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|“||Fifth Harmony wasn't the maximum expression of me individually," Cabello said in the feature. "My fans are really going to know me from the music I'm writing. My goal is to be brave and open up my soul.||”|
– Camila on leaving Fifth Harmony
Fifth Harmony is an American girl group formed on the second season of The X Factor US in July 2012. The group consists of members Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and previously, Camila Cabello, whose departure was announced on December 18, 2016. In January 2013, they signed a joint deal with Syco Music, owned by Simon Cowell, and Epic Records, L.A. Reid's record label, after finishing in third place on the show. In December 2016, it was reported that all group members are also individually signed to Epic Records.
2012: The X Factor Edit
In 2012, Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane and Lauren Jauregui auditioned as solo contestants on the second season of the American televised singing competition The X Factor. They failed to progress to the "Teens" category, with Brooke failing to progress in the "Young Adults" category and were put together to form a five-piece girl group at The Fillmore, in Miami, Florida on July 27, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category. Demi Lovato, one of the judges, along with Simon Cowell helped form the group. For their qualifying song at the "judges' houses", and their first song as a group, Fifth Harmony sang an acoustic version of "Impossible". Afterwards, Marc Anthony called the performance "unbelievable" with Cowell sharing similar sentiments saying that they were "clearly one great group". Initially, the group's name was "Lylas" (an acronym for Love You Like a Sister), but another group called "The Lylas" (which consists of four of Bruno Mars' sisters) claimed that the show stole their name. Thereafter, Lylas changed their name to 1432 (a colloquial term for I Love You Too), which was announced on the first live show on October 31, during which 1432 performed "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift. Cowell and Reid were critical of the new name, and Cowell suggested that the group be renamed again. During the first live results show on November 1, 1432 performed "Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato in a sing-off with three-piece girl group Sister C. Cowell decided to send 1432 through to the Top 12 and announced that they would be renamed via the viewers online. The name chosen by the public was announced: "Fifth Harmony".
In the semi-finals stage of the show, the group performed Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen" as well as Shontelle's "Impossible" for the second time during the competition. Their performance of "Anything Could Happen" was "a finals-caliber performance" according to Reid and described as "magic" by Britney Spears. However, their performance of "Impossible" received mostly negative reviews from the judges because the group had previously performed the song at Cowell's home (although not on The X Factor concert stage). Three members of the group (Camila, Lauren, and Ally) sang parts of the song in fluent Spanish. The following night's public vote results advanced Fifth Harmony to the final three along with Tate Stevens and Carly Rose Sonenclar. On the Top three live show, Fifth Harmony performed "Anything Could Happen" for the second time as their "Song of the Series" song. Their second song was a duet with The X Factor judge Demi Lovato singing "Give Your Heart a Break". Their final song of the night (and their last on the show) was "Let It Be" by The Beatles, billed as their "$5 million song". After the first round of the finals they did not receive enough votes from the public to advance to the Top two, and they finished in third place on December 20, 2012.
2013–2014: Better Together Edit
Approximately one month following The X Factor season two finale, on January 17, Fifth Harmony was officially signed by their mentor Simon Cowell's record label Syco Music, in a joint deal with fellow judge L.A. Reid's label Epic Records. Popdust Awarded them the "Next Pop Superstar of 2013" recognition, an annual competition held for rising artists. They began recording covers of songs which were uploaded on the video sharing platform, YouTube. Three of their covers received public praise from the original artists, including Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and Mikky Ekko. Fifth Harmony was also featured on Boyce Avenue's extended play, Cover Collaborations, Volume 2, singing covers of "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlakeand "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars.
Their debut extended play Better Together was released October 22, selling 28,000 copies in its first week and peaking on the Billboard 200 at number six.Spanish versions of the extended play, Juntos and Juntos Acoustic were released on November 8,peaking at number 2 and 12 respectively on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. The lead single from their extended play, "Miss Movin' On" peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 76, the highest charting single from an The X Factor contestant to appear on the chart.The song was certified Gold in the United States for selling 500,000 digital downloads and streams combined. The extended play's promotional single, "Me & My Girls" charted on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart at 53.
