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Meeting with the Californian singer HER: “Alicia Keys helps me a lot”

If there is, God is not always fair in the distribution of talents. Born in 1997 in Vallejo, California, Gabriella Wilson was obviously entitled to the rab. So much for the theological hypothesis. In a more down to earth way, a massive dose of work and the influence of a musician father seem to have weighed much more in the balance.

A child prodigy, she had been invited to take over Fallinby Alicia Keys, in the TodayShow of the chain NBC, at the 10 years age. Four years later, she signed her first record contract. Others have derailed for less than that.

Drop the masks

At a time when every meal ends in a filtered photo on Instagram (a network where she now has 5.6 million subscribers), “Gabi” Wilson had first chosen to move forward incognito. No Daft Punk helmets, no Sia wigs. Just a communication that placed music in the foreground, with the birth of an ironic nickname: HER, for Having Everything Revealed (“Have All Revealed”).

Monday, July 18, at the Nice Jazz Festival, women had pride of place. Lous And The Yakuza and Celeste to light the fuse. Then Melody Gardot, at the Théâtre de Verdure, and HER, on the Masséna stage, to end in style. Two hours before her show, we found the last named in the dressing room. Star look, conversation right away friendlyshe first explained to us why she ended up lifting the mystery around her person.

“There will always be elements that will remain private, because I always want the public to stay focused on my music. But I’m in a different spirit than when I started. People want to listen to what I do, but also to know me, to follow my daily life, to know what human there is behind the star.”

A voice that carries

Star. The term is not usurped. At 24, HER has already won three Grammy Awards. The latest, that of 2021, was attributed to him for the piece I can’t breathe. A reference to the last words spoken by George Floyd, which has become the anthem of protesters demanding an end to racial discrimination and police brutality in the United States. The same year, an Oscar was added to the decor of Gabriella Wilson’s living room, collected for Fight For Yousong from the soundtrack of Judas and the Black Messiah. A film centered on the short life of Fred Hampton, a member of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.

A committed woman, a new R’n’B star, a fashion icon who has become a global muse for L’Oréal Paris, HER is aware that she represents a role model for the youngest.

“I feel like it’s a real responsibility, but I think it’s really cool to have the opportunity to influence a generation, to help young girls feel more comfortable. When I was as a kid, I saw a woman like Alicia Keys in this way, I never imagined being in this position one day. And in music, I also want to define a style, a sound”she assures, sequined glasses on her nose.

Sorority

We follow up with Queen Alicia, telling her that she was playing the same evening a few kilometers from us, for the Monaco Red Cross gala. “No, it’s not possible? So cool… A few days ago, we met at a festival in Rotterdam. Alicia helps me a lot. She is one of the best placed to know what I live right now. Over time, we developed a strong relationship. I also remember talking to Adele, who gave me valuable insights. I really appreciate this form of sisterhood.”

Coldplay, dream and reality

Other good fairies stand on HER’s path, such as the group Coldplay, who chose her to open part of their world tour. The day before her date in Nice, the Californian was on the stage at the Stade de France. “I think I’m one of their biggest fans. I covered one of their songs at my uncle’s wedding when I was 15 or 16. I told my little sister that I I’d take her to one of their gigs one day. I hadn’t talked about going with her to a Coldplay gig…and I.”she raves, revealing an immaculate smile. “It was a crazy thing. Paris showed me so much love, there was a lot of energy. I don’t even know how many there were in the crowd, at least 50,000 or 60,000. I really enjoyed myself , I was able to sing with Chris Martin, on the track Let Somebody Go. Even better than opening the evening!”

Trust and vulnerability

Even though her father, himself a musician, encouraged her to play piano, guitar, bass and drums at an early age, HER still seems surprised at the turn of events. “I was hoping to go far. But I didn’t think I was going that far. And neither was my dad, honestly.” An acute sense of reality for the one who displayed monster confidence during her childhood.

“I don’t know where this temperament came from. When I was a kid, man, you couldn’t tell me anything. I was very authoritarian, I knew what I wanted. As you become an adult, you begin to ask yourself many more questions. You need to accept your vulnerability to know your strength. I tell myself that it’s important not to aim for perfection all the time. We all make mistakes, we all doubt… I thought I had integrated this a long time ago, but I realize that I am still learning a lot on this point.”

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