Californian singer-songwriter H.E.R (real name Gabriella Wilson) has a preference to remain anonymous, letting only her music represent her, but at tonight’s show at the majestic Forum Melbourne, there is no disconnection from the audience.
This is H.E.R’s debut Australian tour and the crowd greets her with an overwhelming cheer, and you can feel the appreciation coming back from the singer behind her trademark sunglasses. Supported by two backing singers and a small band, H.E.R confidently paces the stage and soulfully belts out songs with such control that you would be forgiven for thinking it was pre-recorded.
Wilson proves her widespread talent further during the powerful yet charming Best Part, where she skilfully finger picks a guitar to an awed crowd. Fan favourite Focus becomes a room-wide sing-along, demanding the attention of the entire venue. Between songs, the appreciation from H.E.R to the crowd is undeniable, thanking the crowd with such conviction that you can’t help but feel personally connected to the singer.
Coated in subtle pink and blue lights, the show has an intimacy to it that makes you feel as if you have been invited to a private viewing of one of her studio sessions, which is amplified as H.E.R improvises on the keyboard to the closing of one of her tunes. There is a particularly special moment when she invites a dozen or so of the concert-goers onto the stage to dance with her. This ultimately ends in the entire room (including some of the Forum Melbourne bar staff!) waving in unison as some incredible vocal runs are sung out to the elated crowd.
The closing songs are drained out to massive applause as the singer thanks the crowd once more, shrouded with the kind of genuine emotion which suggests her 22 hour flight from LA was completely worth this moment.
As the night comes to a close, you can see the smiles across the room and hear the excited chatter about what we’ve all just experienced. A transcendent evening, H.E.R’s debut Australian performance sets a standard of what music should do for the soul.
Words: Beau Kimber
Photo: H.E.R / Instagram