Throughout the months of July and August 2013, Fifth Harmony performed at various shopping malls across the United States in a promo tour titled "Harmonize America". On August 5, 2013 the girl group celebrated their one-year anniversary by performing five shows in New York City. The pop-up concerts throughout the city included performances at the iHeartRadio Theater and Madison Square Park. The group was one of the opening acts for Cher Lloyd during her I Wish Tour which started on September 6, 2013. On September 11, 2013 the group announced their first concert hall tour titled "Fifth Harmony 2013", playing in concert halls in Canada and the United States. Their opening act was indie pop band AJR. On November 24, they performed "Better Together" on the red carpet at the 2013 American Music Awards. They supported Demi Lovato's Neon Lights Tour as one of three opening acts playing 27 arenas across North America. On January 23, 2014, Fifth Harmony headlined the MTV Artists To Watch concert, an annual concert which showcases breakout artists that will be promoted by MTV during the year. The concert also featured performances by Tori Kelly, Rixton, Echosmith and Jake Miller.
2014–2015: Reflection and breakthrough Edit
In early 2014, Fifth Harmony confirmed reports that recording had begun for their full-length debut album with record producers Julian Bunetta, Daylight, Joe London and multi-instrumentalist songwriter Ricky Reed.The group stated the album is less pop, "more rhythmic" and has a more mature sound than Better Together. On December 4, 2014, the group was invited to sing at the White House for the National Christmas Tree Lighting, where they performed a cover of Mariah Carey's hit Christmas song, "All I Want for Christmas Is You". Fifth Harmony's fourth headlining promo tour was revealed at the end of March 2014, titled Fifth Times a Charm Tour, with dates in Puerto Rico and the United States. It was announced by Billboard that a representative from Epic Records had confirmed that the album release was moved from December 16, 2014 to January 27, 2015.
Due to delays in production, their debut studio album, Reflection was ultimately released on February 3, 2015. After a full week of sales, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number five with 80,000 units (with 62,000 of that coming from traditional album sales) and was eventually certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in February 2016. The album's lead single, "Boss", released on July 7, 2014, peaked at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with first-week sales of 75,000, and received a platinum certification by the United States for selling a million digital downloads and streams combined. The second single from Reflection, the Meghan Trainor-penned "Sledgehammer", went on to become the group's first top 40 entry on the Billboard Hot 100, and was also certified platinum in the United States with the third single from the album, "Worth It", featuring American rapper Kid Ink, becaming the album's most successful single at the time, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earning the group a triple platinum certification.The song charted in the top ten in thirteen countries and received certifications from twelve countries. The success of "Worth It" was largely impacted with televised performances on the season finale of Dancing with the Stars and their debut late night appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on June 18, 2015, alongside Kid Ink for the first time. Critically, Reflection was a success, landing in several mid-year and end of year lists, including Rolling Stone and Complex who ranked the album at 39 and 9 in the exclusively pop category, respectively. Several critics noted the group's experimentation with grungy hip-hop and retro R&B that was previously not heard on their extended play. The album was supported by the group's first major headlining tour, the Reflection Tour, visiting 63 cities in North America and 6 cities in Europe.
Fifth Harmony returned to the White House on April 6, 2015 to perform at the annually-held White House Easter Egg Roll, where they sang "Happy Birthday" as part of the fifth anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative. Later that year, the group released "I'm in Love with a Monster" on September 25, 2015, a song for the film Hotel Transylvania 2 which was featured in the trailer and included in the movie as well. On December 11, 2015, Fifth Harmony received the "Group of the Year" award at Billboard Women in Music 2015 ceremony, honoring the industry's most influential women.
2016: 7/27 Edit
On September 23, 2015, the group announced they had started recording for their second studio album. Band members Lauren Jauregui and Dinah Jane have co-written a few songs for the album along with the likes of Mitch Allan, Jason Evigan, Aaron Pearce, Tayla Parx, etc.
