The debut album by R&B singer H.E.R. entitled “Back of My Mind” was released in June of 2021, but the artist is already working on a new project: a reggae album. In an interview on Apply Music 1, she said that the public will be getting the reggae album son, acknowledging that she has always loved Caribbean music and now she wants to really “get into it” and celebrate the culture. “I’m working on that right now. It’s been in the works for a while,” she said. H.E.R. has already included Caribbean influences on previous recorded tracks, including “Do To Me” and “Slow Down,” a collaboration with Jamaican artist Skip Marley. She also shared in the interview that she didn’t have a complete appreciation of Caribbean music until she moved to New York and the East Coast where she got into dancehall and “some of the more up-tempo club records.” She has been a fan of reggae since she was “a young kid,” she added.
Reggae sounds may be a part of her performance as a headliner at the Lights On Festival scheduled for September 19 and 20, 2021, in Concord, California. In addition to H.E.R., the festival will feature Erykah Badu, Bryson Tiller, Ari Lennox, Keyshia Cole, Ty Dolla $ign and others. Her curated festival was launched in 2019, but was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 staging of the festival has already sold out.
Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson was born in Vallejo, California. Her mother is a Filipina mother and her father is African American. She was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and performed there as Gabi Wilson. The singer/songwriter performed in public for some time. Her introduction to the public came as a young child when she covered Alicia Keys on the piano on “The Today Show.” She also appeared at the Apollo Theater in 2007 covering “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin. She debuted as an actress at age nine, featured in a television film “School Gyrls” on Nickelodeon.
After performing under her real name, the artist re-styled herself in 2016 as “H.E.R.” with the debut EP “H.E.R. Volume 1.” The initials stand for “Having Everything Revealed.” The EP was produced by David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris and supported by artists like Usher, Tyrese, Pusha T, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, and Bryson Tiller. The EP was followed by four other EPs and her first compilation album “H.E.R.” in 2017. It was nominated for five Grammys and won for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album. Her second album “I Use to Know Her” in 2021 was nominated for five Grammys as well. In 2021, she won the Grammy for Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe” as well as the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Fight for You” from the film “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
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