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Real Friends (Camila Cabello song)

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"Real Friends"
Camila Cabello featuring Swae Lee - Real Friends (Remix).jpg
Single by Camila Cabello featuring Swae Lee
from the album Camila
Released August 16, 2018 (2018-08-16)
Recorded Electric Feel (West Hollywood, California)
Genre Acoustic-pop[1]
Length 3:42
Camila Cabello singles chronology
"Sangria Wine"
"Real Friends"
Swae Lee singles chronology
"Hopeless Romantic"
"Real Friends"
Alternative cover
Promotional single cover
Promotional single cover

"Real Friends" is a song recorded by Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello for her debut solo studio album, Camila (2018). Written by Cabello, William Walsh, Louis Bell, Brian Lee and its producer, Frank Dukes, it was initially released as a promotional single with "Never Be the Same" on December 7, 2017. "Real Friends" has been described as musically soft, with an acoustic guitar foundation. In its lyrics, Cabello reflects on her life and asks for an honest friendship. The song's minimalist production has elements of reggae, Latin and tropical music. A remixed version of the song featuring American musician Swae Lee was released as the album's third single on August 16, 2018.

"Real Friends" was inspired by the industrial environment of Los Angeles, which annoyed Cabello when she was finishing recording Camila there. The song was believed to be about the singer's relationship with her former girl group, Fifth Harmony, when it was released; Cabello denied this, saying that it did not refer to anyone in particular. The track was well-received by music critics, who praised its soft acoustic sound and Cabello's vocals. "Real Friends" debuted in the top 100 of several countries, including Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Ireland. Although it did not appear on the US Billboard Hot 100, it debuted at number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.

Background and release[edit]

Busy Hollywood street, photographed from above
Cabello wrote "Real Friends" in Los Angeles (Hollywood Boulevard is pictured), reflecting on her life while annoyed by the city's environment.

"Real Friends" was written by Cabello, Frank Dukes, William Walsh, Louis Bell and Brian Lee, while production was handled by Dukes. Cabello was motivated to write the song when she was in Los Angeles finishing her debut solo album, Camila (2018). Dissatisfied with the city and its industrial environment, she found herself lonely and disappointed – prioritising work, without a social life.[2]

"Real Friends", the last song created for the album, was recorded at Electric Feel Recording Studios in West Hollywood by Louis Bell and mixed at MixStar Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia by Serban Ghenea and John Hanes.[3] The song was released a week after its recording with "Never Be the Same" on December 7, 2017, as an instant-gratification track to accompany digital pre-orders of Camila.[4][5][6] A remixed version of the song featuring American musician Swae Lee was released as the album's third single on August 16, 2018.[7][8][9]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Real Friends" is a low-key song characterized by a minimalist production, with an acoustic guitar as the main instrument and a solo handclap as percussion.[10][11] The verses are sung gently, with Cabello using her low register instead of her soprano voice. In the lyrics, she reflects on being surrounded by negative things and people, while asking for an honest friendship.[12][13] In the chorus, Cabello sings: "I'm just lookin' for some real friends / All they ever do is let me down / Every time I let somebody in / Then I find out what they're all about".[14] According to Mike Nied of Idolator, the singer "laments her ability to find true companionship over acoustic strings".[14]

Lasting three minutes and 33 seconds, the song is influenced by tropical, reggae and Latin music.[15][16][17][18] According to sheet music published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing on, "Real Friends" is composed in the key of C minor and set in common time at a moderate tempo of 92 beats per minute. Cabello's voice ranges from a low of B3 to a high of C5, and the music has a Cm7–Fm7–B–E/D chord progression.[19]


Critical response[edit]

"Real Friends" received attention by several publications for its lyrics, which were believed to be about Cabello's relationship with her ex-bandmates in Fifth Harmony.[20][21] Sam Warner of Digital Spy wrote that the song could be a subtle dig at her former girl group.[22] Alex Petridis of The Guardian analyzed the lyrics, speculating that they explored "nights spent feeling isolated while on tour".[23] Cabello denied the speculation in an Access interview, saying that the song did not refer to anyone in particular but was about a bad situation she had experienced.[24]

The recording was well-received by music critics. Elias Leight of Rolling Stone described it as Cabello's sparest song by comparison with her past work.[11] To Variety's staff, "Real Friends" resembled "Love Yourself" (2015) by Canadian singer Justin Bieber. The magazine further described it as a "gentle, sparsely arranged ballad".[25] Jamieson Cox of Pitchfork called "Real Friends" and another acoustic ballad, "All These Years", "stunning" in his review of Camila.[26] Sam Lansky of Time cited the song and the "heartfelt" track, "Consequences", as "pretty" ballads which showcased Cabello's voice.[27]

Chart performance[edit]

"Real Friends" charted in a number of countries, based on digital downloads and streaming figures. It debuted in the top 100 in Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, Slovakia and Australia, whilereaching the top 40 in Portugal, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34] The song did not enter the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, but it debuted at number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100, a component chart listing the top singles which have not yet charted on the Hot 100.[35]


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Camila.[3]


  • Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI) O/b/O Sony ATV Music Publishing (UK) LTD/Maidmetal Limited (PRS) // Milamoon Songs (BMI) // EMI April Music, Inc. (ASCAP)/ O/b/O EMI Music Publishing (PRS) Nyankingmusic (ASCAP) // EMI April Music, Inc./Nyankingmusic/WMMW Publishing (ASCAP) // Warner-Temerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) O/b/O itself and Songs from the Dongs (BMI)



  • Frank Dukes – production, guitar
  • Vinylz – additional production
  • Louis Bell – vocal recording
  • Morning Estrada – additional recording
  • David Kutch – mastering
  • Serbian Ghenea – mixing
  • John Hanes – mixing assistance


Chart (2017–18) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[31] 86
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[36] 20
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[37] 34
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[28] 60
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[38] 59
Denmark (Tracklisten)[33] 32
France (SNEP)[39] 137
Hungary (Single Top 40)[40] 37
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[41] 27
Ireland (IRMA)[34] 39
Malaysia (RIM)[42] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[29] 64
New Zealand Heatseekers (RMNZ)[43] 3
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[44]
Remix version
Portugal (AFP)[32] 32
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[30] 88
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[45] 58
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[46] 83
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[47] 1
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[35] 6


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Gold 40,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Various[a] December 7, 2017 Original [49]
United States August 16, 2018 Remix [9]


  1. ^ Release as a promotional single.


