How Camila Cabello came out of Fifth Harmony's shadow

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Grabbing the man of the moon for the video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards last year, there was only one person Camila Cabello I wanted to share the moment with: his 15-year-old self.

Six years before, he had been feeling his place in Fifth Harmony, a newly formed girl group that tries to eclipse the collection of other acts in Factor Xand desperate to step on the pink carpet of the famous awards program. "I want to be there SOOOOOOO bad you don't understand," he tweeted, "# someday." So when not less than Virgin He handed him the most important trophy of the night, it was a complete out-of-body experience.

"YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS CAMILA SMOL," he replied to his old letter, "BUT: IN 2018 MADONNA WILL GRANT YOU A PRIZE FOR THE VIDEO OF THE YEAR AND HER ACNE WILL BE CLEANED."

Although I was certainly grateful that the HD cameras captured a softer face, it was all pop legend honoring their part that left their trembling hands. "Madonna, I love you very much. I've seen each of your music videos. I've seen every documentary of yours," he said in his acceptance speech. "You've inspired me so much, and for that reason, this is a surreal moment. And, I love you, seriously. I can't believe it."

And if she thought that It was great, well, I should have seen opening the Grammy Awards this year in an impressive performance that featured tastes of J Balvin, Ricky Martin, Young thug and Arturo Sandoval. Or maybe catch her Saturday night live will debut last October. Or that smoking duet with IRL's boyfriend Shawn mendes at this year's American Music Awards.

Credit the impossibly catchy ear worm that is "Havana," the lead single from the solo debut and self-titled album he released last year and the precursor to his latest hit, "Miss." While Camila He certainly stood firm, debuting at the top of Billboard 200 before becoming platinum, "Havana," his song with Young Thug, reached number 1 on the Hot 100 in January and is still broadcasting about 9 million times per week. With a billion broadcasts on Spotify, it's the most played song by a solo artist on the service and you're probably humming it right now.

"Havana, ooh na-na …"

He is not alone, of course, shortly after his launch in August 2017, president Barack Obama He named her one of his favorite songs of the year. "I cried," Cabello reminded Billboard. "I made a video of myself crying!"

Maybe that was the time when the 22-year-old singer, who has just released her long-awaited follow-up, Romance, today, I knew I was right to risk Fifth Harmony's established notoriety in the dream of leaving alone. Or it could have been while he was juggling his world tour with an open place to Taylor Swift. Or, possibly, when I was collecting five American Music Awards, four VMAs, a Billboard Music Award for Chart Achievement, three Grammy nominations and four main trophies at last year's MTV European Music Awards. Maybe after she earned her place in the HOUR 100 Next list?

It is safe to say that he has few regrets for leaving Ally brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane and Lauren Jauregui back in December 2016, except for the drama that followed when the two sides issued contradictory statements about how their departure went. As a fifth of a girl group manufactured by Simon Cowell During her 2012 reality show career (the quintet, named through a vote of the audience finally finished third), the teenager had little to say in the direction of her career. Now he has two albums full of songs that reflect his personality and Cuban roots.

"Getting to do shows where people sing words that I wrote was a completely amazing experience," he said. Billboard. "Last year was definitely the best year of my life."

And it all started with Camila. Originally scheduled to be titled The pain The cure. The loving, "I decided to call him by my name, because this is where this chapter ended in my life," he shared on Instagram. "It started with someone else's story, it ended when I found my way back to myself."

That person is the same young woman so paralyzed by the scenic fear that she rejected the opportunity to star in her high school musical because she was terrified at the idea of ​​singing in front of people she knew. She could kill a Britney Spears or Hilary Duff song if I was talking on the phone with a friend or shouting through a closet door while her grandmother listened on the other side, but did she have to look directly at a familiar face? Forget this.

"I never sang in front of my parents or friends and I got nervous when they asked me, I sang in my room when my parents went to Walmart and I cried when one day I saw them filming me through the door." July Instagram. "Overall, I was incredibly nervous and socially anxious when I was little; and people always have that look of disbelief when I tell them that."

