Year In Music 2018

Lauren Jauregui On the Year In Politics: 'We're All Living This Reality Together'

Lauren Jauregui
Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Lauren Jauregui attends the We Vote Next Summit event presented by Eighteen X 18 at TOMS Corporate Office on Sept. 29, 2018 in Los Angeles.

As former Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui has built her solo career, her voice has become a prominent one within political and social activism spheres, encouraging fans to vote and condemning President Donald Trump on social media. “I had always since I was very little contemplated the world and the systems at play,” says the 22-year-old. “Artists have a huge role in shaping people’s energies and thoughts -- that’s why I gravitated toward being one.”

Which artists inspired you early on to be vocal?
I grew up listening to Bono and The Beatles, who are a huge, huge, huge inspiration for me as far as using your platform for good. One of my favorite movies is Across the Universe. I listened to The Beatles before [watching] that, because my mom also loved them, but their music definitely did a lot.

What has been the most impactful political moment this year for you?
Every fucking day is impactful. One of the highlights was the midterm elections -- the amount of women and women of color that made it into Congress, I am astonished and grateful and hail to the goddess up above for that, because God knows we needed some feminine, “radical” -- as Fox News would like to say -- energy. We really need people who care about the people, and who are in politics for the sake of being a public servant, because that’s essentially what the whole entire premise of a politician is -- they serve the public and they get paid by our taxes, you feel me? We have nominated some really incredible people into these positions -- finally -- and it doesn't just stop there.

We have a long way to go, as far as having these conversations and building trust -- because Brett Kavanaugh is literally sitting on the Supreme Court right now -- but at least these conversations are happening and we’re seeing a resurgence of women supporting each other and listening to each other and being there for one another. We spend our whole lives, our whole existences, envying other women and thinking that it can only be us that wins in order for it to be a true victory, when men don’t think like that, and they’ve never been taught to think like that. They’re taught that there is space enough for each one of their existences, so why not there be enough space for us? Let’s take it up, we’re here.

This year, you spoke with Parkland, Fla., student activist Delaney Tarr for Billboard. Why are conversations like that necessary?
They are really important for community-building, and that’s essentially how we can fight [negative] rhetoric best -- by remembering to connect with our communities and neighbors and the people you see walking down the street. Those are the real, tangible humans. We’re all living this reality together, and while we have people on TV screaming political agendas and propaganda, that doesn't detract from the reality of when we interact with each other.

Have you ever had someone tell you you’re “too intense” during a conversation?
Oh, yeah. That definitely happens a lot. But I don’t gravitate toward those people. If you’re not aware and conscious, or don’t care about being aware and conscious, that’s not my personal cup of tea as far as someone to hang out with. I don’t even like going to the club, and that’s where those people usually hang out. I can’t be friends with someone or engage with someone intimately that doesn't understand or doesn't care about everyone’s right to life. That’s just not in my capacity anymore. I’ve grown too far beyond that.

What is a change you hope to see in 2019?
I would love to see the #MeToo movement become even more inclusive and intersectional. I hope to see the divine feminine awakened in men, and for them to start to be self-reflective and do some of their own emotional labor and not depend on women to do that for them, and see that growth, because that will change a lot of things -- men holding each other accountable and responsible for the way that women are treated, and that becoming common sense and common language.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 15 issue of Billboard.