After two months apart, X Factor finalists Fifth Harmony are back in unison as they hit the recording studio for their first sessions as an official girl group.
“I think we’re definitely going into the pop lane,” says group member Ally Brooke in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, with the girls adding that they hope to add an R&B edge to their sound. (Says Dinah Jane Hansen: "We hope to give them a booty pop madness album, cause that’s what we gonna do!")
The third-place finishers on the Fox reality competition’s second season made it official with L.A. Reid’s Epic Records (via Simon Cowell’s Syco Music), as THR exclusively reported on Jan. 17, but Lauren Jauregui reveals that Cowell and Reid assured the group that they would have a deal just hours after Tate Stevens was crowned the show’s winner.
“Simon and L.A. told us that they were going to sign us at the wrap party,” says Jauregui. “And then with the official signing, we were all on the phone one night before – we had a little meeting – but the signing itself was done without us conversing.”
Asked whether there were concerns regarding their contract’s fine print or their own stipulations regarding image and sound, all five singers were quick to say that they fully trust Reid and his team. Camila Cabello does admit, however, “I feel like it’s important for us to have input, because at the end of the day it’s our album.”
The girls were reunited for the first time since X Factor’s December finale on Tuesday, Feb. 12, for a brief two weeks of meetings, interviews, performances (they appeared alongside Demi Lovato at the grand opening of Top Shop at The Grove, where 300 fans were waiting outside) and, most importantly, recording. With four out of the five singers still in high school (all are home schooled except for Jauregui), the trip will be a quick one.
While the girls tell THR they have their sights set on cranking out at least one hit single during their trip, one insider says that the label is cautiously optimistic, giving the newly-formed ensemble time to gel together and get adjusted to the industry. And despite a rabid fanbase already itching for new material, sources suggest that the label won’t push out new material before they’re ready.
But not to worry, Harmonizers, there will soon be new material to replace those worn out recordings of “Anything Could Happen,”“Stronger” and “Impossible.” Among the priorities of their first sessions is to record fresh, studio-quality covers via UStream, while A&R execs present the girls with potential song options to one day make their own.
“This is what any artist does at the beginning of the creative process,” says a source.
And as part of that creative process, several of the girls have begun writing their own material for potential inclusion in the album.
“We’re excited,” says Brooke. “They encouraged us to be writing on our own, so we’re hoping we’ll be able to be part of that process.” Additionally, Fifth Harmony will be working with songwriters Autumn Rose (Leona Lewis, Chery Lloyd) and Lil’ Eddie (Usher, Pink, Cody Simpson). Julian Bunetta is executive producing the album.
Fifth Harmony are the latest of a slew of X Factor season two alum to be hitting the studio. Winner Stevens debuted his first single, “Holler If You’re With Me,” via a Pepsi ad during the Grammys broadcast, and Emblem3 are currently working with hitmaker Savan Kotecha on their debut album via Columbia Records and Kotecha’s Mr. Kanani imprint. And while rap trio Lyric 145 have not yet signed a major label deal, they are in the studio recording original material, as well.
“They’re definitely working on music,” says Jauregui. “All three of them are such creative talents. They’re so good at what they do, and I don’t think that was represented well on the show. But in terms of the rap game, they are really good. I hope they get a chance to show that.”
While fans of Fifth Harmony eagerly await new material, the girls are providing an inside look at their sessions via Twitter. (Click here for updates and candid photos.)
“We want to do it soon for the fans, but if you rush it too much then it might not be as fun,” says Cabello. Normani Hamilton adds: "It’s better to have one great great hit than a bunch of mediocre ones."
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci