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After a rocky year, Fifth Harmony is in control — and tighter than ever
Fifth Harmony is at a crossroads. Having lost a member in a public fallout right after the group brokeout, the girls are in full control of their sound and brand. Will they finally make it big?
By Gerrick D. Kennedy

Inside a Burbank rehearsal studio, the women of Fifth Harmony — surrounded by the thousands of album booklets they’ve autographed for fans, the most dedicated of whom are known as “Harmonizers” — are having an emoji debate.

They want to use the digital icons to accompany the online reveal of the track list for their upcoming self-titled album, due Aug. 25 via Syco Music/Epic.

Dinah Jane Hansen, 20, suggested a finger pointing downward as a clue for the album’s lead single, “Down,” but the rest weren’t as easy.

“We need to go quicker, guys,” Ally Brooke Hernandez, 24, instructed as they struggled to stifle giggles.

After all, there’s other, more important business for Fifth Harmony to convey in 2017.

“We should mention we wrote most of these,” said Normani Kordei, 21.

Co-writing and ownership of records is a first for these women — since being put together on the U.S. edition of the televised singing competition “The X Factor,” the members of Fifth Harmony, which also includes Lauren Jauregui, 21, have struggled to assert their independence and prove they’re singular artists who are not just a made-for-TV creation.

We’re so in sync, the four of us. When you have a strong unit, there’s no stopping you.

— Lauren Jauregui

That Fifth Harmony even made it to album No. 3 is something of a feat. Just a few months ago, the group was parting ways — acrimoniously — with one of its founding members as rumors of conflict hit a fever pitch.

And yet in recent weeks, the act has filmed two music videos — including a sexy, lo-fi clip for “Angel,” its new single that was produced by Skrillex and carries hip-hop-inflections — and its members are rehearsing for a tour and Fifth Harmony’s debut at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 27.

“It’s the most monumental moment of our careers,” Kordei said. And the turnaround couldn’t have come quicker. Though the act seemed to be coming into its own with last year’s well-received release “7/27,” there was enough behind-the-scenes drama to fill a whole other reality show.

In December, the group appeared to be in crisis when it announced that singer Camila Cabello had exited just hours after a performance.

The group claims Cabello informed them via her representatives that she was out, something Cabello has rebutted.

And then things got messier.

Shortly after news of Cabello’s departure broke, a recording was leaked of Jauregui tearfully telling Hernandez that the group was being treated like “literal slaves.”

They were exhausted from touring — a period in which more than one member lost loved ones — and frustrated by a lack of creative fulfillment. From the beginning, Fifth Harmony has said that it had zero say in collaborators or the creation of its music, often receiving songs the day before studio sessions.

Often, its members say, the anxiety was crippling, and they started to resent performing. The dream of being the preeminent girl group of its generation was proving to be anything but.

We’ve been taking leaps of faiths — and trusting ourselves.

— Dinah Jane Hansen

“We lost the magic of it all,” Hansen added. “We were doing songs just to do songs.”

The magic, such as it was, began in 2012 when the thenteens entered the short-lived U.S. edition of “The X Factor” as solo contestants. They fizzled out but were then packaged as a group by Simon Cowell and then-Epic Records Chairman L.A. Reid.

Fifth Harmony took third place in the competition, scoring a joint deal with Epic Records and Cowell’s Syco Music.

Though a wave of boy bands had found recent success — including One Direction (assembled on the British version of “X Factor” — no girl group had managed to hit it big like Danity Kane, Pussycat Dolls, Destiny’s Child, the Spice Girls or TLC did in their prime.

Today, pop is dominated by assertive yet solo female artists, and Fifth Harmony risked looking like a relic from another era. And that doesn’t even consider the simple challenge of cultivating chemistry among a group of teenage girls who met on a TV show.

“When you get in a group, you have to go in understanding it’s not just about you and your ideas. It is a collaboration,” said TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. “When you think of [girl groups], most of them don’t stay together, because it’s not easy at all. Chemistry is something you either have or don’t have.”

Epic worked heavily to sell Fifth Harmony, keeping the group on the road constantly, often booking concerts at malls. “Every season, for 4½ years … I was a zombie,” Jauregui recalls.

From the outside, there was much to celebrate.

Fifth Harmony’s 2015 debut, “Reflection,” saw the group pick up where Destiny’s Child and TLC had left off, with an album full of slinky dance-pop and R&B/hip-hop-informed girl power anthems — with breakout single “Worth It” becoming one of the year’s biggest earworms.

