Qveen Herby, real name Amy Noonan, formally known as half of the pop duo Karmin, began her music career making covers to popular, hit songs on YouTube alongside her now-husband Nick Noonan. In particular, their video covering Chris Brown’s “Look at me now” featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes went viral (as it currently sits at 111 million views) for effortlessly rapping Rhymes’ verse and doing so at an impressive speed. Notably, this fast-rap style would later become her signature flow.
After gaining notoriety on YouTube, Karmin signed to the label Epic Records in 2012. In the following years, the duo produced hyper-pop singles such as “Brokenhearted,” which saw commercial success, peaking at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Acapella.” However, in 2014, Karmin left their label and began making music independently.
Three years after becoming independent artists, Amy and Nick would do a complete sound, aesthetic, and social media rebrand. Put Amy solely at the forefront, and re-introduced the Nebraska artist as Qveen Herby.
Qveen’s transformation from bubblegum pop artist to R&B influenced rapper is less of an epic comeback for Karmin and more like a “metamorphosis” for Amy. Since revamping her brand, Qveen has released a whopping nine EPs, containing standout and infectious songs such as “Sade in the 90s,” “Vitamins,” “Sugar Daddy,” and “Farewell.” Namely “Sugar Daddy” has gone viral on Tik Tok, garnered over 33 million views on YouTube, and has over 19 million streams on Spotify.
Fast forward to Friday, May 21st, Qveen’s metamorphosis was in full bloom after she released her debut album titled, A Woman.
The album kicks off with “Balenciaga Dreams,” a song dripping with luxury, yet illustrating Qveen’s steady motivation and the hard work that’s taken her this far. On the song Qveen raps, “Let me count my sheep, let me fill your cup with audacity… Love yourself enough to indulge your own sound.”
This line is heard after she features several sampled quotes of people discussing Spanish fashion brand Balenciaga’s impact and grandeur. “Balenciaga really is the marker,” one of the sampled individuals states. Well apparently so is Qveen. The next song “Faster” reveals Qveen’s desire to keep going hard as an artist upon starting this new chapter of her career.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh tracks on the album, which mark the halfway point for listeners, really encompass Qveen’s entire vibe and practice as an artist and individual. The album starts with “Juice,” which was also the first official single off the album. “Juice” was produced by her husband Nick as well as frequent collaborator Pompano Puff; resulting in an upbeat, braggadocious song that gives props to herself for being “a whole mood” and “fresher than you.”
The next song, “Black Sheep” then slows down the album’s pace and gets personal. Qveen discusses an apparent disconnect with her mother over aspects of her personhood that aren’t up for debate. At the same time, however, Qveen seeks her mother’s approval of her music career. “I may never come around til you come around,” Qveen sings in the opening of the song.
For me, the vulnerability within this song came as a welcome surprise while listening to the album. Because it’s these songs that Qveen provides her audience which allow us to get to know who she is as a person rather than a persona. And even gives fans a chance to connect or relate to whatever struggles Qveen is experiencing.
The seventh track titled, “Good Morning” moves listeners into meditation and manifestation. “Sit up. Take a deep breath of gold and light. And bless yourself with the vibration you need to meet this day,” Qveen instructs.
On her Instagram stories, Qveen Herby often checks in with her audience and encourages her followers to take steps towards relaxation and have self-check-ins. “Good Morning” seeks to do just that and is very on-brand for those who follow the Nebraska rapper on social media.
Getting into my favorite song on the entire project, Qveen concludes the album with “Underdog:” a song filled with powerful sentiments of determination and manifestations of a bright future ahead. In the final lines on the track, Qveen powerfully declares, “I’ll always be my number one. I’m proud of who I will become. I’ve never heard of giving up. If you still sleep then don’t wake up.”
The song acts as a perfect and natural conclusion to Qveen Herby’s debut album while making it clear she has so much more in store for her music career and beyond.
Qveen Herby recently told Forbes, “I realized Qveen Herby is my higher self.” And I’m certain many of her listeners feel the same regarding her music. Personally, Qveen’s lyrics make me feel elevated like I can endure tough roadblocks and still reach my highest potential in whatever avenue I choose in life.
Overall, A Woman exudes luxury, self-love, self-care, indulgence, and confidence. Listening to this album made me feel enlightened and confident and sexy: an intersection of feelings Qveen regularly and effectively evokes in her music. Her past EPs have gotten me through difficult times in my life and I can always revisit them and take note of how far I’ve come. Now Qveen Herby and the rest of her listeners will be able to do the same with A Woman.
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