"A lot of the time, people want you to stay in the box of what has already worked before,” says Camila Cabello. She knows how hard it can be to break out: During the past year, Cabello has fought to forge her own musical identity after leaving the pop cocoon of mega-girl group Fifth Harmony. But it’s “Havana,” the sultry single that by her own admission is “an unconventional pop song,” that ultimately established Cabello as a star in her own right.
Her most successful single so far -- it recently hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her sixth entry on that chart as a solo artist -- “Havana” is the truest representation of the 20-year-old’s aesthetic, rooted in both her Latina heritage (she was raised between Mexico and, yes, Havana, before moving to Miami at 7) and her love of hip-hop (“Havana” features Young Thug). Her debut album, The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving, will drop in 2018. “The best moments this past year were when I went into the booth, freestyled a melody and the melody turned into a song,” says Cabello. “The songs on my album are going to represent this time in my life. Making something out of nothing, and knowing it’s going to last forever, is really cool.”