Cabello and her mother Sinuhe Estrabao spoke with Glamour recently about their lives as immigrants in the U.S. and how it led the singer from Havana to The X Factor. In the conversation, Cabello explains that she is in the process of writing music about their experience.
“Right now I’m in the process of writing about our whole journey,” she said. “I want to make a love song for immigrants. That word, immigrant, has such a negative connotation — I can just imagine all the little girls who have dreams of coming here and feel unwanted. It inspires me in my music to do my best to give [them] the light that I have. I want to be what people think of when they think of America — a person who, no matter what her first language was or what her religion is, can see her dreams come to life if she works hard enough.”
Discussing the actual voyage, the former Fifth Harmony member and her mother recall flying from Cuba to Mexico and traveling by bus to the American boarder with only a backpack of belongings. Slowly, they built a life in Miami and after a year and a half Cabello’s father was able to join them.
Though Cabello was introverted, she began showing an interest in singing and dancing and remembers practicing routines at the YMCA after school. After seeing a One Direction “tips on auditioning for The X Factor (USA)” video, she asked her mother if she could audition for the show.
“She was so shy we didn’t believe she would be able to do it. But I told my husband, ‘She wants to go to an audition. Let’s go,’ said Estrabao.
That was the first time Cabello ever sang in front of an audience and it launched her career.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned from my mom has been: You’re human if you have fear, but you can’t ever let it determine how hard you go at a situation,” said Cabello. “If anything, it should make you go harder — go for it all the way.”