21 Questions with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren: "I'm a rock chick at heart"
For those not in the know, girl group Fifth Harmony are the brainchild of Simon Cowell and L.A Reid and competed on the 2012 series of The X Factor USA, finishing a very respectable third place.
Since then, the five-piece – made up of Lauren, Ally, Camila, Normani and Dinah - have toured relentlessly around America and finally arrive on UK shores on December 7, where they will perform their new UK single Bo$$ on The X Factor.
With their arrival imminent, we phoned up singer Lauren Jauregui to talk about their new music – including recently-released track Sledgehammer – their passionate fanbase and world domination: Destiny's Child style.
Hello Lauren! Where are you at the moment?
“Hello! I’m in LA and it’s 10.20am. I feel a bit groggy as I just woke up, but this is my life at the moment. I can’t complain!”
The response to your new song Sledgehammer has been huge; you must be pleased?
“Thank you so much. The response to it has been overwhelming – it’s the first single we’ve released that seems to be hitting radio hard.
Bo$$ is your new UK single; do you think this will be your big ‘breakout’ song?
“We’re all hoping so. The great thing is that we all love the song so much as well, so we’re happy to see it taking off.”
You’ve been working really hard since competing on The X Factor USA in 2012. Your life must have changed quite a lot since then…
“Life since The X Factor has been crazy. We’ve constantly worked – I haven’t unpacked my suitcase in three years! It’s been a whirlwind and there has been some crazy moments that have been overwhelming, but at the end of the day, we’re working towards a goal.”
Is there one luxury item you always make sure there’s room for in that suitcase?
“It’s mostly essentials, but I always have a book to read and my sketchbook.”
A sketchbook? Doesn’t that get destroyed amongst the mayhem?
“But If I don’t have it, I’d go crazy! The sketchbook definitely takes up space, but I love painting and drawing, so it’s like a little escape from the everyday madness.”
Breaking a new girl band is a lot of work, especially in America. Do you think Fifth Harmony are up to the task?
“Tell me about it. Americans just don’t like girls! Hopefully we’re the right girl band to change that. They’ve embraced girl bands before, I’m sure they will again.”
Is there an ultimate girl band you look up to and think ‘Wow, it’d be great to have the same sort of success at them’?
“For me, Destiny’s Child were such an incredible group. I loved the way they put out music that was so authentic to them and showed off their vocals. They also always put on such incredible shows.”
What’s the best Destiny’s Child song?
“I love Survivor… and Lose My Breath.”
You can’t pick two songs, Lauren.
“But they’re both amazing! Every time Lose My Breath comes on… you’re a complete liar if you’re not jamming out to it. You’re just a liar and a hater sitting in the corner!”
You’ve toured a lot since coming off X Factor; where’s the most exotic place you’ve been?
“We’ve done something like seven tours around America, but we recently performed at a festival in Brazil which was incredible.”
Brazil fans are a passionate bunch, aren’t they?
“Passionate is a great word to use. They’re very intense. When we landed there were loads of fans waiting there for us. We were warned that they’d want to touch us and we were okay with that – we saw that they’d put up barricades and stuff. It was complete madness. I had three security guards around me and it took us 20 minutes to walk 100 feet. I’d never experienced that before!”
What’s the weirdest present you’ve received from a fan?
“I haven’t had anything too strange given to me - it’s mostly very personal stuff. One girl gave me a ring that belonged to her sister that had passed away. I was so flattered but I also felt terrible. It’s one of the few things she has of her sister and what am I supposed to do with it? On the plus side I once got given a record player, which was amazing! I was very happy with that one.”
Sledgehammer is quite different in sound to Bo$$. Are these songs representative of your sound as a whole?
“You’re right – our album is very eclectic in its sound and I think that’s reflective in each of us. We all enjoy different types of music. Sledgehammer shows the softer pop side and Boss shows the harder, urban edge.”
What sort of music do each of you like?
“Personally, I enjoy rock/indie/alternative music and mellow R&B like Drake. Camila is really into pop music, Ally’s taste is all over the place and Normani and Dinah are really into old school R&B.”
You’re a rock music fan! Who do you listen to?
“I listen to a lot of Paramore, and James Vincent McMorrow, The 1975 and Ben Howard. John Mayer is one of my favourite artists of all time. I’m a rock chick at heart, but I genuinely love the music we’re making as Fifth Harmony.”
You’re performing Bo$$ on The X Factor UK next month. This is a huge deal. Are you nervous?
“I’M SO EXCITED! I’ve heard it is major in the UK and a lot acts work hard to get on that show, so I’m really excited to be able to do this. I’m hella nervous – it’s one of the biggest shows in the UK!”
Have you watched any of the UK series?
“I saw the season with One Direction because I was obsessed with them and I remember watching Cher Lloyd on it as well.”
Was it Simon Cowell who invited you perform on the show?
“Of course! He’s been so supportive of us and he’s trying his hardest to break us. It’s really nice to have someone with such a esteem in the industry on our team. He’s really stuck with us as well, he’s very involved.”
Your debut album Reflection is coming next year. What can we expect?
“We’ve worked with a lot of different people. Taylor Parks, Victoria Monet, Tommy Brown (Ariana Grande, Chris Brown), Tommy Parker, (hip-hop band) Wallpaper… oh my god so many people. It’s been a brilliant experience – the vibe in the studio was great. It felt like we’d created a team around us who were writing songs specifically for us… everyone just got it. I can’t wait to release it!”
You’ve recently released a cover of Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas Is You; are we going to hear an original Fifth Harmony Christmas song in the future?
“How amazing would that be? I hope we do that. Mariah’s is still going strong today – it could be a good move!”
Fifth Harmony release Bo$$ in the UK on December 7