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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

'We all deal with our own demons' Dinah from Fifth Harmony tells us days before hiatus announcement

We spoke to Fifth Harmony three days before they announced they were parting ways - here's what they had to say

Fifth Harmony perform at du Forum in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Fifth Harmony perform at du Forum in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Fifth Harmony; the world-famous girl group have split up. They've had plenty of awards and red carpets, billions of streams and video views, tours, money and fame on a scale many wouldn’t know how to handle. It was perfect. And then four years later one of them - Camila - calls it a day. And today, the remaining four have announced that they are going on "a hiatus from Fifth Harmony in order to pursue solo endeavours".

On the road for a long time, and it showed

In August last year, they released their third studio album and to support its success on the charts, the four embarked on a world tour. On the list of touring cities was the UAE’s capital.

By the time Ally, Dinah, Normani and Lauren arrived in Abu Dhabi they had been on the road for some time, and it showed.

They were still polite when I sat down to interview them, but my initial 10 to 15-minute slot was slashed to seven. I quickly introduce myself and tell them I’m their “speed date” interview. They giggle – Ally Brooke seemed to like that one.

Lauren: 'In charge of our album, to an extent'

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We were under strict instructions not to ask about solo careers. No questions on former member Camila Cabello, no gossip. They did have a lot to say about their new album though.

“It was the first time we were able to be creatively involved and in charge of our album, to an extent. We weren’t necessarily just handed songs and told to sing them,” said Lauren Laurengui. “It definitely made it much more authentic to the Fifth Harmony sound and what we wanted to create when we were younger.”

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Somewhere in the four minutes and 57 seconds we actually had to chat, we get on to the conversation of remaining relevant in the ever-changing and competitive music industry. Normani Kordei says it wasn’t difficult. “I think it’s just growth and you can hear that lyrically. Vocally, we feel what we’re singing now. It’s not necessarily anything that is forced, it’s just us being us.”

Jane on 'demons': 'Behind the scenes we feel a lot of things'

The past year has been a stressful one, but as Jane said, the process of creating is helpful. “We are normal girls and sometimes people don’t really understand that. Behind the scenes, we feel a lot of things and we all deal with our own different demons,” she says. “With that comes the maturity, the lessons in life and that’s where we become better versions of ourselves”.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to pay your dues. After years we’re finally getting the power and credibility that we deserve,” Ally Brooke tells us. And power to her. The star recently signed a solo deal (which was announced before the split). As I’m told to wrap up immediately, I throw in that question, to which Dinah says, “We have a lot of things that Fifth Harmony still needs to do and it’s on the way” (we just didn't realise she was talking about flying solo in that moment).

Here's the full split announcement:

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Fifth Harmony fans refer to themselves as Harmonisers and they are an impassioned lot. Tweet them and they will share links to interviews and facts that most won’t know. We imagine their Twitter timelines will be in a flurry today.