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Fifth Harmony in the UAE: Get to know the band

The girl group, who went from being five solo contestants on the X Factor to a pop group sensation, return to the country this weekend

Image Credit: Supplied
Fifth Harmony is made up of Lauren Jauregui,Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane and Normani Kordei.

The girls of Fifth Harmony are zooming back into the UAE this March 16 with a headlining gig at du Forum, Abu Dhabi — and they’re ready to show us they’re worth it.

The band, who are down one member since their visit to Dubai in 2016, have achieved plenty since their formation six years ago. Ahead of their show, we take a look at their evolution from five solo contestants on The X Factor to one of the high-charting girl groups, with moxie to spare.

The group with former member Camila Cabello (second left) in 2016.

Who are Fifth Harmony?
Fifth Harmony are an all-female pop group composed of Lauren Jauregui, Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane and Normani Kordei.

How did Fifth Harmony actually form?
Fifth Harmony formed on the second season of The X Factor in America in 2012. Much like their UK counterparts One Direction, they were strangers to each other and auditioned as solo contestants. The individual members failed to progress to the next step of the competition on their own, but the judges — Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell — decided to put them into a group on July 27.

What’s their connection to Bruno Mars… or rather, his sisters?
Initially, Fifth Harmony were called Lylas, an acronym for Love You Like a Sister. But another band named was already named the Lylas — the one made up of Bruno Mars’ four sisters. The pre-existing group wasn’t pleased about their name being used, so the X Factor girls changed their name to 1432, which is code for I Love You Too.

Apparently, this goes back to the days when people used pagers, and the number of letters in a word was used to symbolise the words themselves. Their numerical moniker didn’t last, as the band let X Factor viewers decide what they should be called via a vote. The name chosen was Fifth Harmony.

Did Fifth Harmony win the X Factor?
They came close, but no cigar. The girls came in third place, bested by Tate Stevens and Carly Rose Sonenclar. The following month, however, they signed a joint record deal with Simon Cowell’s Syco Music and L.A. Reid’s Epic Music. They released an EP titled Better Together before the year’s end.

What was Fifth Harmony’s first album called?
Reflection. It came out in 2015 and broke into the American charts at number five; it was a critical success, too, getting top marks from most reviewers. Singles included Boss, Sledgehammer and Worth It.

Wait… weren’t there five members in Fifth Harmony?
Yep, but founding member Camila Cabello decided to go her own way at the end of 2016. Sadly, the split wasn’t amicable, with both the band and Cabello giving contradictory statements. The remaining foursome claimed they had tried to reconcile with Cabello on several occasions, and that “those efforts [were] not mutual”. Earlier this year, Cabello released her debut solo album, Camila.

What was the band’s most popular song?
Work from Home (ft Ty Dolla $ign) peaked at No 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the group’s highest-charting single in America. The song also broke a record by becoming the first single by an all-girl group to make it into the Top 5 in ten years, since the Pussycat Dolls’ went to No 3 with Buttons. Lauren Jauregui went on to date Ty Dolla $ign after the collaboration, and the pair worked together again on a song from his second album.

Do Fifth Harmony sing in Spanish?
They do. Ally Brooke Hernandez is of Mexican descent, and Lauren Jauregui was born to Cuban parents. Former member Camila Cabello is second-generation Cuban-American.

Have Fifth Harmony ever been to the UAE before?
Yes. The group previously performed at RedFestDXB in Dubai in 2016 as a fivesome.

The girls behind the harmony

Ally Brooke

Ally Brooke — full name Allyson Brooke Hernandez — hails from San Antonio, Texas. At 24, she’s the oldest member of Fifth Harmony. Brooke cites late superstar Selena as her biggest musical inspiration. Like the other members of 5H, Brooke has worked on solo projects outside of the band. Last summer, she featured on Lost Kings’ Look at Us Now with rapper ASAP Ferg. She’s also an ambassador for March of Dimes, a nonprofit aiming to prevent premature births and infant mortality; Brooke was born six weeks early weighing only one pound and 14 ounces (850g).

Lauren Jauregui

Lauren Jauregui was born in Miami, Florida, to Cuban parents. Her mother is a teacher and her father a plant manager. The 21-year-old, who went to an all-girl school in Miami, has become known as the most politically outspoken member of the band. She uses social media to engage, most recently supporting the Dreamers and speaking out against gun violence. Outside of the band, Jauregui has featured on several songs as a solo artist, including All Night with Steve Aoki, Strangers with Halsey and In Your Phone with Ty Dolla $ign.

Dinah Jane

Dinah Jane hails from Santa Ana, California, and has Polynesian, Samoan, Fijian and Danish roots. Though she is the youngest member of Fifth Harmony at only 20, she’s the eldest of eight children at home. Jane features on the RedOne track Boom Boom with Daddy Yankee and French Montana, and a Christmas medley with Leona Lewis. In 2015, she auditioned for the lead role of the animated film Moana, which went to Auli’i Cravahlo. Last year, Jane performed the Tongan national anthem at the semi-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Normani Kordei

Normani Kordei was born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in New Orleans, but relocated to Houston when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2015. Apart from singing, Kordei is an expert dancer. She participated in season 24 of Dancing with Stars and finished in third place with professional ballroom partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy. The 21-year-old released Love Lies with R’n’B singer Khalid in February, a track for the soundtrack of upcoming movie Love, Simon. It broke into the Billboard Hot 100 at No 43, making it the highest first-week position for a debut single by a member of a girl band.

Don’t miss it!

General admission tickets to see Fifth Harmony in Abu Dhabi start at Dh265.