Caesar) Won
Best R&B Song "Focus" Nominated
Best R&B Album H.E.R. Won
iHeartRadio Music Awards R&B Artist of the Year Herself Nominated [41]
Best New R&B Artist Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top R&B Artist Nominated [42]
Top R&B Female Artist Nominated
Top R&B Album H.E.R. Nominated
BET Awards Best Female R&B Artist Herself Nominated [43]
Best Collaboration "Could've Been" (with Bryson Tiller) Nominated
BET Her Awards "Hard Place" Won [44]
MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist Herself Nominated [45]
Push Artist of the Year Nominated
Best R&B "Could've Been" (with Bryson Tiller) Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Herself Won [46]
Album/Mixtape of the Year I Used to Know Her Nominated
2020 Grammy Awards Album of the Year I Used to Know Her Nominated
Record of the Year "Hard Place" Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Best R&B Performance "Could've Been" (with Bryson Tiller) Nominated
Best R&B Song Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards R&B Artist of the Year Herself Won [47]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Album I Used to Know Her Nominated [48]
Outstanding Female Artist Herself Nominated
Outstanding Song – Contemporary "Hard Place" Nominated
Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album Nominated
BET Awards Album of the Year I Used To Know Her Nominated [49]
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist Herself Nominated
Best Collaboration "Slide" (with YG) Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best R&B Nominated [50]
Video For Good "I Can't Breathe" Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Video for Good Won [51]
Soul Train Music Awards Song of the Year "Slide" (with YG) Nominated [52]
Video of the Year Nominated
Best Collaboration Nominated
The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter of the Year Award Nominated
Video of the Year "Slow Down" (with Skip Marley) Nominated
Best Collaboration Nominated
The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter of the Year Award "I Can't Breathe" Won
Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Herself Won
2021 American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist Herself Nominated [53]
Favorite Soul/R&B Album Back Of My Mind Nominated
Favorite Soul/R&B Song Damage Nominated
Grammy Awards Song of the Year "I Can't Breathe" Won [54]
Best R&B Song "Slow Down" (with Skip Marley) Nominated
"Better Than I Imagine" (with Robert Glasper and Meshell Ndegeocello) Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Song in a Feature Film "Fight for You" Nominated [55]
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Nominated [56]
Critics Choice Awards Best Song Nominated [57]
Academy Awards Best Original Song Won [58]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Female Artist Herself Nominated [59]
Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album "I Can't Breathe" Nominated
Outstanding R&B/Soul Song Nominated
"B.S." (with Jhene Aiko) Nominated
Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Contemporary) Nominated
BET Awards Best Female R&B/Pop Artist Herself Won N/A
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award "Hold Us Together" Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards "Fight for You Video for Good Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best R&B "Come Through" (featuring Chris Brown) Nominated
Video for Good "Fight for You Nominated
Net Honours Most Played RnB Song "Smile" (with Wizkid) Won [60]
Soul Train Music Awards Song of the Year Damage Nominated [61]
Video of the Year Nominated
The Ashford and Simpson Songwriter of the Year Award Nominated
Come Through (feat. Chris Brown) Nominated
Best Collaboration Nominated
Girl Like Me (Jazmine Sullivan feat H.E.R.) Nominated
Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Herself Nominated
Album of the Year Back of My Mind Nominated
Apple Music Awards Songwriter of the Year Herself Won [62]
2022 Grammy Awards Album of the Year Back of My Mind Pending [63]
Best R&B Album Pending
Song of the Year "Fight for You" Pending
Best Traditional R&B Performance Pending
Best Song Written for Visual Media Pending
Best R&B Performance "Damage" Pending
Best R&B Song Pending
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song "Hold Us Together" (Hope Mix) (with Tauren Wells) Pending

References[edit]

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External links[edit]