Can you still have fun at Gramps if all the drinks are nonalcoholic? For Camila Cabello fans gathered at the popular Wynwood bar this past Sunday afternoon, the answer was a resounding yes.
Cabello, formerly of the hit girl group Fifth Harmony, released her debut album, Camila, this past January 12. The album went straight to number one on the Billboard album charts at the same time her ubiquitous "Havana" sat at the top of the singles chart. She's the first artist to achieve both feats simultaneously on a solo debut since Beyoncé did so in 2003.
Spotify threw Cabello a party to celebrate her runaway success as a solo artist and invited about 300 fans to party with her in Wynwood. The Spotify team transformed Gramps into the made-for-Instagram "Casa Camila," an Old Havana-themed bar with a cafecito station, pastelitos and croquetas, and mocktails such as virgin Cuba Libres, mojitos, and daiquiris. Though she's ruling the charts, the 20-year-old Cuban-American singer-singer is not yet legal drinking age. Though her gathered fan base skewed younger, a wide range of ages was represented.
Before Cabello arrived, fans sang along to music from her debut album, including "Havana," latest single "Never Be the Same," and "Inside Out," in which she sings of growing up on the "south side of Miami." (Cabello was raised in Pinecrest.) Women dressed in elaborate cha-cha outfits and men decked out in out guayaberas guided fans through brief salsa dance lessons, and the Pizza Tropical window became the Dos Hermanas Juice Bar for the day.
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Finally, about an hour and a half after the event began, cell phones shot up when Cabello made her entrance, stopping first to pose for photos in front of a remodeled white-and-teal classic car parked in front of the bar. She jumped excitedly as she greeted fans on the patio and made her way to the "Bodeguita" (Gramps' outdoor bar) for a mock mojito. After she stopped for a drink, fans swarmed her for autographs. But the scene was more like controlled chaos, with fans waiting patiently and respecting her personal space. Even the preteens kept cool heads, and if there were bodyguards around, they maintained a low profile.
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Unfortunately, Cabello did not perform, but select fans were chosen for an onstage meet-and-greet courtesy of Spotify Fans First, which rewards fans with perks and events featuring their favorite artists. She took her time to talk to fans, posed for selfies and professional photos, and signed more autographs.
Tamires Paiva, a 23-year-old Brazilian woman, traveled from Delray Beach to meet Cabello, whom she's followed since the star's stint on The X Factor in 2012. "I can't stop crying," she said shortly after her meeting with Cabello. The singer recognized Paiva's Brazilian soccer tee and called her "gostosa," which means "hot woman" in Portuguese. "She knew!" Paiva laughed through tears.
Jessica Gutierrez-Castillo, also 23, made the trek to Coral Springs for Cabello's appearance at music and movie store FYE earlier that morning. She said it was difficult to get close to the singer there, but she was able to meet Cabello at the Gramps event. She says she wasn't necessarily a fan during Cabello's Fifth Harmony era, but things changed when Gutierrez-Castillo came across an interview in which Cabello spoke of her Cuban and Miami roots. "The way that she presented herself in that interview, I related to her so much," Gutierrez-Castillo said. "When you look at our backgrounds, we are from immigrant parents. It's humbling... 'Havana' hit really close to home — seeing someone from my hometown be so successful and risk so much as a soloist. Her album, for me, has been a symbol of resilience."