Name: Gabriella “Gabi” Sarmiento Wilson
A.K.A.: Queen of Keeping It Real, The Modern Queen of RnB
Scale of Notoriety:
5/5 – As strange as it is for an artist as mysterious as H.E.R to be constantly under the spotlight, with four Grammys and even an Oscar (for Best Original Song in the film, Judas and the Black Messiah) under her belt, Gabi Wilson has definitely turned H.E.R.self into an icon everyone will continue have their eyes on in the years to come.
Scale of Influence:
4.5/5 – H.E.R likes to keep a low profile and being part Filipino, but that doesn’t stop her from touching people’s hearts and lifting them up through song. Even after the identity reveal, fans come to H.E.R. solely for the quality and soul of her music, which is what H.E.R. is ultimately all about.
Born: June 27, 1997
Status: Alive and mysterious as H.E.R can be
Background: A musical prodigy since she was young, H.E.R. had her first performance in front of a large crowd at the Apollo Theater in New York City in 2007, before taking the world by storm with her cover of Alicia Keys on the Today Show in the same year. However, her first big break came in 2010, when she performed two songs at the ASCAP Awards and, later that year, qualified as a finalist at Radio Disney’s singing talent show ‘Next Big Thing’. These achievements and H.E.R.’s growing reputation as a talented singer led to a contract deal with Sony Entertainment in 2011, where H.E.R., at age fourteen, debuted with her first and only single under the name Gabi Wilson, ‘Something to Prove’, before going on a two-year hiatus.
In late 2016, Gabi Wilson returned, this time signing onto RCA Records with her current identity: H.E.R. – which stood for ‘having everything revealed’. After silently releasing her new debut EP, ‘HER Vol. 1’ to modest success, sales of the album skyrocketed after fellow label artists Alicia Keys and Bryson Tiller, as well as other famous music artists such as Usher and Pusha T, raved about H.E.R.’s new album on their social media accounts. Rihanna, in particular, helped push H.E.R. into the spotlight and higher acclaim after uploading a clip on Instagram where a track from the album, ‘Focus’, was playing in the background. Multiple music awards and several albums later, H.E.R. continues to receive praise for the quality of her music and is lauded by many as one of the best R&B artists in a long time.
Genetic Make-up: H.E.R. – half African-American on her dad’s side and half-Filipina on her mum’s side – grew up with the best of both worlds, especially when it came to music. With fond memories of jamming out with her dad’s band and having karaoke parties with her Filipino friends and family since was small, her family definitely had a hugeinfluence on her passion and drive as a music artist today.
● Power Vocals: H.E.R has been wowing people with her rich and mature-sounding singing voice since she was ten and isn’t stopping anytime soon.
● Style: We all love H.E.R. for her iconic collection of shades – a fashion staple in all her public appearances.
● Realness: While she might have an ironic stage name for an artist who wants to stay lowkey, it’s also perfectly reflective of her down-to-earth attitude and the raw emotional quality of her music.
● Starstruck Moments: Every great musician has their idols, and H.E.R. is no exception. Especially when it comes to doing things like performing a guitar solo on the same stage as legends like Arrowsmith!
Special Talents: We all know H.E.R. for her golden voice but did you know she’s also a triple threat? That’s right, in addition to vocals, H.E.R is also a multitalented musician and actor, as she’s a master of five musical instruments (piano, drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass guitar!) and made her acting debut at the age of nine, starring in the Nickelodeon’s School Gyrls.
Nadya Labiba is an Indonesian-Australian currently in her fourth year of Journalism and Languages and Cultures at University of Technology Sydney. Aside from interning at Captain Bagrat, Nadya is an avid community volunteer and a published contributor at Central News.