AUDIO JUNKIE: High-time everyone meets H.E.R.

Published May 1, 2021, 9:38 AM

by Punch Liwanag

She is on a high! And by she, we mean H.E.R.

This is the fabulous singer-songwriter, ace guitarist and R&B artist that won her first four Grammy’s just a couple of weeks ago and even more recently, her first Oscar Award.

Who is she again?

H.E.R. (short for Having Everything Revealed) is American R&B artist Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson. This talented music artist is a proud half-Filipina. We’ve reviewed this artist here at Audiojunkie before and to tell you the truth, were taken more for her guitar skills than for her R&B flavored tunes initially. But a true-blue, modern R&B act she is, and now we trace back some of the key tracks that won her those career defining music awards.

The Grammy-winning and groovin’ R&B strains that give “I Can’t Breathe” its head-bobbing quality might make you forget for an instant that this track is in fact, a political commentary of the current climate in America that African-Americans are coming to grips with. Black lives Matter, George Floyd, Breona Taylor and all other related events have snowballed and this song is a manifestation.

The song is written by H.E.R., D’Mile and Tiara Thomas. The lyrics need not be interpreted as it’s straightforward and even visceral. But It is also hopeful especially when H.E.R. comes up to the spoken word part and goes “Be thankful we are God-fearing / Because we do not seek revenge / we seek justice, we are past fear.” And the rest? Totally defiant.  

And it’s somewhat the same with “Fight For You,” the theme song from the movie “Judas And The Black Messiah” that won H.E.R. a Best Original Song Oscar. A classic sounding R&B track with a late 60’s vibe, this Marvin Gaye-meets-Alicia Keys tune kind of tricks you into falling into its groove at first, your head bobbing to keep in time.

But mind you, it is about a particular time in the history of America. A tumultuous one at that as depicted on the movie about the controversial Black Panthers Party that starred newly-minted Oscar Best Supporting Actor Daniel Kaluuya. 

But it’s another score for H.E.R. whose soulful falsettos belie the pain, fear, the eventual yearning for justice and right to live in peace. A perfect sonic backdrop for the movie “Judas and the Black Messiah.” And the Oscar’s thought so too.

H.E.R. is also prolific. She recently released a string of singles, the most recent one is the moody and atmospheric R&B number “Come Through” that features Chris Brown. Before that H.E.R. had sung the Disney plus theme for the film “Safety.” Said song is the optimistic “Hold Us Together” that H.E.R. re-recorded with singer Tauren Wells.

From hopeful and positive-charged ballads, H.E.R. shifts to the R&B club infused banger titled “We Going Crazy.” The song is actually a DJ Khaled song (that also features rapper Migo), but since H.E.R.’s vocals figured prominently on the hook choruses, we thought, what the heck, it’s a H.E.R. song too.

For additional HER listening, check out the 2020 single “Sometimes” that features the singer on piano and probably on guitar. A mid-tempoed, vibe-induced R&B number that has H.E.R.’s best qualities in it.