Normani Covers Billboard Magazine & Talks Finding Freedom Outside Fifth Harmony and...

Normani Covers Billboard Magazine & Talks Finding Freedom Outside Fifth Harmony and Repping For Young Black Women

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Normani kicked off her solo career as she teamed up with Khalid for their hit single Love Lies, things started to kick off more as she released music with Calvin Harris, and more most recent single Waves featuring 6LACK. Now that 2019 is upon us Normani has more in store.

Before dropping off her new song “Dancing With A Stranger” with Sam Smith, Normani graced the cover of Billboard magazine. In the new issue, the breakout star speaks about her experiences as a member of Fifth Harmony, representing for brown girls everywhere. 

On Going Solo:

“This was always the goal. For [Fifth Harmony] to all be able to go out, create, pursue our own solo endeavors, which is what we had been trying to pursue since we were babies in diapers. The idea was always to be solo.”

On Self-Belief:

“I’m actually capable and strong enough to do this on my own. Not as Normani in the entity of Fifth Harmony, but as ­someone who is a totally separate and ­different person: Normani.”

On Repping Black Women:

“There’s so much that I have to get off my chest. And there’s a responsibility I have as a Black woman — one of the very few to have the power to kill it. Even in the mainstream, there’s not many of us. Especially ­chocolate girls. Like, being African-American is one thing, but girls [with] my complexion” — she gestures to the back of her hand for ­emphasis — “it’s unheard of. It’s me, and SZA. Who else?”

On Debate About Which Member Is Doing Best:

“Honestly? I’m in such an amazing place that I don’t feed into any of that. I’m way too blessed to even allow myself to focus on that. This is my time. Just like [Cabello] had an amazing run. I am so proud of everything that she’s doing. She’s nominated for a freaking Grammy! Like, that is amazing. And all from what girl group? Fifth Harmony. Like, that shit’s fire. And I know that all of us are more than capable of doing that.” She pauses, then revises the sentiment a bit. “I’ve come to believe that I am that talented. Before, I didn’t wholeheartedly believe that.”

On Hardship & Self-Doubt While In 5H:

“So many sessions, I would cry like I’ve never cried before,” she recalls, citing one for the song “No Way” where she was the only member relegated solely to background vocals.

Moments like that exacerbated a ­feeling she’d had since she was one of just three black students in her predominantly white elementary school. “It was a ­subconscious thing,” she says. “You think, ‘Why am I the least followed in the group?’ Even if you don’t recognize that you’re paying close attention to it, it takes a toll on your confidence. You worry — is it me? Is it because I’m black? Or am I just not talented?”

“They tried to be there for me as best as they could,” says Normani of her ­bandmates, her voice dropping to a level so quiet it’s almost imperceptible. “But I don’t think they had the tools that they needed, because it’s not their experience. I can give them credit for trying to be there for me, but at the same time…” She trails off. “The girls don’t experience things the way I did.”

While Normani’s solo debut is due later in 2019 the singer described the album as  “sultry” and “dominant.” You can catch Normani on tour this spring as she will be opening up on Ariana Grande’s Sweetner tour. Click here to read the full billboard interview

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