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Interview: Camila Cabello on her debut solo album, self-empowerment, and self-care.

Interview: Camila Cabello on her debut solo album, self-empowerment, and self-care.

There's no doubt that Camila Cabello is having an extraordinarily good 2018 thus far, with her album 'Camila' becoming the first debut album ever to top the iTunes albums charts in over 100 countries, as well as being the first female artist since Adele (two years ago) to simultaneously claim both the top spots on the American albums and singles charts.

And now with sold-out debut solo tour dates across North America and Europe awaiting her this April through to June, Cabello keeps bouncing from one impressive career high to the next - an unstoppable live wire of female empowerment and self-love.

Let's just hope Cabello includes plans for New Zealand in her World Tour this year...

It's really important to take time by yourself and figure out who you are and what you want, because then whoever comes into your life, you are not rocked by it and you're still you.

[ ALL PHOTOS BY: MEG MEYER ]

COUP DE MAIN: We love 'Never Be The Same'! It perfectly encapsulates that dizzy feeling of falling in love. Do you think that love is the strongest human emotion?
CAMILA CABELLO:
Thank you! I really do, I think that it just controls everything and definitely once it gets a hold of you there is no greater feeling, but I feel like it doesn't even necessarily have to be romantic love. It can be love between friends, love between your family, love for something that you do, it could be love that you feel when you walk into a room of people that you feel safe and comfortable around, love can take a lot of different forms but I definitely think it is the most powerful.

CDM: In 'Something's Gotta Give' you sing about "counterfeit emotions" - is love the hardest emotion to fake?
CAMILA:
Yeah I could never fake that. I feel like it hurts you to fake something like that, you know? And I would just feel guilty.

CDM: There's no way to feel right about lying to someone.
CAMILA:
Absolutely.

CDM: "She loves control, she wants it her way / And there's no way she'll ever stay unless you give it up," and "don't you try taming the storm," are such sassy, strong, self-assertive lyrics. Was it important to you to have empowering lyrics on your album for your young female fans to take to heart?
CAMILA:
Yeah, absolutely! The reason why I wanted to write a song called 'She Loves Control' is because, first of all I was in a place in my life where for the first time I was [in my] early 20s and you're kind of getting to make your own decisions and live your life the way you really want to live it, and I felt like I had a lot of creative control. I had all the control over my career, over my time, over my days, over what I wanted to do, and it just felt so empowering and I felt so great and I loved the idea of having young girls singing with their friends, 'She loves control, she wants it her way,' and just making it this positive empowering thing that you get to decide who you want to be and how you want to live.
CDM: If I was a young girl, I would be so happy to have someone like you to look up to. I feel like you empower girls so much.
CAMILA:
That's really nice! Thank you, that really means a lot to me. I feel like I want to touch people. Music is something that I do for myself, like that is what makes me happy, even though it's my thing that I do, it's still my hobby, so it makes me happy but I do want to inspire people in a deeper way than just putting out songs. So it feel like it's important for me to-- I really, really want to help my fans.

CDM: 'All These Years' addresses such a universally relatable sentiment - still holding a flame for someone who might have moved on from even remembering that you exist at all. How do you get closure from those kinds of feelings and move onto 'The Healing' stage?
CAMILA:
Well, I feel like sometimes it also depends on your circumstance, because I realised before that sometimes these feelings that I thought that I had for a person could have been romanticising the past just because I'm lonely now, and sometimes you have to ask yourself, 'What do you really feel?' Or sometimes you kind of run away to this illusion, to something that isn't real, maybe to protect yourself from the present and from something that could be real. I feel like you just have to kind of ask yourself and evaluate, 'Do I really really still have feelings for this person?' And if you really, really do, I feel like it's important to say it because life is too short. Have you seen 'Sex And The City'?
CDM: Some episodes, but I haven't binge-watched the entire thing.
CAMILA:
Well, Miranda and Steve, they waste so much time because they both love each other so much. They're both in couples with other people and they're both so obsessed with each other and she takes forever to be like, 'Steve, I freaking love you,' and they waste so much time, they could've done that ten episodes ago and life is too short to not say what you have to say about people.
CDM: I love how much the show has affected you.
CAMILA:
No, it really has! I feel like the worst thing that can happen is they're like, 'Oh, I don't love you anymore, I don't feel the same way about you anymore.' And then you're like, 'Well, okay. Good to know.' And then you move on with your life.

CDM: What was running through your mind while writing your song 'Consequences'?
CAMILA:
Basically how that song came along is, Ed Sheeran, who is like my e-mail penpal!
CDM: Oh really?
CAMILA:
Yeah I know! Crazy! He introduced me to this girl Amy Wadge who he wrote 'Thinking Out Loud' with and connected us and basically introduced me to the concept of 'Consequences' and I loved it, so I knew I wanted it on my album. I worked on it and I just felt so deeply... That song just takes me back to an experience in my life where it's kind of like 'Never Be The Same' in the sense that it's kind of like the aftermath of 'Never Be the Same'. I feel like a lot of the songs could be in this one story, and all the different phases, and I feel like 'Consequences' is the aftermath of a love that was intoxicating like that and hard to get out of your mind or the kind of the love that you compare to everybody else and it's not the same.
CDM: You explore that theme a lot in your album.
CAMILA:
Yeah I do!
CDM: It feels very honest and genuine.
CAMILA:
Thanks!

