It was in March of 2018 that the girls of Fifth Harmony announced they would be going on an indefinite hiatus in order for Lauren Jauregui, Normani Kordei, Ally Brooke, and Dinah Jane to chase after their solo music dreams. This update came after they put out their self-titled, third album as a four-piece group, as Camila Cabello had left the band in December of 2016 to pursue her own solo career.

All of the four remaining bandmates have since started to release music on their own little by little and now, Lauren is in the midst of recording her debut solo record she expects to release in early 2019. Speaking to the LA Times, she spilled all about her solo music journey so far and how it led her to get the date “6.6.18” tattooed on her forearm, the date she performed an entire set by herself as an opening act on her friend Halsey‘s tour. 

“It was where I realized I can do this and that this was exactly what I was meant to do. I got to just be me — giving my energy with songs that I’d written and expressing myself with my choreography and what I wanted to wear. By the end of it, I was crying because it was so powerful,” the 22-year-old singer said.

So far, the songs she’s been writing and recording are proving to have a different sound than the music she made with 5H since this time around she’s heavily involved in every single aspect. She has total freedom and control, something she didn’t necessarily have for most of her time in the girl group.

“It has been such an incredibly freeing process. I’ve really let myself be guided by not having any inhibition about what I was gonna say or how it was gonna come out,” Lauren said.

Naturally, now that Lauren and all her former bandmates —including Camila whose solo album broke records —are making music without each other, she’s aware they will be compared to one another and even pitted against each other. But Lauren made it clear she’s all about spreading positivity and you won’t catch her throwing any kind of shade to anyone, ever.

“I do worry about the way that we all receive each other and the way that female artists are allowed to exist in these places. There are so many incredible, talented women making incredible [music] right now but we really still live in a culture where we have to pin them against each other,” she said. “It’s like one has to be better than the other and be the reigning supreme. And, it’s like, no, we can all coexist and we all have beautiful talents to offer. I don’t ever want to be associated with shade — I’m only ever throwing light.”

So there we have it: Lauren is ready to get music out in the world that truly represents who she is as an artist and she’s all about supporting the ladies of Fifth Harmony. Their bond is lasting forever.