Camila Cabello is not one to follow the crowd. The 20-year-old pop star has defied all odds by creating a unique sound and image for herself, which she believes will help her stand out in this competitive industry. Her newest single “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” is an empowering song that gives people the strength they need to speak up for themselves and live their lives on their own terms. In this blog post, we’ll give you an exclusive look at how Camila got into singing, what inspires her lyrics and style, as well as some of her favorite artists!
Camila Cabello was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to the United States when she was barely a year old. Her parents wanted her to grow up with certain values that are often difficult for Cuban families living in America: they taught her about their culture but also treated her like an American girl.
“The songs I write always come from something,” says Camila. “[For] ‘Don’t Tell Me What To Do,’ [I wrote it because] I don’t want someone telling me what my race is, who I am… or how many people can fit into this world.” She wants people to know that there’s room enough for everyone on Earth!
When asked where some of her biggest inspirations came from, Camila starts listing off her top three: The Beatles, James Taylor and Frank Sinatra.
“I write about people who inspire me,” she says. “[In] ‘Havana,’ I wrote about a place that inspired me.”
She’s also been influenced by the music of Cuba—both before Fidel Castro took power in 1959 and after he was ousted in 2000.
“Cuban culture is very beautiful but it has some really dark moments with what happened to my family when they left,” says Camila. “We have this saying…’Amor Conmigo No Hay Nada Que Har.’ It means there’s nothing you can do if someone loves themselves.”
When asked why she chose to tell this story through music, Camila says it was a matter of timing.
“I don’t know if I would have done the same thing when my family left Cuba for Miami,” she tells me. “But now that there’s so much more going on with North Korea and we’re getting closer and closer in terms of nuclear war—the song is about what happens after.”
Last year while she was writing songs for her debut solo album, Camila decided to scrap an original track called ‘Havana’ because it didn’t feel right anymore. She wanted to write something new that spoke specifically to how people were feeling today but also captured nostalgia from before Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
The result? ‘Don’t Tell Me What To Do’.
“It’s about the empowerment of women, and that can be in many different forms,” she says.
“I’m not a soldier but I don’t want to get told what to do by people who see me as one.”
The track is also intended for Camila’s Latinx audience—a group often overlooked when it comes to music trends. In her view, ignoring this demographic would have been an oversight on her part.
“We’ve always wanted our own representation so we’re never made fun of or thought of as unimportant because we don’t speak English well enough.”
Grammatical errors: comma splice after “track” (should be either
“The track is” or “It’s about”)
Grammatical errors: comma splice after “showcase this demographic would have been an oversight on her part.” (should be either “wouldn’t” or “it would have been”)
Camila Cabello breaks down don’t tell me what to do song, from production to lyrics.
The singer also talks of the impact of being a Latinx woman in the industry and how she hopes that by making music for people like her it can help give them hope too.
“I wanted something empowering for my audience,” she explains.
There are some references to Cuba in there because I know when I go home it’ll feel different now, but at
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Coming in at just under eight minutes long, don’t tell me what to do is a journey of introspection for both the artist as well as her listeners. The song starts off with a soft acoustic guitar melody that quickly builds into powerful beats and bass lines all