Real Friends (Camila Cabello song)

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"Real Friends"
Promotional single by Camila Cabello
from the album Camila
ReleasedDecember 7, 2017 (2017-12-07)
StudioElectric Feel Recording Studio
(West Hollywood, California)
Camila Cabello promotional singles chronology
"Real Friends"
"Million to One"

"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 released as a promotional single with "Never Be the Same" on December 7, 2017. "Real Friends" has 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. The reimagined version of the song featuring American musician Swae Lee was released on August 16, 2018.[2][3][4]

"Real Friends" was inspired by Cabello's dissatisfaction and loneliness from work-focused life in Los Angeles while she was finishing recording Camila. Music critics praised its 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 chart 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.[5]

"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.[6] 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.[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 pop 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 Cm7Fm7BE/D chord progression.[19]


Critical response[edit]

"Real Friends" received media attention for its lyrics, which were speculated to be about Cabello's relationship with her former girl group Fifth Harmony.[20][21][22] Cabello denied that speculation in an Access interview, saying that the song did not refer to anyone in particular but was about her lonely experience in Los Angeles while she was recording the album.[23]

Alex Petridis of The Guardian felt that the lyrics explored "nights spent feeling isolated while on tour".[24] Elias Leight of Rolling Stone called "Real Friends" Cabello's sparest song in comparison with her past work.[11] Variety described it as a "gentle, sparsely arranged ballad" that resembles "Love Yourself" (2015) by Canadian singer Justin Bieber.[25] Jamieson Cox of Pitchfork complimented the softness of the track and Cabello singing "with real delicacy".[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" debuted in the top 100 in Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, Slovakia and Australia, while reaching the top 40 in Portugal, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34] The song never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, but it debuted at number six on the Bubbling Under Hot 100.[35]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Real Friends" – 3:36

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Camila.[6]





Chart performance for "Real Friends"
Chart (2017–2018) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[31] 86
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Flanders)[37] 20
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Wallonia)[38] 34
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[28] 60
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[39] 59
Denmark (Tracklisten)[33] 32
France (SNEP)[40] 137
Hungary (Single Top 40)[41] 37
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[42] 27
Ireland (IRMA)[34] 39
Malaysia (RIM)[43] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[29] 64
New Zealand Heatseekers (RMNZ)[44] 3
Portugal (AFP)[32] 32
Scotland (OCC)[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
Australia (ARIA)[48] Gold 35,000
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[49] Platinum 40,000
Canada (Music Canada)[50] 2× Platinum 160,000
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[51] Gold 45,000
Mexico (AMPROFON)[52] Platinum 60,000
Norway (IFPI Norway)[53] Platinum 60,000
Poland (ZPAV)[54] Gold 10,000
United States (RIAA)[55] Platinum 1,000,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, format(s), label(s) and reference(s)
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Various December 7, 2017[a] [36]


  1. ^ a b Released as a promotional single preceding the album Camila's release.[56]

Swae Lee reimagined version[edit]

"Real Friends"
Single by Camila Cabello featuring Swae Lee
ReleasedAugust 16, 2018 (2018-08-16)
RecordedElectric Feel Recording Studios
(West Hollywood, California)
  • Camila Cabello
  • Adam Feeney
  • Louis Bell
  • Brian Lee
  • Swae Lee[2]
Camila Cabello singles chronology
"Real Friends"
Swae Lee singles chronology
"Hopeless Romantic"
"Real Friends"

On August 16, 2018, a reimagined version of the song featuring American musician and rapper Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd was made available worldwide.[4][2][57][3][58]


Speaking with Rolling Stone, when asked of all the features he did, does he have a favorite, Swae Lee addressed that,

I decided to work with Camila Cabello [on the reimagined version of “Real Friends”] even though that song went under the radar and they didn’t put the right push on it. But I was excited to work with Camila Cabello. I’m a fan of hers. We need to make another one, an original song. I feel like we would make a smash.[59]

— Swae Lee, speech with Rolling Stone about his 2018[59]