After a winter break, it was announced on February 25, 2016, that Fifth Harmony will be releasing their second studio album 7/27 on May 20, 2016. The album is named after the day they were formed on The X Factor. It was later announced that the album's release had been pushed back a week to May 27 to keep with the album's theme of 27.
The lead single, "Work from Home", which features American singer Ty Dolla Sign was released on February 26, 2016, along with its music video.The single peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and become the group's highest charting single in the United States, while reaching the top 10 in twenty-two other countries. The single also became the first top-five for an all-female group in more than ten years, following The Pussycat Dolls' song, Buttons which peaked at number three. 7/27 was released on May 27, 2016, debuting at number four on the Billboard 200 with 74,000 album-equivalent units (49,000 in pure album sales), making it the group's highest charting album to date. The album also marked the group's first debut in Japan and South Korea, while also managing top ten peaks in fifteen other countries. By November 2016, the album had sold 1.6 million equivalent units, that included sales, streaming and album tracks consumption. The album was group supported with The 7/27 Tour which commenced on June 22, 2016 in Lima, Peru, visiting South America, North America and Europe with supporting artists Victoria Monét and JoJo. The group won two MTV Video Music Awards for "Work from Home" and "All in My Head (Flex)" and was named by Billboard the "hottest young stars" under 21 for 2016.
They performed their third single "That's My Girl" on the American Music Awards and won their first award from this show in the Collaboration of the Year category for "Work from Home". The group's last performance of 2016 and as a five-piece was at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, where they performed "Worth It", "Work from Home" and "That's My Girl". On December 18, 2016, the group announced that Cabello had left the group. The group made their first appearance since Cabello's departure, at the 43rd People's Choice Awards on January 17, 2017. There, they performed an edited version of "Work from Home", and went on to win the award for "Favorite Group" for the second consecutive year.
Camila's departure Edit
In a message posted on social media and signed by Ally, Normani, Dinah and Lauren, the group writes, "After four and a half years of being together, we have been informed via her representatives that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony. We wish her well."
“I spent five years dedicated to the group and all of us focusing on the group, and it was an amazing journey,” the 19-year-old reveals. “I’m so proud of everything that we achieved together and everything that we had together. But just like any artist, I just felt like it was time to follow my own artistic vision and so I just followed my heart — and here I am.”
“I’m so excited about just making music and making the visuals and just creating that whole world,” she added. Of course, Camila didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms — exiting the group without even telling her bandmates, a fact she disputed in statement issued in December. “I was shocked to read the statement the Fifth Harmony account posted without my knowing,” she complained. “The girls were aware of my feelings through the long, much needed conversations about the future that we had during tour.”
According to 5H's official statement, Camila went through her reps to quit without warning — after dodging the other members' efforts to keep the peace. Camila slammed that story as "simply untrue" in an emotional Instagram post to fans.
Now it seems the actual truth may fall somewhere between those two stories.
According to a report by Billboard, Fifth Harmony's contracts permitted the girls make music as a group and on their own. The group portion of their contracts expired on December 18, an insider from Camila's team told the magazine, bringing an end to 5H's album-a-year commitment.
In the weeks leading up to December 18, Camila reportedly pushed for a 5H hiatus, which would have allowed her to focus on solo projects (not unlike what One Direction is doing). On the other hand, Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane Hansen, Ally Brook Hernandez, and Normani Kordei wanted to strike while the iron was hot and drop another 5H album to capitalize on their mega-successful 2016.
Even so, the insider clarified, Camila "did not mean that she wanted to withdraw from the band."
As for all those therapy sessions and interventions Camila is said to have avoided, she apparently had a reason: The insider claims that group discussions "historically devolve[ed] into a four-against-one scenario — much like the dynamic in the current public battle of statements we are seeing — and were largely unproductive."
If all this is true, it sounds like the girls simply hit an impasse: Camila wanted time off before cranking out another 5H album, and the rest of 5H didn't want to wait. Perhaps no one is to blame here — and the girls had little choice but to go their separate ways.
|"Half of my heart is in Havana."|
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