With all-boy groups One Direction and Emblem3 already on his roster, Simon Cowell is betting big on girl power.
The X Factor boss and former judge L.A. Reid have signed girl group Fifth Harmony to Epic Records via Syco Music, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The group, comprising Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton, Dinah Jane Hansen and Lauren Jauregui, went from strangers to unofficial sisters during season two of the Fox reality competition when each auditioned as individuals and were placed together in a group during boot camp.
Finishing in third place behind teen diva Carly Rose Sonenclar and winner Tate Stevens, Fifth Harmony long was considered an underdog in the competition. Although mentor Cowell saw a spark in the girls from their first performance during the judges’ homes round, they suffered from confusing name changes (first LYLAS, then 1432 and finally Fifth Harmony) in the early stages of competition. But it was the girls’ semifinal performance of Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen” that cemented their status as a force to be reckoned with.
“I knew from the girls’ first performance at judges’ homes in Miami that we’d done the right thing,” said Cowell. “The chemistry between the Fifth Harmony girls both on- and offstage is fantastic. They are really great girls who have become best friends. They’re great fun to be around, and most importantly, they are all incredibly talented.”
Fans of the girls have been awaiting news of a record deal, while the group has inspired several trending topics on Twitter in recent weeks. In addition to fan-follow sprees, #SimonSign5H was trending Wednesday evening.
“Being introduced to the Syco and Epic family means the world to us,” said Cabello. “We get to learn from and work with the best in the business — people who have built the careers of artists we look up to. The fact that we’re being given the opportunity to make music that we want feels like a dream we never want to wake up from, and I literally just have to pinch myself.”
Added Hamilton: “The X Factor and Simon have given me and my Fifth Harmony sisters this wonderful opportunity to pursue our dreams. Becoming a part of one of the largest record labels in the industry plays a major role in making our dreams a reality. I am extremely excited to be signed to Syco and Epic Records.”
Fifth Harmony’s debut album will be executive produced by multiplatinum producer-songwriter Julian Bunetta (One Direction, Boyz II Men, Flo Rida, Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis), who worked with the group as a music producer on X Factor. The album will feature collaborations with songwriters Autumn Rowe (Lewis, Cher Lloyd, Alexandra Burke) and Lil’ Eddie (Usher, Pink, Jessie J, Cody Simpson).
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci