Her songs are streamed in the millions and her music is beloved by Janet Jackson. But who is HER, the songwriter who hides her identity with a pair of sunglasses?
Interviewing HER isn’t quite as odd as it should be. Even though the anonymous-ish slow-jam queen doesn’t remove her mirrored sunglasses throughout our meeting. Even though this means for a whole hour I’m basically looking at my own reflection as we sit in the sweet breeze of an air-conditioned hotel lobby in Midtown, Atlanta. Even though I kind of have to go along with the idea that I don’t know the real identity of HER, despite the fact that the most rudimentary Google brings up her full name, age and detailed career history.
HER is in fact Gabi Wilson, a singer and multi-instrumentalist from Vallejo, California, who was discovered, aged 10, performing on daytime TV in the US, scooped up by Alicia Keys’s management company and signed to RCA at 14. Although it doesn’t seem to have turned her into a Kids from Fame brat, it isn’t hard to work out that this semi-retreat from the spotlight is about her regaining agency over her identity.