She’s not even 24, yet Lauren Jauregui’s musical career reads like a curriculum vitae of a stalwart singer who’s been belting out classics for decades. She’s part of The X Factor US alumni (starring on the show when she was just 16), she was one fifth of girl band Fifth Harmony for six years (they were formed in the second season of The X Factor, finishing third and later achieving platinum accolades), has amassed a social following of 14 million and has a forged a triumphant solo career for herself. To say Jauregui’s done well for herself would be an understatement. But despite the success, when the singer/songwriter met with Vogue Arabia there were no traces of diva mentality, just a jovial warmth – exactly the sort of thing her followers love her for.
A self-proclaimed healer, Jauregui regularly shares her thoughts and wisdom with fans across social media. Whether it’s her opinion on US President Donald Trump‘s immigration policies, or advice on how to manage negativity in your life, her honest, no filter posts offer a support and connection with her audience – something that has become even more welcome during the pandemic.
Determined to raise spirits, the Cuban-American singer joined forces with Vogue Arabia to produce a mini, exclusive at-home concert showcasing two new singles (“Lento” and “50ft”) from her upcoming debut solo album (out later this year). So, pull up a seat and enjoy front row access to your very own lo-fi gig with Lauren Jauregui. Also, check out our exclusive interview below:
Congratulations on the new music, what’s the message you want to get across?
The message is to protect your energy and not allow the opinions and negativity of others to define you and your experience in this life. It’s something that I’m learning and that I get to express through my music. Often when people are giving you negativity it’s to harm you and make you feel smaller, so [my message] is about pushing that aside and not letting it penetrate your field.
There’s a lot of your heritage referenced in “Lento” and “50ft”. Your family even feature in your video for “50ft”. Why is this important to you?
I feel our roots and our heritage are a part of our story. For me, I’m barely scraping the surface in “50ft”. There’s so much depth to which I can go and I intend to go. I just feel very connected to my ancestors and my family. I’m very family orientated – I think that’s a very Latino thing, too.
What do you miss about your girl band days with Fifth Harmony?
I don’t really miss my girl band days, I’m not going to lie. I’m grateful to have moved forward with my life, and not because of anything but the amount of stress that was involved. I’m much more comfortable being a solo artist and having my own vision and being surrounded by light at all times, and choosing what I do and how I do it. Even writing my own music, that is in itself a beautiful new chapter. But I don’t regret anything as I learned a lot about myself and a lot about this industry. Everything in life happens when it’s meant to. Everything is to teach you about yourself and get you further on the path to where you need to be.
What language do you prefer to write and sing in?
So far, in English because that’s what I learned in school and how I learned to express myself the best. But as I’m growing into this discovery part of my life, and diving deeper into my heritage, and even into the Spanish language, I continue to learn more. I’ve always spoken both languages but I’m speaking more Spanish. I moved to Miami and most people speak Spanish here, and I’m watching a lot of Spanish TV. There’s a lot of brilliant work coming from Spain and South America right now. So, I’m getting really inspired.
With regards to your heritage, what is it like living in Donald Trump’s America?
I find it interesting that I live in a country where we demonize refugees and immigrants when our entire premise and the constitution of what America is supposed to be is the land of the free; where people can come and make a success of themselves. Everyone who made those rules were immigrants as the US was originally called Turtle Island and belonged to Native Americans. So I find it insulting to this beautiful land, and disrespectful to the ancestors who really built this place. Immigrants and refugees built this land, and what we call society. My grandparents are immigrants. They came from Cuba and they are the reason I am here. In this country I know that the best parts are because of the immigrants and because of the refugees. Right now all our essential workers are immigrants – all your service workers, Uber drivers, all these people who help us on a daily basis. It’s just a weird time right now.
You use your high profile status to raise awareness of many political issues, why is this so important to you?
I’m a healer by nature and I heal best through my art and expression of self. I share things because I feel they are important. I believe it’s important to be a citizen of the world. It’s important to be educated and to shine a light. The information I share are things that helped me learn, so if I can enlighten even one more person that’s great.
Who are your role models?
First and foremost, my mum and my grandmothers, and my aunt Ana – she’s my mum’s best friend but she is like my Tia (aunt). They are huge pillars in my life. They showed me what it means to be an independent woman and what it means to be compassionate caring and loving, warm and intelligent. I have incredible women in my life. My sister also. She is younger than me and is just so cool. And my best friend, Brittany, is a super amazing organizer and has a dope heart and is constantly working for her community and empowering people. I adore her a lot. My managers, they are beautiful souls that have navigated the industry with such poise. Also, my dad, he gave me the passion for music.
What’s your happiest memory involving music?
I think my happiest memory was when Quincy Jones invited me to sing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He asked me to sing “You Don’t Own Me”. Getting to be there with him and all those spectacular musicians – who I was in awe of – it felt like such a whirlwind, and such a blessing. I couldn’t have dreamed that up and it will be up there as one of the best experiences of my entire life.