On the morning of her double-drop of new songs “Shameless” and “Liar,” Camila Cabello FaceTimed Apple Music’s Beat’s 1 Zane Lowe to talk about how she’s channeling her vulnerability into her new music. Her solo career has been a smash hit so far — debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with her first solo album, Camila, last year — and now collaborating with new beau Shawn Mendes on the No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Señorita” proves success can be sweet together too.
Cabello told Lowe that figuring herself out while writing music from the perspective of being in a romantic relationship is paving the way for more developed personal pieces. “A lot of times when I’m doing interviews, people are like, ‘You know the songs are a lot more personal,’” she confessed to him. “I’m like, ‘I’ve always been more personal.’ It’s just that when you have real stories, there’s a detail.”
She continued, “It’s happening, whereas my first album, a song like ‘Never Be the Same,’ which is one of my fave songs I’ve written, is coming from a place like, ‘This is what it would be like to be in love, oh this is what I felt like this one time a year ago.’ But the depth from being in a relationship and having fights is — I didn’t even know the concepts of the song I wrote.”
In addition to “Shameless” and “Liar,” Cabello is preparing a bevy of tracks to unload on her upcoming album, Romance. And she said Finneas O’Connell, older brother of Billie Eilish, helped her on one of the songs. “I have this one song with Finneas, and he’s an incredible artist and songwriter,” she said. “We were just talking about this day I had right before the writing session, and there was so much detail it clicked for me.”
The Romance album title made sense to Cabello once she experienced it herself. “People are not so open about talking about love — not even just romantic, but honestly romantic love is the most insane feeling in the entire world,” she confessed to Lowe. “And I wanted this album to take it back to even before in the ’50s and ’60s where it was these songs that would be called ‘corny’ or ‘cheesy’ now.”
Her appreciation for that “corny” but deep love offsets the deep pain she felt during her first heartbreak. “I realize it doesn’t matter when you’re in relationship, when you really love someone no matter who breaks up with who, it’s the worst,” she disclosed.
And in the tears she shed on her bathroom floor, Cabello found solace in singer-songwriter Julia Michael’s “What a Time” track. “I was listening to that song, crying, playing it over and over again. To me I’m like, ‘Ohh yeah, I love this shit,’ because the thing that makes me cry the most is music,” she said. “I think even though I’m really sensitive and I’m getting better at it, I could be having a really hard day and hold it in, and if you play a song, it’ll just come out.”
Cabello tries to protect herself from the anxiety of social media, saying she’s talked to Mendes about how the cruelty of online voices makes her self-conscious. Reading “She’s so annoying” after acting goofy in an interview at age 15 when she was on The X Factor isn’t the way the “Shameless” singer cares to interact with people. In fact, she hasn’t had Twitter on her phone for the last three years; she tweets from her mom’s phone and asks her to send screenshots of what fans write back.
“I want it to be things I can relate to, things from the heart,” she said about the types of tweets she wants her mom to send her. “I do it to protect my energy … I can’t do that if I care about what people think. I can’t do that if I’m trying to please.”