Fifth Harmony "Deliver" On Latest Album, Talk Inspirations & Gucci Mane
Thanks to their Billboard chart success, this group has been called the biggest modern-day girl group in a generation. Who are they?
That would be Fifth Harmony — Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane, and Lauren Jauregui — who have raced up the charts and straight into the hearts of millions of fans. Their 2017 self-titled album marks the first the group has released since Camila Cabello departed in December 2016. But a lineup change hasn't slowed them down.
Fifth Harmony peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, their fourth consecutive Top 10 album, equaling the Top 10 status of iconic groups Destiny's Child and Dixie Chicks, thanks in part to a slew of breakout tunes such as the gold-selling "Down" featuring Gucci Mane, "Deliver," "Lonely Night," and "Messy." Working with producers Skrillex and Poo Bear, among others, for the first time the quartet had a hand in co-writing and producing each track on the album.
In this exclusive Recording Academy interview, Fifth Harmony dished on why their eponymous LP is their best album yet, what each member brings vocally to the table, the artists they look to for inspiration, and more.
Congratulations on your self-titled album. What's been the most exciting part about releasing your album so far?
Jauregui: This is the first album that we were able to be creatively a part of. We co-wrote more than half of it and on the production side of things we curated this whole album. Like every single song, we chose — which is the first time that we could really say that, honestly. And that was just so special for us, to be able to give to the world and to hear their reaction to it and to see the fans' reaction to it. We feel like it's our best album so far, so we were just ecstatic to release it to the world and hear the feedback. It was amazing.
What were some of your inspirations as you were writing?
Brooke: As we were writing, some of our inspirations were our own personal stories and experiences. We would get in the room with the producers and the songwriters and we would let the track inspire us. The music really would speak to us and we would say, "Oh, this music sounds like something fun, or sounds like something really happy," like going out with your friends [on] "Sauced Up." And then another one like "Bridges," the music was very sentimental, so we were inspired by just wanting to have a powerful positive message and share love, hope and unity on that record, so it would depend.
Jane: I think, as a whole, we look up to a couple of artists [and] girl groups. We definitely are inspired by Destiny's Child, TLC, En Vogue, and we made sure to incorporate that into our music because that's who we are and that's who we listen to. There's a couple tracks in there that have R&B tones to it, such as "Lonely Night," "Deliver," my fave — all of our faves, collectively. This album, like she said, it's definitely our fave and the one album I'm most proud of.
What are some of your other standout tracks off the album at the moment?
Kordei: Honestly, my favorite has always been "Angel." I really love "Angel" and I feel like people got to see us in a different light and we kind of got to explore as artists and become different parts of ourselves.
Jauregui: My favorite would have to be "Lonely Nights." I love that song so much. I think it's so cool. And I also love "Don't Say You Love Me." Right now I'm really vibing that song.
Brooke: My favorite off the record, it does change, but I think I really just love "Deliver." I love the throwback [sound]. It even reminds me of Motown music. It has that kind of funky, jazz, R&B soul to it, which is what I love. I love that we were able to bring that fire and flavor and soul to this record, which is so, so amazing. And everybody just shines in their element. Also every time I hear "Bridges" I always get chills. It never fails. My goosebumps come out.
Jane: Overall on this album, what I love so much is you get to hear us all in a different light, such as our vocals. And we were able to showcase that more so than ever. Some of us bring different strengths to the table, so I love that some of us showcased a side of us that we were never able to show to anybody. Like, Lauren's playing with like her raspy tones or whatnot but she's belting most of the time and she's always afraid to go there. Or even Normani doing her whistle notes but then taking it to her lower register and playing with that. And Ally too, she's a belter. She's the belter queen, so [you] feel her feel every lyric moving you. She literally moves you the way she feels about the song. I love it so much and just seeing every girl in every different light, it makes me really proud.
Let's talk just a little bit about "Down." What was it like working with Gucci Mane?
Kordei: We actually didn't get to meet Gucci until our first performance. I think it was for "Good Morning America." It's funny because so many people on an outside perspective often think that you're in the studio with an artist. We didn't meet him until our first performance. But he is such a special human being, an incredible artist and I know that we've been fans for such a long time and he just makes the process so enjoyable, so fun, and he's very appreciative for each and every opportunity. I remember even him being very excited for the MTV Music Awards, and he has the biggest smile on his face. It lights up a room, so we're appreciative to him and he killed his verse.
You are the best-selling female group of this generation. How do you feel about that?
Jauregui: That's just such an honor to be told that and to have been able to be part of it personally is really special. I'm so grateful to these girls and to what we've accomplished together because it's literally magical, what we've been through and what we have been able to create together and where we've been able to go together in our careers. I'm so grateful to be part of the biggest girl group in a generation. That's lit. We definitely worked hard, so I'm grateful.
Jane: All I can say is huge shout-out to Simon Cowell. He knew what he was doing. And Demi Lovato, Demi takes a lot of credit in this. Those two definitely [deserve] credit for putting us together.
Kordei: Just the fact that we're able to be that for this generation is something really, really special.
Jane: What's so funny, when we're in the studio, when we're on tour, I feel like we are in this space where we really don't know how big we are. When we take in those moments to ourselves in a room, taking downtime, I feel like I can never process the words, "You're in the biggest girl group in the world." It's really hard to take that in.