American girl group Fifth Harmony were formed on The X Factor in the US and have quickly become a hit. As with One Direction, the five members were chosen by X Factor boss Simon Cowell to form a group. Since then, Ally Brooke Hernandez, Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Dinah Jane Hansen and Normani Kordei have spent the past 18 months working on their debut album, Reflection, which was recently released and went straight to No.1 on the US iTunes charts. I sat down with the girls to chat about fame, spending time together and the best advice Cowell ever gave them.
How has your life changed since finding fame?
Ally: Our lives have changed so much as we are constantly on the road and on the go; whether that’s preparing for an album, a tour or preparing for a promo. But it has been so awesome. We have amazingly dedicated loyal fans who just keep us going all the time. It’s just so exciting to be able to travel across the world.
Camila: I feel like we’ve changed a lot just as people. Since The X Factor when we were formed we’ve just grown so much as a group and individually. Just being in the music industry and kind of going from zero to a hundred, having nobody kind of know your name and then all of a sudden we were singing in front of the most important people in music and now debuting an album for the first time. I mean, it’s crazy. I feel like we’ve just grown a lot together.
You were put together by Simon Cowell to form a group. Have you had your ups and downs working together or has it been quite an organic experience?
Lauren: Yes, but I think the word “organic” is kind of hard to apply to five strangers being put together. Like, we didn’t choose each other. We didn’t choose to be in the group, but we are lucky that all five of us have, like, an organic nature so we were able to blend together really well. We had really great chemistry from the get-go and luckily it has been able to build and just grow. We spend more time with each other than we do with our own families and we’ve literally kind of developed a sisterhood in terms of we know each other’s thoughts and we know each other’s character.
What was it like to work with Simon Cowell?
Normani: It was an incredible experience. People paint this picture of him being scary because that’s how he is perceived through TV. So I was really nervous to audition, but getting to work with him and getting to know him throughout the X Factor process, he is a big teddy bear. He is just very honest but he really cares about people.
What’s the best advice he has ever given you?
Camila: I think the best advice he has ever given us is to make sure that we have as much input as possible into our own project because, at the end of the day, it’s ours and it’s your record. You can have label people calling the shots for you but … it has to be representative of who you are. And if other people make the decisions, it’s not going to be, and it’s going to come across that way. That’s a lot coming from a head of a label.
Has it been all work during your visit to Australia or have you enjoyed downtime during your trip?
Dinah-Jane: Yeah, we hung out with Stan Walker, we just had a good jam session.
Camila: We also went to Bondi Beach, which was a lot of fun. There are very, very beautiful people out here. The boys are so beautiful!
Who are your favourite Australian artists?
Ally: Iggy [Azalea]. I think she is sweet.
Dinah-Jane: I love Nathaniel’s [Willemse] voice. And I love Stan Walker.
Do you also hang out together when you’re not working?
Ally: Not really [laughs].
Lauren: Think about it. If you’re around someone 24/7 it’s healthy to get breathers every once in a while. We are friends with each other and we will do stuff with each other. But, for the most part, when we have time off we tend to spend it alone.
Ally: I think that’s healthy for any relationship. You don’t want to just exhaust it. This is an abnormal situation so you have to make it as normal as possible.
What’s next in the pipeline for you all?
Normani: We go to LA and we prepare for our headlining Reflection tour. And we go on that for a month and we’re shooting a music video too.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Ally: We really want our music to be extremely successful and just us keep growing as a group. But one of the things that we really want is to gain the respect from other artists because we’re working really hard and of course we want to prove ourselves.
Because you shot to fame through X Factor, do you feel like you have to work harder to prove yourself in the industry?
Normani: It’s perceived that it kind of just happened overnight but that’s exactly the opposite because there is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t see. But we’ve been through a lot within these two to three years.
Camila: I think there’s definitely some sceptics that will think that we’re just kind of completely puppeteered and that we just kind of go along with everything with a label or whoever the powers that be tell us to do, but we’re really loud in our opinions. I think for a girl group that came off of a show and was completely manufactured, we have a really good sense of who we are as a group and we have a really good sense of identity, which I think is really cool.
WE WENT TO Champagne Room, The Winery, Surry Hills.
WE ATE Sausage roll with veal and chorizo; cured meats with cornichons, toasted ciabatta; school prawns with old bay spice, aioli and lime; season beets, goat’s curd, red kale, sunflower, sorrel.
WE DRANK Strawberry Fizz mocktails.