Lauren Jauregui Heals From Her Breakup With 'Always Love'

Lauren Jauregui Heals From Her Breakup With 'Always Love'

by Justine Fisher

Three years later, Lauren Jauregui is addressing her 2019 split with Ty Dolla $ign. The singer releases her vulnerable and honest breakup ballad, “Always Love,” out everywhere.

After the pair’s two-year relationship ended, the former Fifth Harmony member put her emotions into words on “Always Love.” Following her debut solo album, PRELUDE, Jauregui said the soulful new track is one of her most special songs because of how it is able to heal others when they hear it.

For the artist whose range includes hip-hop, R&B and pop, Jauregui’s sultry vocals on “Always Love” express her sense of nostalgic love. Though she sang the demo back in 2019 when feelings were raw, Jauregui shares it with the world now for fans to know they can experience heartache without the bitterness.

To unpack the emotive track, Jauregui spoke with PAPER about the cathartic recording process, the love she’ll always have for anyone that has touched her heart and everything she hopes fans feel when they listen.

“Always Love” is about your high profile breakup. Lyrically, what inspired you to write it?

I wrote the song back in 2019, so, it was inspired by the high profile breakup that you allude to. At the time, I was processing and grieving something that was really special to me. I wrote the song with Trey Campbell, and he was so beautifully able to receive my vulnerability. Between the two of us, we were able to convey what I was feeling, which was this kind of nostalgic love, where I knew that I had to move forward, but I still had a lot of love in my heart. I wrote the song from that perspective, which is why it’s called “Always Love.”

Because your relationship was so in the public eye, do you feel like that contributed to the song?

Even beyond a story of heartbreak and breakup, it was just two humans who were in love and who did that. We were together for two years, so it was one of those things that impacted us as humans. I grew up a lot while I was with them, just in general, as a person. I feel like the song transcends that specific relationship, and is applicable to all my relationships — any kind of connections I've had with lovers or friends, that have come to pass because we weren’t in the same place anymore. We didn't want the same things. Beyond having a public relationship, it was a human one.

To that end, what do you feel like is the message or theme of the song?

The message is in the title, so, “Always Love.” The whole premise of what I'm speaking about is, the fact that no matter what transpired between us, and even though there was pain that was exchanged, it was always from a place of love and trying to love and understand each other. A lot of times, that's not as clean cut as we want it to be because a lot of us come from trauma. We're out here trying to love each other through the lens of someone who's been hurt. So we're projecting onto each other and we get to a point where it doesn't work anymore. The song’s theme and energy is exactly in the title, which is that there's always going to be love for anyone that has touched my heart.

Did writing the song feel cathartic to you?

It was cathartic. The song you guys are hearing is the demo. I sang that in the room on a mic in the room itself. I didn't even go into the booth to do any of it. It was so raw and organic. Every time we would finish writing a line or a part, I would put it down immediately. I remember the last chorus I was recording, I actually recorded myself doing it. It was one take and exactly the one we used. I cried because I felt like you said, it was cathartic to be able to put how I actually felt into words because I feel like a lot of breakup songs are usually very bitter and focused on either how terrible I feel about myself or how fucked up of a person someone else was to me. Rightfully so, for a lot of people that is their truth, but for me, I didn't feel all of that. Like I say in the song, “Even though we’ve hurt each other more than once, it was love, always love.” I'm able to have this capacity to understand who people are beyond who they need to be for me. In that, I'm able to love somebody beyond whether or not they were able to show up the way I needed at that time in my life.

With that raw, organic way of writing and recording the song, is that always how you do it? Or was that specific to the subject matter of this song?

It's not always how it goes for me. My process is different every time. Sometimes I really have something I want to say, and sometimes I don't and I'm more drawing from experiences that have already happened. This one in particular was very raw. I was very vulnerable that day. I was feeling genuine feelings. I was actually feeling sad. I didn't even really want to write that day. But Trey made it real safe for me to be honest about how I was feeling, and then helped me formulate that into words and put the right melodies to it. Malay’s production is just so melancholic and also bright at the same time, which is what the tone of the song is. Yes, there's this nostalgia and yes, it's kind of sad, but at the same time it's hopeful and happy because the respect and love is still intact. There's no hard feelings.

How does it feel to put something so personal out to the public for millions to listen to?

It's one of those beautiful things about what I get to do, to be honest. The song has done for me what it needed to do the second that I wrote it. After I wrote that song, I was able to let go of those feelings, and I was able to process how I was feeling and make sense of it. It really helped my personal grieving process. Putting it out to the world is just with the hope that it finds somebody who needs it, and they can hear these words and feel seen or feel reflected and heal a part of them too.

How do you think fans are going to react to the song?

