Berlin. The previous record of the almost 24-year-old singer Gabriella Wilson alias HER reads like a pop superstar. She has won four Grammys since 2019, including one this year for her touching Black Lives Matter anthem “I Can’t Breathe”. She also took home the Oscar in 2021 for the best film soundtrack song “Fight For You” (from “Judas and the Black Messiah”).
In her native USA alone, the Californian sold over 16 million records and generated six billion streams within five years, according to the label.
Now the big breakthrough is to follow in Europe – with the album “Back of My Mind”, which is not only full to the brim (21 tracks!), But also peppered with celebrity guests (Chris Brown, Lil Baby, Ty Dolla $ ign, DJ Khaled, Thundercat). It remains to be seen whether this very American style combination – based on the 80s, but highly contemporary produced soul and R&B, mixed with hip-hop guest appearances – will also spark off in Germany.
Besides good songs, the debut also shows idle
Because HER – abbreviation for “Having Everything Revealed” and the feminine pronoun “she” – has some really good songs to offer on this work, which the label launched with high hopes, but also idle. Autotune effects, ballads that are quite similar to one another, mid-tempo pieces with skeletonized rhythms – this is all “state of the art” in modern black music, but at the same time a little sterile, sometimes soulless.
There is no question that Gabriella Wilson is a very good singer – but she does not (yet) have the charisma of a Beyoncé or the political urgency of the British soul project Sault. The song “Don’t” could give indications of their great development potential, which reminds of Wilson’s role model Prince, not only because of a great guitar solo.