If you don’t know her face, you’ll certainly
know her voice. beyond reports on how
Camila Cabello is taking the music world
If you were in any doubt as to how big Camila Cabello has become in the past year, then just consider the following stats: her first album has been streamed ONE BILLION times, her fans have so far spent the equivalent of 15, 297 YEARS listening to her on spotify and she has hit the number one spot in 99 countries.
Very impressive for a 20-year-old who in late 2016 decided to ditch the security of a successful girl group and go it alone.
Now, 18 months on and the sultry dark-haired Cuba can look back on a decision well-made as her rise to global fame and fortune shows no signs of slowing.
Not bad for a girl who left Cuba aged six with her family to seek a new life in America and then at 15 was beamed into the homes of millions of Americans as a contestant on the US version of the reality-singing competition, The X Factor.
The show placed her in a five-girl vocal group modelled on One Direction that the viewers at homenamed Fifth Harmony.
Two albums — on Simon Cowell’s Syco label in partnership with Epic Records — and six tours followed in a span of five years, during which time Ms. Cabello was, if not officially the group’s lead, a consensus favourite, with the biggest voice and those disarming eyes.
And then it all went to pieces. As manufactured pop groups tend to do. Only in this case, the split seemed sudden and surprisingly vicious.
One day, Fifth Harmony was performing at the final stop of the Jingle Ball tour, smiling and hair-flipping. The next, a series of contentious and contradictory statements were released, and Cabello found herself on the lonely end of a sharp divide.
That was just over a year ago and while the career of Camila has gone into orbit, Fifth Harmony are on the point of being dropped by their record label.
After she’d announced her departure from the band, her former bandmates claimed they wer e “hurtand confused”, forcing her to launch her solo career surrounded by the tang of bad blood.
Cabello has since hinted she quit partly because the manufactured band dynamic thwarted her growth as a songwriter and she had written songs she didn’t want to give to anybody else.
Her hit single Havana certainly proved she might have a point and her debut album Camila, which wasreleased in January, is the next step to proving she’s got what it takes.
The early signs would appear to be positive an the Cuban pocket rocket is flying following last year’s whirlwind success.
She said: “I think Havana really gave me a certain buzz of confidence. When you’re a new solo artist, people are kind of scared to do stuff that’s different or new because they just want to go with what’s already being played on the radio. “A lot of people didn’t really believe in the song, but I did and when it worked I was like, ‘nobody really knows anything, so you might as well go with what you love.’”
So how does the tag of pop’s biggest new superstar sit with her?
“It feels amazing. But it also feels like it’s not me, if that makes sense? I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s my twin’. It’s almost like Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus. But… I don’t know. I feel like so much stuff is happening to me all the time, and that’s kind of a good thing because I don’t really have time to process it and let stuff sink in.”
But behind the cute smile lies a feistiness and determination that has propelled her to the top and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
At last month’s Grammy’s she dipped her toe in the political waters and challenged Trump’s plans to scrap the ‘dreamers’ scheme that, under Obama, gave temporary protection to undocumented migrants who arrived in the US as children.
This is personal, given that her mother is Cuban and her father Mexican, and that she crossed the border and came to Miami when she was a child — but, still, it takes guts to express your opinion when that can lose sales.
She told an audience of millions: “This country was made by dreamers, chasing the American dream.” “I saw this video of dreamers,” she explains. “A dad was being deported. He’d lived in the States for 14 years and was being sent back to Mexico. That could have been my family. It could have been me, being sent back to a place I couldn’t remember, and it’s not fair.
“This is a great time in music, when artists are vocal about things going on in their communities, whether #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter.
“As a Latin person, it’s my responsibility to bring up things I know about. How could I know about these things and not say anything?”.