H.E.R. (real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson), is an American singer and songwriter. She is best known for her sunglasses signature – Why does she wear glasses?
In an age where many musicians maintain huge social media presences and appear on the cover of fashion magazines, H.E.R. stands apart not because she lacks an Instagram — the singer-songwriter is quite active on social media — but because she almost always appears wearing dark shades. It’s not because of a medical condition or shyness, per se. Here’s why H.E.R. wears sunglasses any time of day.
Why does H.E.R. wear sunglasses all the time?
Though she’s worn less reflective shades recently on social media, H.E.R, whose real name is Gabriella Wilson, almost always appears publicly with mirrored shades on, and the reason is tied to her stage name. Just as she was secretive about her identity with the simple moniker H.E.R., the California native also likes that the shades give her anonymity.
While she’s not the first musician to obscure her face, it’s not about stage fright or shyness so much as wanting her music to be the focus. “I think it has allowed me to make the music the focus, and for people not to care about the superficial things or who I’m associated with, what clique I belong to—all those things that don’t matter,” she told Elle about her public persona. “It’s really made people focus on the music, and that’s what’s special about it.”
But H.E.R. definitely doesn’t shy away from sharing personal details with fans. It’s all there in her songs, and she describes her music as her “diary.” That said, she prefers to let the music speak for itself rather than get into what each song is about in interviews.
“People always make me uncomfortable when they ask me: ‘Who’s this song about?’ I feel like I let you read my diary and now we have to have a conversation about it! I already let you read it, let’s just leave it at that,” she told The Guardian.
Now that the cat’s out of the bag, we know a little more about H.E.R.’s background and life before fame.
Before she was H.E.R., Gabi grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Vallejo, and her talents caught the eye of the music industry pretty early on. She performed at age 10 on Today, covering Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” and already sounded and spoke decades older than her age.
Gabi’s dad, Kenny, is a musician by hobby. At the time of her public debut, he was a steel worker, while her mom, Agnes, who is Filipina, was a nursing student. By the time she was on Today, Gabi had already performed at the Apollo Theater, and by 12 she was named one of Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing.
She got signed to Sony at 14 and had one single, but it wasn’t until two years later than she would re-emerge as H.E.R. under her new label, RCA. Gabi gave her persona the backronym “Having Everything Revealed.”
A multi-instrumentalist since childhood, H.E.R. (who turns 24 in 2021) plays piano, guitar, drums, and bass, so it makes sense that she was selected as one of the artists to perform in a recent tribute to Prince, who also played every instrument on his early albums. We think the artist definitely would have been a fan!