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Lauren Jauregui katia temkin
Nine Songs
Lauren Jauregui

The former Fifth Harmony member delves into her teenage years to talk Pip Williams through the songs that made her who she is today.

29 April 2020, 07:00 | Words by Pip Williams

Lauren Jauregui wants you to know how much she struggled to cut her selection of formative songs down to single figures.

“I was a little upset when they said nine,” laughs Jauregui. “I had to Marie Kondo them. Unfortunately, all of them did spark joy!”

Born in 1996, Jauregui’s music taste blossomed in the age of streaming. As such, there were no limits to her library, and seasoned classics jostle with current talents on her curated selection. She laments artists who ought to have been included, namechecking the classic rock beloved of her drum-playing father - AC/DC, Guns N' Roses and The Rolling Stones - alongside Lana Del Rey and The 1975, her pick of the alternative sounds of 2010s radio.

“The songs that mean the most to me are the ones that kind of gave me a hug when I was feeling my worst,” she explains, of what the remaining nine have in common. “They were there for me lyrically, and saw and felt me when I felt like I was so alone. That’s why I love music so much: you can connect with total strangers. You can hear their stories, and that reminds me that we’re all human.”

With Fifth Harmony on hiatus since 2018, Jauregui and her bandmates have pursued chart-dominating, standalone careers. Since then, Jauregui’s diverse range of influences have been strongly reflected in her solo output. "Expectations", the first song that I put out, has a guitar solo! It had to have a guitar solo! It was necessary!” she exclaims.

Having listened to "Invisible Chains", Jauregui’s heavy cut from this year’s Birds of Prey soundtrack, it’s not hard to imagine this pop princess pivoting in a more rock-oriented direction. While that may not be the plan from where she’s standing today, Jauregui’s words glow with confidence as she delivers an assured promise.

“I’m sitting on some gold. I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeve, and I’m only just getting started.”

“Misguided Ghosts” by Paramore

“I was a real geek when I first met Hayley Williams, but then Fifth Harmony went on tour with Paramore. She was in the cafeteria, and I went up to her and was like ‘Hey, your music means a lot to me,’ - and it does! It still does.

“I still listen to every single album Paramore ever put out. There’s so many songs that have influenced me and helped me see music in a new way, or connect to music in a new way. "Misguided Ghosts" is definitely one of them.

“It’s very hard for me to pick one Paramore song, because I could easily have picked nine Paramore songs! "Misguided Ghosts" is one that, when I look through all of them, resonates with me, because it’s so beautiful and can be part of this nine song montage. It taught me through a lot of teenage angst and feelings of loneliness.

“The lyrics explore that feeling of being a phantom in this world. In the chorus Hayley goes ‘We are just / Misguided ghosts / Travelling endlessly / Don't need no roads / In fact they follow me.’ We’re all alone, even when we’re surrounded by so many people all the time. As someone in the industry, there’s this sense that everyone knows about you and loves you or hates you or whatever. Most of the people only know a phantom version of you.

“I connected to "Misguided Ghosts" before I had even solidified that [becoming a popstar] was a dream. In 2007 I was little - 11 or 12 years old. After Fifth Harmony dropped their albums, the songs resonated with me for different reasons. I do feel like there’s a connection. When I hear this song, I still feel warm inside.”

“Prom” by SZA

CRTL is an album where having to pick one song is absurd! That whole album was just super real. The way that SZA explores herself lyrically and melodically is so raw and honest.

“I listen to "Prom" all the time. The lyrics are so relatable; coming-of-age contemplation about the fact that you will probably get better at being a person as you grow up. Like, 'give me a break! I’m going through a lot, and I’m feeling a lot.'

“When CTRL came out, I was very much in that stage. I feel like I’m constantly in that stage, really! That’s why I keep revisiting that album.”

BAGDAD (Cap.7: Liturgia) by Rosalía

“When I heard El Mal Querer for the first time, I was in my room in an apartment in LA, and I was just like, ‘Holy fucking shit! What is this?’ Top to bottom, I was completely amazed. "BAGDAD" stood out to me very intensely. Her melodies, her vocals and the lyrics are just magical. It’s a magical piece.

