Camila Cabello: Our New VBF

The singer is supporting Taylor Swift tonight. It won’t be long before she’s headlining

Camila Cabello: her husky voice can wrap itself around big ballads or, with Pharrell Williams, Sangria Wine

Camila Cabello: her husky voice can wrap itself around big ballads or, with Pharrell Williams, Sangria Wine

 

The journey to pop stardom has taken a different turn in recent years, thanks to little-known shows called Pop Idol, The X Factor and The Voice. You don’t even have to win the competition to make a huge dent in the charts any more, and if, like Camila Cabello and our previous VBF Harry Styles, you were part of a group that was formed by the judges, the fan base that you developed with them will only boost your status when you finally go solo.

Since Cabello parted with Fifth Harmony, the girl group that was put together by Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and LA Reid, the judges on the American version of The X Factor in 2012, her solo career has reached stratospheric heights.

Working in the biz since she was 15, the 21-year-old has found her voice in more ways than one: she is a #MeToo supporter and, as a young Cuban who moved with her family back and forth between Havana and Mexico until settling in Florida, when she was five, and getting American citizenship in 2008, she is a vocal role model for any Dreamers waiting to get permanent residency in the United States. Between her choons, her campaigning work and her chutzpah, Camila Cabello is our very deserving New VBF.

Cabello’s creative side really came to the fore when she was stuck singing other people’s songs in Fifth Harmony; she thought she was subtly working on her own work after hours, but her band mates got a different impression and sort of booted her out of the band before she got the chance to walk out herself.

Camila Cabello: Havana

Camila Cabello and Pharrell Williams: Sangria Wine

“After 4 and a half years of being together, we have been informed via her representatives that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony,” they tweeted in December 2016, unbeknown to Cabello, pulling the same move as Girls Aloud when Nadine Coyle didn’t realise that their Ten: The Hits tour would be their last. But without that free fall, songs like Havana and Never Be the Same might not have seen the light of day.

She released her debut album, Camila, in January this year, just as Havana was sitting at the top of the charts, making her the first solo artist since 2003 to top the US album and singles charts at the time. Beyoncé was the last artist to do that, with her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, and her career-changing single Crazy in Love. Not a bad comparison.

Cabello’s heritage is a point of pride, and she moves between Spanish and English in her music. She also stands out from her peers because her husky voice can wrap itself around big ballads or the likes of the quirky Pharrell Williams collaboration Sangria Wine.

She cites her shyness as something that initially held her back from jumping into the entertainment industry, but as Camila Cabello the pop star, shyness is not an issue. She counteracts any sultriness in her music by making goofy music videos, and while Fifth Harmony resorted to cheap tricks to mark her exit – at an MTV Awards performance, the fresh new foursome flung a dummy off the stage – she pours her heart into her music, with album tracks like Real Friends capturing the heavy sadness of suddenly finding yourself on your own.

Cabello is currently touring with Charli XCX, another VBF of ours, on Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour, and when the three pop stars join forces for Shake It Off, the sentiment couldn’t be more apt. Tonight is the second of their Irish stay, and although it may be Swift’s stage tonight, it won’t be long until Cabello is back with her own production.

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