Here’s how Fifth Harmony worked together to set up solo success for its members
Fifth Harmony is going its separate ways.
After six years together, the R&B group has announced an indefinite hiatus as its members pursue solo interests.
“Reflecting on the past six years since we started on ‘X-Factor,’ we’ve realized just how far we’ve come and we appreciate everything so much, more now than ever,” the group said in a statement early Monday morning.
They “also realized that in order to stay authentic to ourselves and to you, we do need to take some time for now to go on a hiatus from Fifth Harmony in order to pursue solo endeavors,” the statement added.
The news comes seven months after the group released its self-titled third album — a record that helped the ensemble assert its autonomy after years of feeling controlled and burnt out, and its first project following an acrimonious split with Camila Cabello in 2016.
“It’s overwhelming to have your whole entire life planned for something you don’t feel passionate about,” member Lauren Jauregui told The Times last year ahead of the group’s latest album. “You’re not seeing your family, your friends. You’re not doing anything for yourself. It was depressing, draining and sad. Now it’s a whole different thing.”
“It came to a point where I’d catch myself onstage and realize, ‘I’m not feeling this,’” Normani Kordei said in the same interview. “It scared me, because this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Fifth Harmony was formed in 2012 when the then-teens entered “The X Factor” as solo contestants. They fizzled out but were then packaged as a group by Simon Cowell and then-Epic Records Chairman L.A. Reid.
The group took third place in the competition, scoring a joint deal with Epic Records and Cowell’s Syco Music.
Though a wave of boy bands had found success — including One Direction (assembled on the British version of “X Factor”) — no girl group had managed to hit it big like Danity Kane, the Pussycat Dolls, Destiny’s Child, the Spice Girls or TLC did in their prime.
Fifth Harmony’s 2015 debut, “Reflection,” saw the group pick up where Destiny’s Child and TLC had left off, with an album full of slinky dance-pop and R&B/hip-hop-informed girl-power anthems — with breakout single “Worth It” becoming one of the year’s biggest earworms.
The act made history in 2016 as the first girl group to score a top 10 Billboard Hot 100 smash in nearly a decade with the snappy “Work From Home.”
Yet the group’s rise was often marred by whispers of infighting and conflict, murmurs that were confirmed when Cabello exited just hours after a group performance in 2016 (informing the others via her representative).
After Cabello’s dramatic departure, the women of Fifth Harmony — which also includes Dinah Jane Hansen and Ally Brooke Hernandez — realized they wanted to work on repairing the group’s dynamic as well as its relationship with the label to become more vocal about its career ambitions.
At the core of those conversations, the women say, was getting on the same page about ambitions with and without the group.
And over the past year, they have balanced group commitments and individual pursuits with one another’s support and a promise to return to the group when the timing was right.
“We conversate. That’s the boring answer,” Hernandez said last year when asked how they approach outside projects.
Last year, Kordei competed on Season 24 of “Dancing With the Stars,” where she finished in third place, and signed a solo management deal with S10 Entertainment & Media. And “Love Lies,” a scorching duet with Khalid, made history as the highest first solo U.S. chart debut by a girl group member ever.
Earlier this year, Hernandez issued “Perfect” alongside DJ Topic, was featured on a track from Los Angeles DJ duo Lost Kings last summer and is poised to appear in Season 2 of Freeform’s “Famous in Love.”
Hansen went viral for a Christmas record she worked on with her idol Leona Lewis and she’s also recorded with RedOne, Daddy Yankee and French Montana.
And Jauregui has done extensive work on the solo side, recording the same-sex anthem “Strangers” with Halsey and collaborating with Marian Hill, Steve Aoki and boyfriend Ty Dolla Sign. She also juggles her recording career with activism for LGBTQ equality (she famously came out as bisexual in a letter to Trump supporters) and women’s rights.
“We just have respect for each other, so it’s cool,” Jauregui told The Times when asked how the group navigates personal passions. “We want each girl to be happy and comfortable and not be in a place where she feels attacked or drowned by the world around us, which doesn’t even happen anymore.”
Fifth Harmony has a handful of dates in support of its latest album, which the group plans to complete.
“We are all very excited and grateful to be able to take this time to learn and grow creatively and really find our footing as individuals,” the women wrote in their statement. “In doing this, we are allowing ourselves to gain new experiences, strengths and perspectives that we can bring back to our Fifth Harmony family.”
For more music news follow me on Twitter:@GerrickKennedy
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