Here are some of the highlights from the interview:
Camila Cabello & Fifth Harmony
Normani reiterates that though they [Fifth Harmony] were genuinely very close, they speak infrequently now. There are still friendly, unavoidable run-ins, like her impromptu reunion with Camila Cabello before the 2018 Billboard Music Awards — which turned into an Instagram-ready moment of reconciliation and mutual admiration. Normani no longer pays attention to questions about who hates who, the same way she ignores questions about who will be most successful solo.[irp posts=”4477″ name=”Sam Smith and Normani Confirm ‘Dancing With a Stranger Single”]
“Honestly? I’m in such an amazing place that I don’t feed into any of that,” she says, launching into a lengthy explanation that feels more like self-reassurance than anything else. “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.”
“It was a subconscious thing. 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?”
Her Debut Album
Writing for the album says Normani, has brought her not only a sense of creative control but an opportunity to use her voice in a way she never could before. “There’s so much that I have to get off my chest,” she says. “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?” That’s one reason RCA executive VP A&R Tunji Balogun sees her success as nonnegotiable: The culture needs more Normanis. “She represents so much of what [Keep Cool] stands for,” he says. “Forward-thinking, new young black artists.”
Read the full interview on Billboard.