Camila Cabello brought her new solo single “Crying in the Club” to the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night. The singer just released the track earlier this week as the first taste of an upcoming solo debut.
For her first solo TV performance since she parted ways with Fifth Harmony, Cabello turned her song about dancing the pain of a relationship gone wrong awry away into a triumphant affair, showcasing that she was ready to go it alone and take centerstage.
The song began as a smoldering ballad. Over a cello line, the singer emerged from plumes of smoke, draped in a dark covering, and questioned, “Why did you leave me here to burn?” After the intro, she confidently shed the cape to reveal a sparkly gold number, which complemented the building rhythms and empowering themes of the song. Surrounded by male dancers, she shimmied and passionately declared there “ain’t no crying in the club” as fiery pyrotechnics punctuated the upbeat number.
2017 has been a year of redefinition for Cabello, who parted ways with the popular girl group Fifth Harmony in December of last year. The group had been showing signs of tension: Cabello left the stage during a concert in Missouri in September because she was suffering from anxiety, and Fifth Harmony subsequently cancelled some European tour dates. And when Cabello departed from the group, the other four members claimed that they had only found out through the singer’s representatives, a characterization that Cabello disputed in a lengthy Instagram post.
Cabello gradually started building an identity outside of Fifth Harmony even while still in the group, appearing on duets with Shawn Mendes and Machine Gun Kelly. She’s continued the string of collaborations in 2017, adding vocals to J. Balvin and Pitbull’s “Hey Ma” and Cashmere Cat’s “Love Incredible.”
On Friday, she released a new single titled “Crying in the Club,” which samples Christina Aguilera’s hit “Genie in a Bottle.” Cabello recruited some of the biggest writers in pop music to assist her on the track, including Sia and Benny Blanco. The video for the song also included part of another new single titled “I Have Questions.”
These tunes precede Cabello’s solo debut, out some time this year. She described the writing process in cathartic terms in a pair of Instagram posts last week. “I realized I wasn’t making music just to make an album anymore,” she wrote. “I was making this music to heal.”