The act then made history last year as the first girl group to score a top 10 Billboard Hot 100 smash in nearly a decade with the snappy “Work From Home.”

Yet the women in Fifth Harmony said they it felt burnt out and controlled by the label — like “puppets,” they agree. The women pushed though teary onstage breakdowns, infighting and family feuding.

“It came to a point where I’d catch myself onstage and realize, ‘I’m not feeling this,’” Kordei said. “It scared me, because this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Today, the women are relaxed and comfortable discussing their recent history. They’re dressed in active wear — Kordei’s shirt has “Phenomenal Woman” emblazoned across it, while Jauregui is wearing the anti-discrimination top Frank Ocean recently made famous — and their faces are makeup-free.

Jauregui reflected on the stress of the past.

We’ve been grateful to have a machine behind us. But we definitely needed respect — and we had to demand it.

— Ally Brooke Hernandez

“You’re in front of so many people that you know love you,” she said. “To be in a space where you don’t connect or when you feel bored in that kinda setting …”

“You feel guilty,” Kordei offered.

“It’s overwhelming to have your whole, entire life planned for something you don’t feel passionate about,” said Jauregui, the room falling silent. “You’re not seeing your family, your friends. You’re not doing anything for yourself. It was depressing, draining and sad. Now, it’s a whole different thing.”

In fact, the members of Fifth Harmony had long been fighting for the autonomy and respect that they are only now receiving. In late 2015, Hernandez contacted outspoken L.A. music lawyer Dina LaPolt, who helped the group clean house.

LaPolt got them new management with the powerhouse firm Maverick and helped transfer the Fifth Harmony trademark from Cowell to its members, giving them complete ownership of the brand.

A more favorable contact with Epic was then negotiated, but the women still weren’t in the driver’s seat when it came to music.

Everything we’ve been through, the ups and downs, I really believe it was to shape and mold us for this moment.

— Normani Kordei

“We were 15, 16 and 19 when we started,” Jauregui said. “We didn’t have any basic understanding of business, and we’re being thrown into this world of wolves where they really screw you over with contracts. We were really in a line of adversity.”

After Cabello’s departure, the women realized they wanted to work on repairing the group’s dynamic as well as its relationship with the label in order to become more vocal about its career ambitions. “We all got on the same page … and fought for our say,” Hansen said.

A key ally was Epic A&R executive Chris Anokute, who joined their team during the recording of “7/27.”

“They were uninspired, beaten up, bruised. They weren’t gelling,” Anokute said. “You could tell there were some things going on between the girls … issues with management. They started venting their insecurities and desire to write songs, and I realized they were never a part of it.”

Anokute pushed Reid to commit to another album after the turmoil with Cabello (Reid left the label in May), bolstering the group’s confidence.

“We are being more respected this time around,” Hansen said. “We are in a place where we know what we want and who we are. We’ve recognized our truth and what we have to offer — and our power.”

I love these girls and consider them sisters. I have such high visions for us, the four of us. Everything that has come true this year has been validation.

— Ally Brooke Hernandez

Fifth Harmony finding its voice shows on the new album — its title a nod to the group’s newfound independence.

The album was recorded in seven weeks at Santa Monica’s Windmark Recording, and the women co-wrote more than half of the songs on the project — splitting into pairs and penning the type of tunes they’ve wanted to do alongside handpicked producers, including Dreamlab, the Stereotypes, Harmony Samuels, the Monsters & Strangerz and Tommy Brown.

The record is raw, soulful, sexy and fully the group’s own vision.

On a recent afternoon, the pop of a Champagne bottle echoed around a boardroom inside Epic Records’ headquarters on the Sony lot in Culver City.

Cheers, air kisses and hugs awaited the ladies as they filed into a room stuffed with label staff gathered to hear Fifth Harmony’s new album — a mountain of tacos and bottles of tequila and Champagne awaiting them.

Before the music began, acting Epic President Sylvia Rhone led the room in a toast.

“To the baddest ladies in the business — it’s a pleasure to have worked with you guys,” Rhone said, her glass of Champagne hoisted high above her head as the women looked on with glassy eyes, clutching one another’s hands.

“It finally feels like we are living our lives. We’ve taken ownership,” Kordei said. “It’s been there all along, but maybe we weren’t confident enough or bold enough. This time, we’ve got the extra fire … and we don’t care what anyone else has to say.

“I kinda wish it could have been like this all along,” Kordei said with a sigh.

Jauregui, unarguably Fifth Harmony’s most outspoken member — she’s the first to admit group members barely listen to their earlier work — takes a bolder stance.