The core fans have already been hearing it for years. I wrote it three years ago, so I'm genuinely beyond the space that I was in when I wrote it. I just think it's such a beautiful song and it deserved to see the light of day. At the time, I was still involved with a lot of label politics. I'm now independent and I can release things of my own volition with my own vision in mind, and that's why it's taken so long to be properly released to the world because I didn't want to just throw it on a project. To me, it's one of the most special songs that I've written. I've been playing it, singing it to people for three years now, so I've seen different reactions. Different people of all kinds of gender, race, religion, they're able to relate to it because it's just such a real feeling. I just wanted it to be real special when it finally hit the world.

"I'm able to love somebody beyond whether or not they were able to show up the way I needed at that time in my life."

What makes this song different from your previous releases?

I wouldn't say it's necessarily different. I feel like I'm always quite vulnerable and honest in my lyrics. That's my craft, being able to express myself through words and melodies and be able to sing it, so I wouldn't say it's different. It is special to me because it just hits. I don't know how to explain it. Some songs are vibes, some songs are hits and this one, to me, hits. When I say hits, I don't necessarily mean everybody's hearing it all over the world because it gets them moving. This one hits, like it hits you in the soul. It hits you in the spirit. It makes you stop and think about somebody. Everybody's gonna think about somebody when they hear it. I hope that, when they think about that somebody, they're able to heal that piece of themselves that was unable to understand that they didn’t have to be bitter about it. They can let it go and let it just be, always love.

With the song being written in 2019, does it hit the same way for you?

I do feel the same feelings. It transcends the situation for me. It's applicable to all the lovers that I've had. It's applicable to friendships or family relations that didn't exactly go as planned. It's a testament to good songwriting when you can have a song written three, four years ago, and put it out three, four years later and people still will feel it. Instead of it being a time capsule of a sound, it is beyond that. It's not a trend of any kind of sort. It's just an honest, raw song.

Is that something that you aspire to for all of your songwriting?

Yeah, I definitely want to make timeless music. I want to make music that people can listen to in any era, in any time of their life and for it to mean something different to them, maybe, but still have the same resonance because of what I'm saying. Because I'm telling my story, I'm reflecting humanity in the moment through my experience.

With the time difference from 2019 to now, do you feel like "Always Love" aligns with what you're doing now?

It definitely aligns. Musically, I don't really feel like I fit in anywhere specifically. I really experiment with sound to mean something to me. When I think of the sounds that I like to use when I'm creating a song or the concepts that I like to play with, I just care about being real. I care about being myself. Maybe that's a selfish process, but that's kind of what art is for me. It's just an expression and I'm grateful to share it with people because art is one of the most healing powers on this planet. Especially with music, the frequencies that we share with people are powerful.

My intention is to always be raw and honest in my music, whether that's on a pop record or a singer-songwriter record or an R&B track or a dance track. When I go into the studio, I love to get into the beat and just allow the music to tell me what I want to say. Sometimes I go in with an idea already of what I want to talk about, so I can create a sonic landscape around that concept. But always the concept and the sounds you're hearing are going to be related somehow, whether it's that I want to create a juxtaposition and I want to write about something really happy and have those sounds feel melancholy, or I'm writing something more melancholy so I'm going to tap into a lost love. I always want a correlation between the sounds and what the sounds evoke in you.

What emotion do you think the sound will evoke from people?

It has that happy nostalgia. That's what it evokes for me, this calm nostalgia of like, “I do really miss this, or dang, I do really feel deeply about this person or this experience, even if it was in the past.” Even if I wasn’t experiencing it, I'm able to relate to the feeling of still loving somebody even though we've been through it together and even though we know that we can't be together anymore. I think that's such a universal experience for people who are romantic in that sense.

Is a lot of your music intended to pull a universal reality?

I like for it to. I don't know if I always will hit that because all I can do is express from my perspective. There's a lot of perspectives that I probably won't be able to tap into, specifically, but generally speaking I feel like the majority of us have a very similar experience on this planet. We all go through love and loss, in different capacities, in different ways. The realities of the life we're all in, which is post-colonial capitalism and super driven by productivity and kind of a furtherance away from togetherness and from vulnerability is what I see around me. I'm just intentional about making sure that I keep that alive for myself, that I allow art to always be a place that I can go to to say something true or something real, whether it's my personal experience or just what I'm seeing, because sometimes I'm just a storyteller too. There's all kinds of ways that your pen will be ignited. Sometimes it's a story my friend told me, sometimes it's reminiscing on something that happened in childhood, sometimes it's the way that the rain looks today. It just depends on the mood.

Is there else you'd like to say to your fans?

I would love, if you're reading this right now, maybe you would actually go take a listen and watch the video and let me know how it makes you feel and if it evokes someone for you. I'm just curious to see how it makes people feel.

Photos courtesy of Lauren Jauregui


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Story by Andrew Nguyen / Photography by Diego Villagra Motta / Styling by Angelina Cantú