Camila Cabello knows a thing or two about idol worship. She’s been in the limelight for the better part of a decade as a singer making her debut on a television show that was the short-lived US version of “The X Factor.” Even if fame was a goal (spoiler alert: it wasn’t), career dwarfs notoriety, and family, or “Familia,” as her third studio album is aptly named, comes first.
“All the people you put on a pedestal are having a nervous breakdown,” Cabello says. “It’s just the human condition.”
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Confidence is key at this point in time when it comes to his life. So it’s not surprising that he puts emphasis on determination. Cabello’s hits include 2017’s “Havana”, which was streamed nearly 41 million times in the US, and 2019’s “Señorita” (featuring her ex). Superstar pop singer Shawn Mendes with 39 million streams, according to entertainment analytics company Luminate.
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“Previously, on the first few albums, ‘What do you think? What do you think?’ and I don’t send my music to that many people anymore,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if you like it. If I hate it, why am I promoting there?”
Difference between first and last version? Cabello now knows that there is no right way to say no. The Cuban-born singer explains that the real trick is to “just say it.”
“If I can’t stand behind [a song] and I want to do that, let’s not put it out, because it will turn into something strange that I never want to sing again, and it’s all because I don’t listen to myself.”
Although not obvious from such fireworks, “Familia” Cabello finds herself most grateful—appreciating her team, supporters, and Latin-inspired rhythms of her roots. Going back to the familiar voices of his childhood helped the 25-year-old find healing.
His approach involved getting behind the wheel of how and with whom he worked. He commissioned artists Maria Becerra and Willow Smith to combine the consolation of brotherhood and “explore each other’s experiences,” channeling his words to heartbreak and self-doubt. Cabello also recruited recurring collaborator Ed Sheeran, someone he knows can “kick together” and is also a music producer he can trust to focus on creating a cohesive album rather than a collection of songs. The duo’s efforts spawned the lead single “Bam Bam”, a breakup song with stylistic influence from some of Latin America’s most respected artists Celia Cruz and Marc Anthony, and with an uncanny ability to dance. and Cry.
“Ed is a long time good friend and someone I respect a lot as a songwriter,” Cabello says. “He’s always looking for the best idea. [and] she’s not really ordinary – she’s super direct and so am I. There is no ego, which is the best way to work.”
While going public about heartbreak is unbearable in her own way, Cabello says she was able to muster the emotional courage in her vocal booth. “I went in and talked a little bit about my anxiety,” she explains. “My collaborators [would ask], ‘What was this line about?’ I’m like, ‘Eh! I just talk about it with my therapist and my mom.’”
Eventually, the anxiety of telling the truth eased, as the music was shaped by what the artist called his “dream team.” About “Familia” co-producers Ricky Reed and Scott Harris: “Whenever I opened up to them, I would say, ‘I felt insecure about this today,’ and they would respond like, ‘You’re talking. that’s real shit!”
This “real shit” included a blatant (and friendly) breakup from Mendes, but his heart beats for others. Wellness has long been at the top of mind for Cabello, and she shared that belief as a mental health advocate by partnering with the Movement Voter Fund to launch the Healing Justice Project, an initiative that provides mental health and wellness resources to young activists. breaking through intergenerational trauma and violence.
When asked to describe the most important lesson the “Familia” has learned in the past few years through a pandemic, Cabello sums it up in one word: “honesty.” By applying the “no ego” formula to nearly every aspect of her life, she says fans will continue to recognize her “most authentic self” in future projects, adding that “it doesn’t mean everything has to be positive music. I want to explore the dark parts [the] soul and let it be something healing.”
Style: Rob & Mariel/Forward Artists; Makeup: Patrick Ta/PRTNRS; Hair: Dimitris Giannetos/Wall Group; Manicure: Emi Kudo/Opus Beauty/OPI; Red Dress (Cover): Dress: Valentino; Earrings: Sugar Ice; Floral Top: Top and pants: RVDK; Earrings: Sugar Ice; The Rings: Levian and Sugar Ice
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