Camila Cabello’s sudden exit from Fifth Harmony in December 2016 was shocking, sort of. There had been rumblings that the vibrato-laden singer was itching to escape for months. What finally made her pull the plug on fronting the girl group and just how did this departure go down? Fifth Harmony claims her decision was relayed to the group via her representatives, but Cabello alleges she got the boot from her bandmates, leaving her blindsided. Fear not, we’ll sort this split out for you.
Cabello has had two songs in the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 as a featured artist and only one as a member of Fifth Harmony. Her duet with Shawn Mendes, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” hit no. 20 in early 2016. “Work From Home” with Fifth Harmony peaked at no. 4 in June 2016. It wasn’t until she collaborated with rapper Machine Gun Kelly in December 2016 on “Bad Things” that she finally had a no. 1 single to her credit.
When Billboard asked Cabello about the success of “Bad Things,” she gushed, “Honestly, it feels like my heart is going to explode from how excited I am. Any song I do, I put my heart and soul into and, as an artist, you can only hope it makes other people feel the way you feel when making it. So the fact that people are connecting to it makes me so happy. I know a song is special when it makes me feel something or brings back memories or personal experiences, and when I heard it, I saw the whole movie in my head. It just made me feel that warm feeling of falling in love.”
Clearly, she’s been dabbling in independent opportunities with great results, so why pump the brakes on a good thing?
A solo career would let Camila Cabello not only shine in the spotlight but also expand her horizons creatively, which can be difficult to do in a group setting—especially considering she and her bandmates admitted they wrote none of the songs on the 7/27 album. Cabello told Billboard in February 2016, “Fifth Harmony is amazing, that we can all come from different places and have different music tastes and have different ideas of what music we would like to make but all come together to be like, ‘OK, this is our sound.’ But at the end of the day, you feel kind of stifled when you can’t completely express who you are without any compromises.”
Taylor Swift may have influenced her
In March 2015, Cabello was accused of ditching her bandmates to party with songstress Taylor Swift’s infamous squad—who documented the entire celebration on Instagram. Cabello reportedly told her bandmates she was celebrating her 18th birthday quietly with her family, so imagine their surprise when they saw her plastered all over social media with Swift, pop star Selena Gomez, and more famous faces at a party they weren’t even invited to. (Watch the group’s reactions in GIF form here.)
A month later, a source dished to Hollywood Life, “Time and time again, Taylor has brought to Camila’s attention that she has an amazing solo career ahead of her. It’s gotten to the point where she keeps trying to convince Camila to do a solo album.” After Cabello finally quit, a source told Hollywood Life, “Whether it’s advice, future collaborations, or help with writing songs, Taylor is ready to help Camila through everything. Taylor supports her decision to go out on her own. She knows that Camila can be a major star, and is looking forward to seeing what she will do with her first solo album.”
Also, for what it’s worth, Fifth Harmony member Dinah Jane Hansen’s aunt allegedly accused Swift of trying to break up the band in July 2016, then reportedly claimed she was hacked. You decide.
She was accused of sneaking around professionally
A source told Entertainment Weekly that Cabello’s Fifth Harmony bandmates were totally fine with her pursuing side projects, but how she was going about it was a problem. “[Cabello’s] solo career is not the issue. The issue is how she handled herself over the past year. The secrecy and not knowing what’s coming, that’s the issue. They needed to map out a plan [for 2017] and she wasn’t having it.”
Another insider told People, “[Cabello’s solo projects were] never their issue because they all have solo projects in the works…The girls will be making huge announcements for the group and their solo endeavors in January.”
Other sources close to Cabello, including collaborator Machine Gun Kelly, refute the idea that she was conniving behind her bandmates’ backs. The rapper even suggested Fifth Harmony deliberately dumped Cabello the day she and Kelly got their gold plaques for “Bad Things.” The rapper told iHeart Radio (via Billboard), “I know Camila…there’s no like, trickery going on…no behind-the-back stuff,” he said. “I don’t like seeing someone like that, almost being picked on…She’s like this innocent, young girl…so genuine.”
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