It's a little over 24 hours since Lauren Jauregui released her debut single, "Expectations," and the song has already climbed to number six on iTunes. It's a rather auspicious start for the final member of Fifth Harmony to launch a solo career—and Jauregui is eager for fans to see a different side of her.
"'Expectations' is definitely one of my favorite songs I've worked on," Jauregui tells MarieClaire.com. "It encompasses the whole idea of coming out of a career people have expectations about—how I’m going to be, what sound I’m going to have, and where I’m going to go with my new power."
The new single, which strays from the former girl group's pop hits like "Worth It" and "Work from Home," is the song you're going to play on-repeat when you're feelin' yourself. Like, really feelin' yourself. It's raw, it's moody, it's sultry—and it's the perfect introduction to a new chapter of the 22-year-old's life, a "precedent of the energy I'm going to be giving," she says.
Jauregui opened up about going solo, the challenges she's faced along the way, and when it's time for women to ignore the mold they've been put in.
What has the shift from being a part of Fifth Harmony to a solo artist been like for you?
It’s been weird, dude. Those six years were such an intense time in my life, particularly in terms of the way I was navigating and perceiving life. It was intense and scary—sometimes lonely and dark. I feel like I'm coming out of that now and slowly but surely finding pieces of myself I forgot existed—really just getting back to her, nurturing her, and figuring out what I like to occupy my time. It's been a really transitional, transformational year for me.
How has your creative process changed?
I’m trying to be as organic as possible. I write when I feel like it—I don’t try to force a song. If I get in a room with someone I don’t like, I don’t get in that room again. I’m being very selective about where I’m putting my energy. There’s a lot of inspiration around me, so I’ve been drawing from whatever I can—mostly life experiences, or things I wish to experience. An exploration of self. Art is a self-care medium for me—delving in and expressing myself however it is my heart is feeling at that moment.
I'm not only writing a song, I’m also very intricately involved in every aspect of bringing each song to life—the video ideas, developing the concepts, the whole editing process.
Your collaboration with Halsey on "Strangers"—a song that's been referred to as a "long overdue bisexual milestone" in music—has been incredibly revolutionary in the queer community. What has it been like working with her and other artists like Marian Hill and your boyfriend Ty Dolla $ign?
It’s been amazing, honestly. I’m so honored to work with all the people I’ve collaborated with so far—they’re all artists I grew up listening to or love listening to currently. Marian Hill, for me, is one of my favorite electronic duos. Their vibe and their sound is so cool. And I really respect Halsey as an artist, the way she kind of creates her own world and is a true lyricist. Ty, obviously, is a fucking legend. He's incredible at what he does. It was an absolute honor to work with him. And then Steve [Aoki], of course. I’m from Miami, so I grew up with EDM and Steve was certainly one of those artists. Hopefully I get to work with even more people that I love.
Do you ever look back, like, Wow, look at how much my life has transformed since that X-Factor audition in 2012?
On a daily basis. I was literally plucked out of a super normal life. Like, beyond normal. I never imagined I would get to the place I am today. I’m 22 years old, I’m signed to a major label, and they actually allow me creative freedom as a young woman. In this industry and with the way things normally go, that’s priceless, to be honest. I’m really grateful.
Is there a song you’re currently listening to on repeat?
Anderson .Paak's “Tints”—that new song with Kendrick. I love it.
What advice would you give to young people who want to fulfill their passions, but may feel discouraged either by society's expectations, or feel like they’re not old enough?
First, I would say fuck that. Throw that mentality away and just immerse yourself in what you’re passionate about. The younger you understand that, the more fruitful your life will be. The more time you spend trying to figure out who you are or trying to change who you are, the less time you have to develop your craft. If you feel you were made to do something, 99.9 percent of the time you’re right. Cancel out the noise around you because everyone’s opinions have to do with their own perceptions and their own fears and their own limitations. Fully do you, invest in yourself, and immerse yourself in who you are.
You can download "Expectations" here or stream it below.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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