  1. ^ "Album of the Week: Camila Cabello's 'Camila'". Billboard. November 1, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Camila Cabello Talks 'Camila', Demi Lovato & Havana". Zach Sang Show. YouTube. January 18, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b Camila (Media notes). Camila Cabello. Epic Records/Syco Music. 2018. 
  4. ^ Dandridge, Ben (December 7, 2017). "Listen to Camila Cabello's new songs "Never Be The Same" and "Real Friends"". The Fader. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  5. ^ Gore, Sydney (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Releases "Real Friends" & "Never Be The Same"". MTV News. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  6. ^ Hughes, Hilary (December 10, 2017). "Here's Why 'real Friends' Almost Didn't Make It Onto Camila Cabello's Solo Album". MTV News. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Camila Cabello Reveals 'Real Friends' Remix With Swae Lee As Next Single From Album 'Camila'". Big Top 40. August 16, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Camila Cabello: 'ok I'm too excited to wait till Friday. #RealFriends coming out midnight ET.'". August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  9. ^ a b "Real Friends (feat. Swae Lee) - Single". iTunes. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 
  10. ^ Stubblebine, Allison (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Drops Two New Tracks Off Upcoming Debut, 'Never Be The Same' & 'Real Friends'". Billboard. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  11. ^ a b Leight, Elias (December 7, 2017). "Hear Camila Cabello's Desolate New Song 'Real Friends'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  12. ^ Collar, Matt (February 4, 2018). "Camila – Camila Cabello". The Independent. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  13. ^ Hodkinson, Will (January 5, 2018). "Pop Review: Camila Cabello – 'Camila'". The Times. Retrieved January 11, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b Nied, Mike (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Delivers Pop Perfection With "Never Be The Same" & "Real Friends"". Idolator. Retrieved December 21, 2017. 
  15. ^ Schonfeld, Zach (January 11, 2018). "Camila Cabello's Self-titled Album: Release Date, Track List And Everything You Need To Know". Newsweek. Retrieved February 14, 2018. 
  16. ^ Aplaza, Kevin (December 7, 2017). "They're Here: Listen To Camila Cabello's New Song "Real Friends" And Studio Version Of "Never Be The Same"!". Direct Lyrics. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  17. ^ Post, Chantilly (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Is Looking For "Real Friends" On New Single". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Camila Cabello: Real Friends - Music on Google Play". Google Play. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Camila Cabello - "Real Friends" Sheet Music - Download & Print". Sony ATV/Music Publishing. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 
  20. ^ Devote, Noelle (December 8, 2017). "Camila Cabello's Time in Fifth Harmony is the Reason There Aren't Many Collabs on Her Album". Seventenn. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  21. ^ Ginsberg, Gabriella (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Reveals Fifth Harmony Never 'Felt Like Home' On New Track: They 'Let Me Down'". Hollywood Life. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  22. ^ Warner, Sam (December 7, 2017). "Is Camila Cabello's new track 'Real Friends' a sly dig at Fifth Harmony?". Digital Spy. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 
  23. ^ Petridis, Alexis (January 11, 2018). "Camila Cabello: Camila review – Havana hitmaker makes breakups look easy". The Guardian. Retrieved January 11, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Camila Cabello Shuts Down Rumors That 'Real Friends' Is About Fifth Harmony". Access. YouTube. January 12, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018. 
  25. ^ Variety, Staff (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Drops Two New Songs: 'Real Friends' and 'Never Be the Same' (Listen)". Variety. Retrieved February 17, 2018. 
  26. ^ Cox, Jamieson (January 17, 2018). "Camila Cabello: Camila". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  27. ^ Lansky, Sam (January 11, 2018). "Camila Cabello Shines in Her Solo Act on Camila". Time. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  28. ^ a b "Camila Cabello Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  29. ^ a b " – Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  31. ^ a b "ARIA Chart Watch #456". auspOp. January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  32. ^ a b " – Camila Cabello – Real Friends". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Track Top-40 Uge 3, 2018". Hitlisten. Retrieved January 24, 2018. 
  34. ^ a b "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  35. ^ a b "Camila Cabello Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  36. ^ " – Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  37. ^ " – Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  38. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20181 into search. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  39. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles (téléchargement + streaming) – SNEP (Week 3, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved January 22, 2018. 
  40. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  41. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  42. ^ "Top 20 Most Streamed International & Domestic Singles in Malaysia" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Retrieved June 11, 2018. 
  43. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2017. 
  44. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. August 27, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018. 
  45. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 20181 into search. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  46. ^ "Top 100 Canciones – Semana 3: del 12.1.2018 al 18.1.2018" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  47. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker – Vecka 3, 19 januar 2018". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  48. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Camila Cabello – Real Friends". Music Canada. Retrieved April 20, 2018. 
  49. ^ "camila on Instagram: "to my Camilizers.... my debut album is finally ..." Instagram. Retrieved December 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]