She came alive during Factor X process, convincing their parents to spend the money they would have used for a quinceañera to bring the family to the North Carolina audition.

Courtesy of Larry Busacca / Getty Images for MTV

"There is much less risk of performing or exposing yourself to strangers than in your own city or school," he told Marie Claire last year. "In Factor X, I became the person I wanted to be. In the interviews, I was super silly and confident. I watch videos of myself from the first performance, and I am winking and pointing. I was dying inside, literally, my hands were shaky, my voice would be flat everywhere, but I thought, I just had to go for it. "

The female response to One Direction brought her instant notoriety, with songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and a tour of 69 cities, but soon Cabello felt trapped, just a tooth in a massive wheel. "I was trying to rebel in my own way and wear turtlenecks or pants, which was allowed. No one ever put a gun to my head and said: & # 39; You have to do this & # 39; but it was definitely moving in certain direction and there was a group mentality, so you have to do it. "

Getty Images for iHeartMedia

So he tested the waters, collaborating with the then friend Mendes in his 2015 success "I know what you did last summer,quot; and Kelly machine gun in "Bad Things,quot; of 2017, and silently hid in the hotel bathrooms writing lyrics for the types of songs he would love to sing.

Having the opportunity to realize those words was a great relief, he shared with United Kingdom cosmopolitan. "I loved making all the decisions, because the product was something totally representative of me. It's like making your own coffee or breakfast. It tastes better because it's yours, because you did it. That's what I felt for me."

That does not mean that everything fit magically when he revealed his intentions to go alone. In addition to the drama of the Fifth Harmony that followed, he still had to fight to make himself heard in meetings with executives. "Havana,quot; in particular was a labor of love. After working on the melody for five months, I was still struggling when Pharrell Williams contacted its producer Frank Dukes and said he was interested in working with her.

"It was my birthday, and I thought, & # 39; We have a chorus for this song, but I can't understand the rest & # 39 ;, and he simply invented the tune for the verse we needed on the spot." saying Marie Claire. The song was finished at the end of the day, but then he had to keep working to convince his seal that it could be a success. "They said: & # 39; You have to do it faster. You must add production. The radio is not going to get it. It's a great song, but it's not your single & # 39;".

An animated Swift talk, with whom Cabello became friends after having the guts to approach her and Lorde In the MTV VMA 2015, he convinced her to keep fighting. "She said: & # 39; People abroad are never going to think about the story you want to leave behind & # 39;", recalled Cabello. "& # 39; That is yours, so you should always protect it, because for other people it is a song, but for you it is something personal & # 39;".

No doubt, his unstoppable winning streak feels valuable, but Cabello is not taking a turn that I told you so victory. "I will never say, & # 39; This is a great song & # 39; but I really liked it, and that is what matters."

Nor does he gloat over the success he has experienced since leaving his girl group behind. When the host of Video Music Awards Tiffany Haddish He mentioned his five nominations, joking: "Then, for those of you who look at home, & # 39; Hello Fifth Harmony & # 39;", Cabello responded with a vigorous nod.

And he struggled to make amends when he saw his former bandmate Kordei at the Billboard Music Awards. "We approached each other. She had acted that night, so I thought, & # 39; Oh, how was she? & # 39; She said: & # 39; Oh, I was so nervous & # 39;. And I thought:" To next year you will be totally fine. You are killing him. I'm really happy for you. I'm very excited to see what you do with your music. "

Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP

Fifth Harmony has paused its collaborative efforts, allowing the remaining members to also explore that life alone and Cabello could not be more satisfied. "I said: & # 39; I just want you to know, I really hope we can all get out of everything, and I'm really happy for the other girls, and I hope you tell them I wish you the best & # 39;". saying Marie Claire of his conversation with Kordei. "And she said: I'm very proud of you. She felt like everything was totally fine."

Really, everything is going crazy in the world of Hair, with a constant romance that provides the icing on his incredible past years. Although his romance with the British relations coach Matthew Hussey He failed in June, he didn't have to look hard to feel comfortable. It only took fans a handful of sightings to deduce that she and Mendes, who once tagged The singer "my favorite person worldwide,quot; had advanced their relationship.

