Scoring a No. 1 on any chart, whether it be an album or a song, is a big moment for most artists, but collecting two at the same time, and in the beginning of a risky solo career, is especially rewarding. If anybody is celebrating in the music industry today, it’s Camila Cabello, as she has proven herself and shown that her decision to embark on a meaningful outing all on her own was, in the end, worth what she had to give up.
After weeks of sitting in the runner-up spot and waiting patiently for her turn, Camila Cabello has finally claimed control over the all-encompassing singles ranking (the Hot 100) with her breakout solo single “Havana,” and that’s only half of the reason why this week is massive for the pop star.
This frame, Cabello appears at No. 1 on both the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200, the chart that lists the most popular albums in America every week. While “Havana” has finally reached the summit after almost two months of attempting to do so, her first full-length on her own, Camila, begins at the peak of its respective tally. The title exceeded sales expectations by moving more than 110,000 units, and her single is the rare track that is only doing better the longer it charts.
There are plenty of reasons why Camila’s success this week is historically noteworthy—she now claims the longest wait on the Hot 100 by a woman before reaching No. 1, she’s the first artist since Rihanna to hit the top on both charts at the same time, and she’s the first star since Beyoncé to earn her first weeks as a soloist at No. 1 simultaneously—but those incredibly specific accomplishments probably aren’t why Cabello is breathing easy today.
For perhaps the first time since December 2016, Cabello can truly, irrefutably claim that her decision to leave the group that made her a star has paid off. When she first departed Fifth Harmony a little over a year ago, there were certainly signs that she was going to do well on her own and that the future was bright, but in the music industry, nothing is certain until it’s printed in black and white (or, posted online, at least). Popularity doesn't always equal sales, and there are countless examples of former girl group singers and boy band members who couldn't cut it on their own for whatever reason.
Cabello’s solo career got off to something of a rough start when her first song released under her own name, “Crying in the Club,” failed to break into the Top 40. Such a milestone should have been easy for someone as popular as the former Fifth Harmony powerhouse, and failure to do so was both embarrassing and a sign that the campaign behind The Hurting. The Healing. The Loving. (as her debut album was originally known) was in trouble from the beginning.
The decision to break off from 5H, likely for good, could not have been easy for Cabello, and she took a huge risk in doing so. It would have been much easier to remain one of the most popular members of a group that was commercially successful and adored by millions, and at least in the first few months of her album’s promotional campaign, it seemed she had made a mistake. Now, naysayers will have to shut their mouths, and the singer herself can know that her gamble paid off.
Now check out a very early interview with Fifth Harmony when they were still just getting started.