A few hours after Fifth Harmony released their first single as a four piece, a group of their most hardcore Harmonizers gathered in a conference room at Tumblr HQ. Ostensibly, they’re there to discuss fandom with Tumblr executives and act as a focus group for how fandoms could make use of the new app, Cabana. But these are smart ladies, and they seem to suspect there’s more in store for them. Their persistence is rewarded when Dinah Jane, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui, and Ally Brooke stroll in.
Before the surprise, Mashable caught up with the group to talk about the new single, fandom, and their refusal to be boxed into the roles pushed on female pop stars.
“Down” featuring Gucci Mane is the first single they’ve released since Camilla Cabello left the group. As for why they chose the single to reintroduce themselves, there’s no drama.
“I feel like it was a collective first listen. When we first heard the song, we just all really vibed to it,” explained Jauregui, matter of factly. “Later on when we were going through all of our songs, it was automatic for us because we connected with it so quickly.”
The Harmonizers participate in a singalong before the the big reveal and discuss amongst themselves their method of memorizing the lyrics of a song that came out mere hours before.
When the group finally enters the room, the energy is less frantic than you’d expect for such ardent fans. These girls were just lamenting the stress of tending to group chats while live tweeting a music video drop and the pains of finding a good live stream the night a tour kicks off. The singers and their fans have an ease with each other, hugging and taking selfies. The band recognizes a few faces in the room. There are tears, though. One fan is especially devoted to Brooke and too nervous to approach her, so fellow Harmonizers swoop in to make sure to direct the singer’s attention to her.
The evidence of the impact of fandom is particularly visible this week following the tragic events in Manchester. Global fandom communities came together to lend their support to Ariana Grande and her fans, the Arianators. Watching fans come together meant a lot to Fifth Harmony.
“As the artists that we are, it’s such an honor when our fans represent us like that — when our fans are grateful and gracious, loving, and there for other people — that’s what we’re about and what we hope to instill in our fans and for our fans to execute in their lives,” says Jane. “It was amazing to see them react so positively and so lovingly and, you know. It brought everyone together.”
Grande herself has stuck up for Fifth Harmony in the past, too, calling out an interviewer who only seemed interested in whether or not the singers have boyfriends. That sort of sexist question is pretty typical in a female pop star’s world.
“It’s normally when a music video comes out, and it’s just about what we’re wearing,” says Jauregui.
“For me, when it comes to celebrity crushes and stuff like that, it’s kind of demeaning. Like, very cliche, you’re a girl and this is something you should care about,” says Dinah Jane. And it always has to do with beauty or something very superficial, when there’s so much going in the world you can ask us about.”
And that’s typical Fifth Harmony. I bring up the fact that on that particular day, fervent tweets in support of the Paris Climate Agreement are interspersed with promotion of their new single. “Yes, girl,” says Jane, “Gotta keep ’em woke.”
“Amen,” chimes in Jauregui.