Growing up in the armpit of nowhere in rural Hampshire, Herbert wrote, sang and performed from an early age. While studying English Literature at Durham University she formed a jazz duo with guitarist Will Rutter, with whom she’d roam Edinburgh, Paris, Amsterdam and eventually London, busking and hustling for gigs at every wine bar, pub and restaurant they came across. On this journey she met Peter Wallis – then visionary manager of Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club - who signed Herbert and Rutter to release First Songs: a combination of standards, pop covers and originals, under the productional ear of acclaimed jazz vocalist Ian Shaw.
Shortly after Herbert was signed to Universal to cut the critically-acclaimed 'Bittersweet and Blue', but soon, having grown weary of the marketing-led constraints of a major deal and keen to explore her own voice, Herbert left to produce the self-financed record 'Between Me and the Wardrobe'. Her first all-original work, it was recorded in three days with Seb Rochford (Acoustic Ladyland/Polar Bear), and picked up by legendary jazz label Blue Note as their first UK signing in 30 years.
Her fourth album “All The Ghosts’, recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, saw Herbert continue further along her idiosyncratic path. With their melodic immediacy and observational characterisation, the songs saw critics draw comparisons with Lennon and McCartney, Nina Simone and The Kinks. This was swiftly followed by quirky mini-album 'Clangers and Mash' displaying the many facets of Herbert's musical world, from stripped-back ukulele strums to dark-hearted remixes.
2012 saw the release of Herbert's highly acclaimed album and tour "The Sea Cabinet" - an intricate exploration of the sea in all its magic, majesty and mystery. The project was developed during an artist residency for Aldeburgh Music, and following the album release enjoyed a large-scale multi-art form tour involving prose, live water sculpture projections and pirate flashmob choruses recruited from local communities.
Following that Herbert has seen "The A-Z of Mrs P" - her musical co-written with celebrated playwright Diane Samuels and starring Peep Show's Isy Suttie - open at the Southwark Playhouse; recorded a new run of Radio 4’s Playlist Series singing the favourite tunes of Nell Gwyn and the Duke of Wellington; built a choir on wheels in Sheffield as part of "Henry and Barbara - the Musical" – a multi-phase musical / film / art installation project exploring the real and imagined relationship between sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth - and spent a month in Kenya collecting lullabies, sharing songs in slum schools and staging multi-tribe storytelling happenings under the Mombasa stars.
Other recent work includes production on musical theatre star Frances Ruffelle's bilingual album "I Say Yeh-Yeh"; and another interdisciplinary project with artist Mel Brimfield, "The Palace that Joan Built" - an Art on the Underground / Theatre Royal Stratford East commission celebrating the work of theatrical revolutionary Joan Littlewood.