H.E.R. sues for release from record label

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Oscar-winning singer H.E.R. is suing her record label MBK Entertainment for the rights to her music catalogue.

The record label is owned by her longtime manager Jeff Robinson, who signed her in 2011, when she was 14 years old.

According to legal documents cited by The Blast, H.E.R., real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, is suing for declaratory relief and violation of the business and professions code and is seeking to be released from her contract with MBK.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles County last Thursday.

The documents reportedly state under her contract H.E.R. was an "exclusive employee" for an "initial period" which "ended the later of 15 months after May 19, 2011, or 12 months after the commercial release in the United States of Wilson's first album under the contract, and up to five additional Option Periods of more than one year each."

H.E.R., who released her debut studio album last June, also claims that in his role as manager, Robinson fired the law firm that first represented her. He allegedly appointed his own lawyers in the negotiation of subsequent contracts, including publishing and touring agreements.

She alleges: "Those lawyers took 5% of the deals they negotiated, but did not have a written fee agreement or a conflict waiver signed by Wilson, and said that they performed the services 'as a favor' to their client Robinson who was paid 20% commission for each of those deals."

MBK chiefs have, she alleges, "significantly limited" her "employment rights" and she "has not been free to provide her recording services except as permitted or dictated by MBK." She also claims that MBK "has exclusively owned the right to exploit her name and likeness for her recordings."

H.E.R. filed the lawsuit in California, where she claims the majority of her work was recorded, as she believes the contract violates the state's labour codes. She is seeking to have the contract voided as well as "restitution and disgorgement of funds".

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