Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, who has seen her popularity steadily grow since she first appeared on the US version of The X-Factor in 2012, has started to experience the first major setbacks of her professional career. The former Fifth Harmony star apologized for posts with racial slurs that were discovered on a private Tumblr from her teenage years, and now, the chatter surrounding her less than stellar ticket sales and less than stellar album sales has started getting louder and louder.
Of course, none of those predictions of career doom are surprising given the internet is going to internet, but the larger question here is still a valid one. Has it reached the point where she should start worrying about her career? Let’s dive in.
The conversations surrounding Camila Cabello and her supposed racial views first came to the forefront when a subset of her fans allegedly started harassing ex-bandmate Normani on social media. Some allegedly used racial slurs toward the singer and photoshopped racist pictures. Then Babe.Net published an article that contained screenshots of alleged instances in which Cabello used racial slurs herself. Following that, the singer apologized after posts from a private Tumblr she kept as a teenager went public that included racial slurs.
The most recent of the incidents occurred in late December, and while it’s impossible to know what the long-term fallout might be, Cabello’s most recent release “My Oh My” has still been getting radio airplay and currently sits at #50 on the Billboard charts. So, there’s not some larger boycott going on or an unwillingness to play her music.
That doesn’t mean, however, that this current single is doing as well as she may have hoped. The musician has topped the Hot 100 charts twice in the past, most recently at the end of August in 2019. Her most recent album, Romance, entered the charts four weeks ago at #3 and currently sits in 14th position. Most musicians would be thrilled with similar performance, but considering Cabello’s last album Camila reached #1 on the charts and contained the best-selling digital single of 2018, it’s hard not to notice the slip.
Perhaps more troubling, Cabello’s upcoming European shows, called The Romance Tour, have reportedly seen sluggish ticket sales. Yahoo claims only around 50% of the tickets have been sold so far, and a quick search on Ticketmaster shows quite a few good options still available for all the dates I checked. The concerts don’t begin until late May. You would expect most, if not all, the tickets to be gone by then, but regardless, the seats definitely aren’t drawing interest at a level consistent with someone many thought would turn into one of the biggest pop stars in the world.
So, where does that leave her? Well, it’s fair to say Cabello’s career may not currently be at the heights many would have suspected after her single “Havana” tore up the radio in 2018. Those foretelling doom, however, are almost certainly exaggerating. The Manchester Arena in the U.K., as an example, holds more than 20,000 people. It’s not crazy at all that she hasn’t sold every seat almost 6 months in advance of her performance.
It’s also fair to say there has been some blowback from her social media posts. There have certainly been many articles calling her out for past behavior, and she did issue an apology. I’m sure she lost some fans as a result, but there is no coordinated effort to cancel her or keep her off the radio.
Sometimes the most important thing in pop music is how much people like your current single. The interest in “Havana” has passed. So too has the interest in “Seniorita”, her collaboration with boyfriend Shawn Mendes. As a result, her career has taken at least a half step back, but she’ll get plenty of more opportunities before it’s worth asking with any sincerity whether she should be worried about her career.