Chart performance[edit]

The remix peaked at number 37 in Hungary Single Top 40, number 99 in Ireland and RMNZ's New Zealand Hot Single chart position number 12.[60][34][61]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download – reimagined version[2]
  1. "Real Friends" (featuring Swae Lee) – 3:43


Chart (2018) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Flanders)[62] 4
Hungary (Single Top 40)[60] 37
Ireland (IRMA)[34] 99
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[61] 12


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, format(s), label(s) and reference(s)
Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various August 16, 2018
  • Epic
  • Syco


  1. ^ "Album of the Week: Camila Cabello's 'Camila'". Billboard. November 1, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Real Friends (feat. Swae Lee) - Single by Camila Cabello". US: Epic Records / Syco Music. 2018-08-16 – via iTunes Store.
  3. ^ a b "New Music: Camila Cabello feat. Swae Lee – 'Real Friends'".
  4. ^ a b @Camila_Cabello (August 16, 2018). "ok I'm too excited to wait till Friday. #RealFriends coming out midnight ET" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Cabello, Camila (January 18, 2018). "Camila Cabello Talks 'Camila', Demi Lovato & Havana". YouTube. Interviewed by Zach Sang. Zach Sang Show. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Camila (liner notes). Camila Cabello. US: Epic Records / Syco Music. 2018. p. 8, 10. 88985472222.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
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  8. ^ Gore, Sydney (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Releases "Real Friends" & "Never Be The Same"". MTV News. Archived from the original on September 27, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  9. ^ 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.
  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.
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  19. ^ "Camila Cabello - "Real Friends" Sheet Music - Download & Print". Sony ATV/Music Publishing. 14 December 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2018 – via
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  21. ^ Ginsberg, Gabriella (December 7, 2017). "Camila Cabello Reveals Fifth Harmony Never 'Felt Like Home' On New Track: They 'Let Me Down'". Hollywood Life. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018. 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. ^ Cabello, Camila (January 12, 2018). "Camila Cabello Shuts Down Rumors That 'Real Friends' Is About Fifth Harmony". Access (Interview). Interviewed by Gia Peppers. Retrieved February 18, 2018 – via YouTube.
  24. ^ Petridis, Alexis (January 11, 2018). "Camila Cabello: Camila review – Havana hitmaker makes breakups look easy". The Guardian. Retrieved January 11, 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 Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 November 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. Archived from the original on 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 c d "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. ^ a b "Real Friends". Various: Epic Records / Syco Music. 2017-12-07 – via Spotify.
  37. ^ "Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  38. ^ "Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  39. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 20181 into search. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  40. ^ "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.
  41. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  42. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  43. ^ "Top 20 Most Streamed International & Domestic Singles in Malaysia" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Malaysia. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 12, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  44. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  45. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and 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. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2018 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  49. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  50. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Camila Cabello – Real Friends". Music Canada. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  51. ^ "Danish single certifications – Camila Cabello – Real Friends". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 13 August 2020. Scroll through the page-list below until year 2020 to obtain certification.
  52. ^ "Certificaciones" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Retrieved 28 September 2021. Type Camila Cabello in the box under the ARTISTA column heading and Real Friends in the box under the TÍTULO column heading.
  53. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – Camila Cabello – Real Friends" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  54. ^ "Wyróżnienia – Złote płyty CD - Archiwum - Przyznane w 2019 roku" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  55. ^ "American single certifications – Camila Cabello – Real Friends". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  56. ^ @Camila_Cabello (December 5, 2017). "to my camilizers..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  57. ^ "Camila Cabello Calls on Swae Lee for Her Remix to "Real Friends"". HNHH. 16 August 2018.
  58. ^ "Hear Camila Cabello Revamp 'Real Friends' with Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee". Rolling Stone. 16 August 2018. Archived from the original on 30 May 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  59. ^ a b Leight, Elias (December 22, 2018). "Swae Lee Made Enough Hits in 2018 to Last Him a Lifetime". Rolling Stone.
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External links[edit]