A woman with blonde hair in a shimmering silver gown looks over her shoulder with a subtle smile.


Camila Cabello Says Her Newfound “Miami Baddie Energy” Is All Real

She’s brushing off the “inauthentic” comments.

by Carson Mlnarik

Camila Cabello’s new era — defined by a bleach job, risqué whispers, and massive, sonically different swings — has been scrutinized by critics and pop-music fiends alike. (Even her hyperpop lead single “I Luv It” has gone through multiple cultural reevaluations since its March release.) But it’s not a big PR move or sneaky act of mimicry, as the 27-year-old recently told Complex — it’s an evolution.

“It’s so ironic,” she said. “I feel like the inauthentic thing to do would be to give the public what you know is gonna work for you, or what they’re already expecting from you.”

As she gears up for the release of her fourth album C,XOXO on June 28, Cabello says she knows that giving fans “five more” versions of the 2018 No. 1 hit “Havana” would have been easier. “It’s so much more risky and comes from a place of artistic integrity to be like, ‘Well, I’m actually going to depart from the thing that everybody knows and likes about me in order to try things and experiment and evolve as an artist,’” she added.

Indeed, the “He Knows” singer’s newfound “Miami baddie energy” looks and feels like a departure. But it’s not nearly as unexpected when you take into account the pivotal years of girlhood she spent in Florida. That’s why she says she decided to take a cue from rap music and “set” the record — à la Kendrick Lamar evoking Compton on m.A.A.d city — in Miami.

And as Cabello further explained, there’s only one track on the album, which was largely produced by Rosalía collaborator El Guincho, that wasn’t born out of the city: “Twentysomethings,” a sparse and contemplative tune inspired by SZA’s musings about her own 20s. Penned in New York City’s legendary Electric Lady Studios, the song was written as a reflection on a relationship that wasn’t working. Presumably, it’s a reference to her on-again, off-again romance with Shawn Mendes, who’s also believed to be the subject of album closer “June Gloom.”

“[Writing the song] felt like the first time I really articulated [myself] feeling like, ‘What the hell am I doing,’” Cabello said. “I’m trying to make it work so badly while feeling so terrible … it feels like it really contributed to the soul of C,XOXO, too, because it felt to me and to my friends, when I would show them the songs I was writing, like a coming-of-age album.”