"This year [since Fifth Harmony announced its break in March] has a been an insane amount of exploration, just kind of getting really deep down into my own heart and my own things I've been through and things I've not really talked to myself about," Jauregui explained. "I feel like a lot of us kind of float through life and we get to this point of numbness, and we don't really know how we got there. We're not really feeling as much. And that's to say to the good things as much as the bad things. I noticed when I lost touch of feeling, I lost my artistry. I lost myself and what I love to do because I couldn't really get in touch with that anymore."
"I kind of snapped into a place where I was like, 'Be alive. Try to absorb what's going on,'" she said of her time in Fifth Harmony, which spanned a period of several of her formative years, from ages 16-21. "Even then, a lot of the stuff happens so quickly you don't have time to absorb it. You don't have time to process it. You're on to the next, and if you're not on to the next you're a flop. They don't give you time to breathe or enjoy what you're doing, or to even allow it to grow into something anymore. If it didn't chart within the first five minutes of it being released, like, it's a flop."
The "Expectations" artist said she's now "learning to detach myself from this whole pop model" and to delve into a "real, authentic creative process, just making sure what I'm saying means some shit to me and then hopefully that means something to someone else."
Her debut solo single -- not counting a handful of other artists' songs she's featured on -- was released on Oct. 24, with a full album to come. No release date has been set for her solo full-length, which she just began writing material for this past May, but she's penned about 40 songs that could potentially make the cut.
"I wasn't [writing before then] because I was not alive," she admitted. "I had zero inspiration ... It was draining. It taught me a lot about myself. It taught me a lot about the industry. It taught me a lot about communication. It taught me a lot about how to handle things. But it definitely took a lot of energy in that process. And that energy, I just didn't have it to put it into art ... I thought that I had lost my talent, that it was gone, that it had been taken away because I wasn't using it."
Jauregui continued: "It was scary 'cause as an artist, that's the only thing that I have. That's my identity. That was my identity for so long when I was younger."
"I didn't have to prove that or question that," she noted. "And then I got thrown into a situation where I was 100% questioned. It was like, 'Oh, you don't understand art. You can't possibly have taste, being in your situation' [put together with four other girls to form a pop group for The X Factor in 2012]."
Now that she's embarking on a career of her own, she's got plenty of ambition: "I would love to write a song that I get death threats for," she joked (sort of). "I know that sounds crazy, but that's the world we live in. We live in a world where people get death threats for standing up for their human rights. I want to write a song that's that powerful enough that someone that unconscious thinks they need to threaten my life. That would be my goal. That means I'm doing something that's moving shit. I'm moving the needle forward."
Watch the full interview below to see her talk about her upcoming album, what went into the making of "Expectations," how being spiritual has helped her find her way again and more.