"It made my ear perk in a way that was like, ‘Wow, this is interesting!’ I want to make music that makes people’s ears perk, you know? It was an inspiration in that way, to push boundaries. I thought it was such a brilliant placement of a pop melody. Rosalía’s whole approach on that album is just so revolutionary; that combo of styles. Her voice is flawless - truly beautiful. Angelic!

“I think Rosalía is a powerhouse of a performer, singer, talent and personality. Everything about her, she’s just a fucking star. Accolades don’t define her calibre of artistry, with or without them, she’s a fucking powerhouse.”

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac

“Stevie Nicks is a huge one for me. I love her so much. I relate a lot to the way that she’s always expressed herself, and I think Fleetwood Mac have beautiful songs.

"Dreams" is one of those songs that’s super nostalgic for me. It takes me back to high school and hanging out after school with my friends. This is where Lana Del Rey should have also been on the list! This song reminds me of car rides with my friends, going to the beach, being young and in love with life.”

“Superstar” by Lauryn Hill

“If you don’t mention The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, are you really an artist? I feel like that album is a staple moment in music history. It’s such a brilliant album. The way that she communicates her ideas is so brilliant. She’s another one who is just a star.

“I first heard The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill when I was 18 - I was late to the game! Of course, I’d heard of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but I hadn’t actually dived into the full album.

“When I heard this song - ‘Come on baby, light my fire / Everything you drop is so tired / Music is supposed to inspire / How come we ain't getting no higher?’ – it just hit me. Fuck, dude, this is what music is supposed to be about! It’s supposed to hit your heart, it’s supposed to make you feel some shit. You’re supposed to connect to the lyrics. That was a really important feeling to vocalise succinctly, so when I heard the line I was like, ‘Yes!’"

“(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding

“This song has a special place in my heart. First of all, there’s something about Otis’s tone, it’s so warm. It’s interesting how he has played a role in my life in many different little ways - his music randomly coming in at times when I probably wouldn’t otherwise have gravitated towards it, but once I heard it and when I found it, it became a part of my story.

“The first time I heard "(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay" was when I was in high school. I was painting in art class, and the teacher had this song on the playlist. Every time the song came on, I used to vibe so hard! I loved painting to it. It got me perfectly calibrated as I was painting.

“It’s always on the comfort playlist - songs that calm me down, or put me in the mood to be creative.”

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by Martin Luther McCoy

“I love The Beatles a lot, but there’s something really special about the Across The Universe version of this song.

Across The Universe is a film that used a bunch of Beatles songs thematically in the plot. It was one of my favourite films when I was younger, and I just love the way the guy who sings the song in that film delivered it. The pain in his voice and the soul in his tone hit me. I was little, but it hit me. I would sing it in the shower every single day.

“’I look at you all, see the love there that's sleeping / While my guitar gently weeps / I look at the floor, and I see it needs sweeping / Still my guitar gently weeps,’… just the poetry there! I love this song, and I love The Beatles.”

“On & On” by Erykah Badu

“Erykah is incredible - the conscious queen of my heart, will speak the fuck up. I think she’s brilliant. I love the way that she communicates her messages. I love the way that she sings, her soul carries in her voice.

“She such an ingenious creative, on so many fronts. What she’s doing right now with the Apocalypse Series, she’s doing an interactive virtual world, a concert experience from home!

"She’s so ahead of the curve and always has been. Her example - in the way that she carries herself and the way that she speaks about life - is a huge part of how much I’ve connected with my consciousness.”

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

“I had to put Bob on here, because Bob is huge for me. His music was the soundtrack of my high school wannabe-stoner self!

“Bob is just such a brilliant mind and creative and humanitarian and philanthropist. He has all of these different layers to his legacy. He’s generational! He comes back, and back, and back, because he was a true talent. Every single person who hears him - whether they’re young or old - they feel good listening to him. I think he’s such a brilliant artist in that regard.

“That song is one of my favourites. I know it’s the most classic, but it’s true. When I heard it when I was little - ‘Don't worry 'bout a thing / 'Cause every little thing gonna be alright,’ - that really impacted me when I was tiny. When you trust a higher power, when you trust a higher being and you give them your worry, genuinely things align. That’s my experience, and that was his as well, so I resonate a lot with his music.”

“50ft.” is out now via RCA Records
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