CDM: In 'Real Friends', is the line, "This paper town has let me down too many times," a reference to John Green's book 'Paper Towns'?
CAMILA:
Oh yeah! I realised that when I wrote that line and I just liked it anyway. It's about L.A. and just this mood that I was in while writing the album, it was a few things that happened in a row that just made me [feel like], 'I don't want to try anymore in this city!'
CDM: Yeah, LA will wear you down.
CAMILA:
100%. So I just got kind of tired of being disappointed, and 'paper town' just felt like the right way to describe it because it kind of felt a little bit empty and fake to me, like one-dimensional. And that's a common theme in the album too, 'In The Dark', kind of has the vibe where I am just an L.A. hater in my album. <laughs>
CDM: How do you feel about it now? Do you feel better about it now?
CAMILA:
Well, I feel like I found some good people in it now, so I do feel a little bit better, but I still don't love it.
CDM: Sometimes it feels like when you talk to people in L.A. all they want is to know that they have you in their phone and that's all that they want.
CAMILA:
Like, get something, or know what you're doing! Like, 'What are YOU doing?' Also I feel like there is no magical energy here. I feel like there is such a magical energy in New York, I love New York.
CDM: I went to New York once and I was so overwhelmed, I just wanted to go home.
CAMILA: I
know, it can be overwhelming for sure. Some people say that, but to me it's magical. But I feel like I actually like being in a place that has more energy or more stuff going on than I do in my body. <laughs>

HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY ALBUM...

CDM: Your original album title 'The Hurting, The Healing, The Loving' was a nod to Rupi Kaur's book 'Milk and Honey'. Did you have any other literary influences on the album? What books are you currently reading?
CAMILA:
Rupi Kaur is amazing, I love her. I actually gave her book 'The Sun And Her Flowers' to my Grandma and my Grandma loves it. My Grandma is an old Cuban lady who speaks Spanish; I love her. I like Lang Leav a lot, similar vibe. I love Pablo Neruda. I love love-poetry! I've been reading 'Love In The Time Of Cholera' for a really long time, but I haven't finished it. It's by this Colombian author, his name is Gabriel García Márquez and it's like this classic love story. It's basically about these two people that kind of fall in love from afar when they're like 16, and this guy, everything in his life that he does revolves around her - like he gets specific jobs or goes to specific places just to run into her or get in touch with her, because he is poor and she's this like boujee... I'm describing it in the most non-poetic way, <laughs> the most modern way to describe it. I can't remember what time period it's from but it's old. Her Dad wants her to marry this rich guy that is in the same class level and he is infatuated with her and she gets married to this rich guy, but she is always-- I'm in the part where they're old, they're like 60 now! It's really cute.
CDM: You're so love-focused! That's a tough way to live though.
CAMILA:
It is! Well, I'm actually not as much as I used to be. Before, I always used to be like, 'Oh I want to fall in love, I want this, and I want love in my life,' because I was single for a really really really long time. I mean, I still kind of am, but I'm not as... I was single to the point of not even talking to anyone, like nothing, just dead for a long time, but then I realised how nice it is and how important it is to be alone. It's really important to take time by yourself and figure out who you are and what you want, because then whoever comes into your life, you are not rocked by it and you're still you. When I was younger it was harder for me to be that way, and I feel like now because I've spent time alone, no matter who I hang out with, I'm always myself and it doesn't matter who [I'm with]. I feel like time alone is definitely important.

CDM: This next question is from Matt Beckley who you worked with on your album: Was it important to you in the process of writing the record to be very involved? Do you think the success of it reflects the amount of yourself that you put into the songs, versus just singing songs submitted to you that were already written?
CAMILA:
Oh I love him! <screams> Wait. How did you guys do that?
CDM: I just know him, I know his friend that is in his band.
CAMILA:
You're so cool! You're such a cool person, like nice. I'm obsessed with him. I love him so much. He's the nicest person ever and he's always writing me texts. He's like the best and most supportive friend ever. I feel like people are not stupid and they can tell when something is manufactured and given to you and they can tell when there is heart in it and they can tell when something is you and when something is the label - people can tell. I could tell, that's what has made me a fan of the people I'm a fan of and what makes me uninterested in other people, so I feel like that definitely plays a part in at least why my fans are enjoying the songs, is because they know me and the girl that is having this interview with you is the girl that is in the songs. It just makes it real and real is everything.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT NEW ZEALAND...

CDM: Do you have any plans to return to New Zealand to tour your solo album over here?
CAMILA:
Oh I love New Zealand! I would love to, I had really good food there, but I wanted to go to the beach - I wanted to go to the iconic 'Lord Of The Rings' beaches!

DEAR NEW ZEALAND:

CDM: And lastly, your fans really wanted us to ask you... Are you feeling happy, healthy, and hydrated?
CAMILA:
I love them! I mean, yes, no and no. I mean, I am healthy but I have been eating pretty bad lately.

 

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Camila Cabello's debut album is out now - click here to purchase now.

Watch a music video for 'Never Be The Same' below...

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