“We would have freaking dominated,” she said.

the-oc-nebula  asked:

A Mareep, eh? At least that's getting somewhere! Try to concentrate on that one Pokemon; what else do you remember about her? It doesn't have to be a name. Even small things like what she liked could kickstart a big memory.

Caroline: “…”

(M?: “This is mah favorite spot in the whole world.”)

(M?: “My ma used to take me here wit’ mah other siblin’s…”)

(Caroline: “Your… ma?”)

(M?: “Yeah… Ah was thinkin’ we could use this spot to meet up. Jist the two of us.”)

Ugh. Why are guys so cringe-y when they try and hit on me? 

Him: “So, what kind of person are you?”

Me: “A normal one? *proceeds to excuse myself*” 

Also if I’m on my laptop looking like I’m actually working, do not just sit next to me without asking and attempt to start up a conversation. 

What kind of beauty do you have?

So you might be an Aries or a Gemini, but that doesn’t mean you have Aries Venus or Gemini Venus. Our Venus sign shows us many things and one of those things is the beauty you have.

BTW the body part ruled by the sign of your Venus is generally the most beautiful part of you! *Calculate and find your Venus sign to see :)

Aries Venus: Bold beauty. Everything about you seems to stick out. Badass attitude and facial features that stand out in a dominant fiery way. Your assertiveness is admired and deemed beautiful in other’s eyes. One of the hottest next to Leo.

Taurus Venus: A classic beauty that emanates love and stability. You look very earthy of course, it’s a very grounded and lustful beauty to be honest. I guarantee you look like a million bucks if you have this placement.

Gemini Venus: Mischievous and youthful beauty. Your laugh and silly quirks are to die for. Beautiful mind as well. People probably complement you and adore you because you seem so young and childlike. Your beauty lies in your friendliness and capability to converse with anyone.

Cancer Venus: Just damn adorable. Their nurturing and caring vibe they give off is so beautiful to others. You’re the good girl or good guy with a happy smile. Cancer’s emotions show through and give you a sense of motherly care from them to you. Comfortable beauty. Probably have bigger breasts and hips.

Leo Venus: You can see the Leo fierceness in your eyes. A flirty kind of beauty. You attract people with your outgoing attitude towards life. Can be mischievous looking just like Gemini– you both have that look in your eye. Probably really hot.

Virgo Venus: A subtle and soft, cute beauty. This sign represents women, therefore giving you a very womanly appearance. Your eyes are big and clear. It’s beauty that makes you appear shy, but you’re just always humble in your appearance. Your cuteness alone attracts many admirers. Probably ample breasts and hips.

Libra Venus: You have a girly beauty that catches everyone’s eye. A charming type of beauty. Even if you’re a boy with this placement, you might be called the pretty boy (you’re all gorgeous nonetheless). Very feminine beauty with sparkling eyes. Your beauty has a lot of character.

Scorpio Venus: You possess a deep, dark beauty. The beauty in your eyes reflects your deepest thoughts. There’s an edgy look to your beauty. A beauty with depth, that only some people have access to. But it can’t help but show through and be quite mysterious.

Sagittarius Venus: Care free beauty. Your smile and casual way of living shows a simple beauty, but you also are attractive in the way you get wild and adventurous. Independently beautiful. You’re most attractive when you look like you’re having a good time. Your messy hair is attractive. This reminds me of surfers lol

Capricorn Venus: An elegant and classy beauty. Guys who want a respectable gal will love you. You have a mature beauty that never ages. Beautiful in the way you go about life and tend to the workplace and home life. You are admirable and beautiful while you engage in your tasks.

Aquarius Venus: Wide eyed, off beat beauty. Awkward type of beauty that is so cute to onlookers. The way that you are so quirky and talkative attracts people. Your different way of being in itself is so so beautiful and can’t be ignored, in a great way.

Pisces Venus: An ethereal, completely cute and pretty kind of beauty. Eyes that gleam and dream of romance are gorgeous! Social yet a bit shy. Innocent nature is evident and is beautiful. Like Virgo, your cute nature attracts people.


