So I haven’t been this enthusiastic about an artist since Alicia Keys came on the scene back in 2001 with her debut album Songs in A Minor (which ironically, just celebrated its 20th anniversary this year!).
I find that with the music industry so incredibly saturated, it can be challenging to really connect with and follow any particular artist these days – that is until H.E.R. came along. I first heard H.E.R when she collaborated with Chris Brown on the 2019 single “Come Together” – which has quickly become one of my favourites – and I was just struck by the soulfulness and richness of her voice.
My interest was piqued.
H.E.R, whose real name is Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, came onto the music initially in 2007 and then re-emerged under the pseudonym H.E.R in 2016. H.E.R. stands for Having Everything Revealed which encompasses who she is as an artist.
As I delved into H.E.R’s background, I was intrigued by her unique style and delivery of contemporary R&B.
At the tender age of 24, she already has numerous nominations and wins under her belt including an Oscar and Emmy win this year. (Also, H.E.R’s birthday just so happens to be today, June 27, so a warm birthday shoutout to Gabriella!)
What I also like about H.E.R is her versatility – not only is she a great vocalist, but she has co-written and co-produced virtually all of her songs on her albums to date – something that certainly does not go unnoticed.
She is also quite the accomplished guitarist and even launched her own signature guitar last September through guitar manufacturer Fender. She is also a talented pianist and drummer.
The cover of her latest album bears some striking similarities to the late Aaliyah (in my opinion) and that’s certainly a compliment.
On this album, H.E.R opens up in her final “Behind the Scenes“ track about her struggles with vulnerability in her songwriting – a key theme behind the name of the album.
She gets intimate about combating her fears of opening up through her music, highlighting the need to ‘re-live’ the time in her life that the lyrics center around – to mentally go back to the feeling she felt. Once she embodies that experience again, the delivery of the vocals feel that much more raw and authentic.
Back of My Mind speaks to that very journey of her inner-most thoughts and feelings manifesting into the songs that make up the album.
Her previous 2017 compilation album which included songs from previous releases and a handful of new tracks is also a work of art. Songs like “Best Part“, with Daniel Caesar, Focus, and Losing, are just a few that stood out.
H.E.R recently performed her single “Hold On” from her new album at the Country Music Awards alongside Chris Stapleton – once again showcasing her versatility as an artist. Her rich, soulful vocals infused with the smokey, raspiness of his tone made for the perfect blend of musical talent.
Have a look at the stellar performance below.
Other notable tracks in no particular order on Back Of My Mind are:
H.E.R is definitely an artist I would love to see in concert one day. With the world slowly opening up again, hopefully that will happen sooner than later (fingers crossed!)
Also, this just in, H.E.R won for Best Female R&B/Pop artist at the BET awards earlier this evening shortly after delivering an epic performance, which only reiterates why I think she is so amazing.
Quite a birthday for H.E.R and so well deserved!
Check out the performance here:
So needless to say, if you’re an R&B head or just someone that appreciates great music and talent, and haven’t caught onto H.E.R yet, you’re seriously missing out. She is a dynamic, blossoming force with a bright future ahead.