Cabello is still facing the celebrity aspect of his thriving career, the sharp increase in his level of fame that makes people care who he is holding hands with while he is playing on July 4 or having breakfast with San Francisco .

"Because I've been doing this for so long, I forget that I'm famous in quotes or that people are looking at me," he said. Variety in August. "It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to see photos of me that I didn't know were taken. I honestly hate him. I don't want to live like a celebrity and have to look perfect every time I leave my house. Ignore him as much as possible. If I'm going to look like that day and the cameras are in my face, I don't care because I choose to be normal and human. "

She goes out of her way to appear discreet in public, such as when she put on a mask to wear her 11-year-old sister. Sofia Trick or treat at home in Miami. "I can't spend an hour in hair and makeup every day," he explained to Billboard. "Some people will do it because they photograph you walking down the street, but I can't, you know?"

As for Mendes, 21, he is slowly relaxing in the idea of ​​talking about their relationship. They are not the essential details, per se, but she let it happen in a recent interview with ITV Lorena how happy she is "I mean, I've known him for a long time," he said about his former friend, "and, I don't know, it just feels like home to me."

She realizes that she could be better in the industry game, but she also feels comfortable with the fact that she is not. "I know it would be much more interesting for people if I published more about my private life or if I was involved in gossip or whatever," he admitted. "I just don't like it. I just want to be a good artist. I don't want to be a celebrity. I'm not!"

We will have to respectfully disagree on that front, but we can appreciate the desire to let your work speak for itself.

If you are trying to avoid a place in the sensational circuit, you are doing everything right. Not suitable for partying or going to clubs, she turned 21 with cake and balloons with her family in Miami. And until recently he shared a room of lavender and rose there with his little sister who was covered in Mickey Mouse paraphernalia, a nod to his childhood desire to be a Disney star. This despite the fact that when he fled to Miami from Cuba at age six (his mother architect sold shoes at Marshalls for a living; his father washed cars in front of a mall) he didn't know exactly English.

The city of Florida is still home. When Cabello bought a house there last year (complete with a pool, which felt like maximum indulgence), it was for her and her family to live. ”Every time I come here, I feel more in touch with everything my the family had to go through me, "he shared in his Made in Miami Artist Spotlight Story, a 2018 collaboration with YouTube. "It's just that feeling of being humble where you come from, and the food here is amazing too."

After her big night at the EMA last November, the self-styled introvert returned to her hotel room in Bilbao, Spain with her appointment: mom Sinhue EstrabaoAnd prepared for your morning flight to Miami.

Despite being in her routine since the age of 15, she still feels like a newcomer, explaining that her five years at Fifth Harmony do not necessarily count toward her pop star credit. "I've really been a solo artist for a year, so I can't take a long break … I don't think I should do that, you know?" she reasoned for Billboard to hurry home to work on his second album.

"I think there will be a time when I want to take a few months to live in Spain or Italy and just have no discipline or responsibility. But I feel that I really haven't earned it." still."

Christopher Polk / Getty Images for TAS

What he does feel is his right, is to be selective about the work he assumes. Ignoring the rumors, I was ready to star Steven Spielbergis next West side story redo told Marie Claire"I don't think so. I feel like this has been the first year and a half of me getting to know myself. I have this confidence now that I haven't had before, of listening to myself and really not doing brain damage in & # 39; Should I release this song? & # 39; & # 39; Should I do this this way, or should I do it that way? & # 39; "Am I how this person sees me, or am I how I see myself? "

Now she is just Camila, the girl with a handful of successful songs, lots of prizes and a life rich enough to stimulate a full record of love songs. "The inspiration behind my album is to be really in love," he admitted to E! News in the HOUR Next 100 Gala. "Is called Romance. They are all stories about my life in recent years and the chaos that occurs when you fall in love. "

And then there's his next concert, the lead role in a Cinderella Remake quite appropriate for someone whose whole life begins to feel like a fairy tale, except that the singer, also in charge of helping to create the movie's soundtrack, is not a damsel in distress. "I know exactly who I am," he said Billboard"and I know what I want to do.