[august 01, 2017 • tuesday]

i’ll be posting more of my past planner spreads starting february because i’ve never really posted it before!!! my school starts in august 3, hbu guys? im super nervous + excited since its gonna be my first year in college 🌟 ig: europhias ✨

Something that happened in one of my classes
  • Teacher: Raise your hands all those who read at least once every other day.
  • *Several students raise their hand*
  • Student 1, whispering to student two: I don't think fanfiction counts...
  • Student 2: *Lowers their hand in shame*
MBTI types as shit people say at my school (2017 edition)
  • INTJ: "I asked you if you liked my scarf, don't make this about yourself!"
  • INTP: "Well, at least that's not the worst thing I've ever said in front of a group of my students."
  • ENTJ: "He looks like a watermelon gone wrong."
  • ENTP: "Yvonne, where did you get that rope and why are you holding it around Frankie's neck?"
  • INFJ: "I only shower once a week."
  • INFP: "Our humanities teacher is a smushed angry monkey dwarf."
  • ENFJ: "I helped out a primary school once, and now they keep emailing me all this GARBAGE. They're SPAMMING me."
  • ENFP: "Crap! I lost your USB, sorry Juliette."
  • ISTJ: "Yeah, and I really want to murder my French teacher right now, but we can't always get what we want."
  • ISFJ: "My biography should be called 0 weddings and a funeral."
  • ESTJ: "Do I look like a Kransky expert?"
  • ESFJ: "Smile. Jesus loves you."
  • ISTP: "At least my clothes aren't just re-purposed couch covers."
  • ISFP: "Our school is literally the local stoner school."
  • ESTP: "And if you touch the back of my head, you're getting a lunch time detention tomorrow."
  • ESFP: “Oh my god, my media teacher would be such a good GBF! I want him as my GBF!”

My first Yu-gi-oh fanart and its this…I expected nothing less of myself

based on this!

also dedicated to @sergle @yaboybokuto and @officialgrandpa for dragging my little sister and me back into Yu-gi-oh hell after 10 years

The signs as I know them

Nothing serious, just thought I’d make a quick post ;)


The strongest person I know,  I would not be able to go through half the shit they’ve been through. Funny as fuck. Loud, but only around their freinds and people they like. Can be shyer around strangers but doesn’t take long to warm up and make you laugh.


hahahaah so materialistic. If they’re on their phone in class, there’s a 99% chance they’re on Sephora, Asos or Color Pop. Will procratinate their work, but they still manage to hand in top quality shit bc they’re so hardworking tbh. Dry sense of humour. They have a natural and easy sense of beauty to them. 


I don’t actually know many Gemini’s, and that’s probably beause it’s SO HARD TO GET TO KNOW THEM. Will dissappear on you for like a billion years but its alg becuase they’re honestly so much fun. Deep talks until 3am. Will not shutup and are big gossips. Loves drama, and when I’m with them, I do stupid shit.        I love them.


All Cancer’s hate it when I call them cute… but they cute. ARTISTIC AF! not just in a painting or drawing way, but little ways as well… like home decor, cooking and little crafts here and there. Will cry if needed. Good at keeping secrets.


Okay, honestly SO funnny. SO freindly. We click and vibe. Arrogant AF, but they roll with it and exaggerate it, so it works. The other Leo I know is more of a lowkey one. Very smart and hardworking and like a super great friend. Centre of attention, but naturally, not because they openly look for it. 


All the virgos I know are fucking crazy. In a good way. They’re also very artistic and creative, a trait I envy a lot. I don’t always click with them, but when I do, we have some pretty chill conversations. 


WILL CHARM YOUR SOCKS OFF. They dont realise it, but every thing that comes out of their mouth is very very flirty. Then they end up with ppl inlove with them and then they get all triggered and shit. Like babe. You honestly didnt see that coming? Really? So natural around ppl, even if they’re intoverts.


Scare me a little, not gonna lie. And it’s not because they look mean or they have an intense vibe. It’s because one minute your chilling and having a great talk, and the next, they just snap and saying something that just leaves you shook. But despite that, honestly v nice ppl. 


Loud asf or quiet and reserved, no inbetween. Love to make people laugh. RAYS OF SUNSHINE!!!! Has a very relaxed and chill aproach to life and is down to talk about anything, no matter how weird :))) I love my Sag sistas


I honestly love Capricorns so much. My best friend. The HARDEST worker I know. Most people wouldn’t guess that she’s hillarious, but she is.. I cant even describe why she’s funny, she just is. Great at dancing and loves tea. If she ever reads this post, she’d probably give me so much shit lol.


The main Aquarians in my life have been ex best friends. Despite this, I still fuck with them.  Either really weird or very superficial. Also is a big narcissist. They’re so smart and quick. Having converstaions with them is so much fun because I can just bounce weird ideas off them and they wont batt an eye. Hard to get to know them though. 


I love my pisces friends so much. They’re so funny and hillarious and sweet and I just love them so much. Their sense of humour is very silly. Loves Game of Thrones. A wee bit obsessive. Also amazing friends and they have the greatest smiles.


The 100 + heights