"We used to always watch American Idol together, and she would always tell me, 'You're gonna sing for Simon Cowell and he's gonna know -- he's gonna see what I see,'" she recalls as her eyes well up with tears. "And so when she passed, I was like, 'I gotta do it.' And so I did it."
Jauregui went on the singing competition series in 2012, performing Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" for her audition, which pleasantly surprised Cowell as he called said it "one of my favorite auditions." She remembered walking out of the audition with her father when two girls who had heard her sing told her that they'd follow her journey as an artist and asked her for her autograph. But Cowell had made it clear during season three of The X Factor that he wanted to discover a girl group, or, essentially, the female version of One Direction. Joining Camila Cabello, Normani, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane wasn't part of Jauregui's original plan, but the growing pains she experienced were vital to her journey.
"At first, I was like, 'I'm not supposed to be here.' I'm just gonna be straight up. It was just about intentionality of what I had envisioned for myself," she admits about joining 5H, clarifying that she didn't want to come off in an "arrogant" way. "Being in that group taught me a lot. And at the time, I didn't understand what it was teaching me because I had to go through it. I had like a huge ego death in that group. A lot of lessons on hard work, a lot of lessons about burnout, how to navigate from a place of heart and stay true to myself through noise and through challenges ... And I don't think I had the strength at 16 to have done it on my own."
She previously told Billboard in an exclusive interview about her upcoming debut solo album Prelude, which she will be presenting for the very first time during a special global livestream performance via Moment House on Oct. 14 and 15. Jauregui said she learned about her own resilience, inner strength and power through the process of writing songs on the album, something she was never given the opportunity to explore until 5H went on an indefinite hiatus in 2018.
"That conversation was the unlock moment for me where I felt myself free up. I felt the energy of a new beginning, and then that allowed me to write again, 'cause I had not written any music while I was at Fifth Harmony at all," she says in her latest interview. "I really had disconnected from Lauren as an artist, like Lauren as a songwriter. I had just become Lauren the pop star that would show up and do her job. I got to move into a new reality and space of self-exploration that I started sonically and then had to dive into mentally."
Watch Jauregui's "Growing Up" episode above.