going solo

Camila Cabello Clarifies Why She Left Fifth Harmony: ‘We Didn’t Write Our Records’

Once a Bo$$, always a Bo$$. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Ever since Camila Cabello made the abrupt decision to quit Fifth Harmony, questions about the split have dogged the young, newly solo singer. Rumors fueled by her own former group mates suggested that Cabello wasn’t forthright with the other four and ducked out on group therapy sessions meant to help save the band. The remaining 5H members said Cabello had her reps inform them she was quitting; Cabello said they always knew she had one foot out the door. In a new Billboard cover story — her first alone — Cabello is now doubling down on her explanation for why she exited 5H, and why the split wasn’t as inharmonious as it looks. “The easiest route would [have been] to shut my mouth, sing the songs, wear the clothes and keep going, you know? I mean, [we were] at the peak of our career. It’s definitely not the safe option,” she explains. Still, she says she took the risk for her own artistic integrity:

“I was always super open [that] I couldn’t just sing other people’s words and be totally happy with that … I always encouraged the girls to do the same. We didn’t write our records. We were interpreting somebody else’s story. Fifth Harmony is an entity or identity outside all of us, and I don’t think anybody felt individually represented by the sound — we didn’t make it.”

Cabello says she hasn’t spoken to any of the remaining members of 5H since the breakup (though she has reached out), but is wary of narratives that pit them against her — as is the default for conversations about female pop stars. “I know people will try and turn this into, ‘Is she going to be more successful outside the group?’ To me, if I’m in the studio every day and I’m growing as an artist and I’m speaking from my heart, that’s success. The results don’t matter. I mean, isn’t that the goal?” It appears we’ll find out this fall, when Cabello’s solo debut is expected. (Though she might not be as alone as we think.)

Camila Cabello Clarifies Why She Left Fifth Harmony