The news came during Ciara’s stint guest-hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday (December 30), when Normani opened up about the challenges she’s faced in making a name for herself outside of Fifth Harmony. “Coming out of a girl group,” she explained, “there was a lot that I had to figure out about myself and fears that I had to deal with head-on.
“I was always so safe being in a girl group. I remember my mom when I was little, she was like, ‘Why do you want to be in a girl group so bad? Is it so you can hide?’ And I think that that was pretty much the answer. But God had other plans for me, and by his faithfulness and his grace… Oh, he’s really, really kept me. Because what we do is not easy, guys, I’m telling you.”
The singer noted that she’s found working on her solo album much harder than it was to mint a Fifth Harmony record, telling Ciara: “I think people really underestimate how hard it is and how much effort we put into one project, one body of work.”
She also touched on the way confidence plays a big role in any release. “When you give your baby out to the world – which is, y’know, our music – that’s the deepest part of me,” she said, “[and] you give people the opportunity to kind of pick it apart and have an opinion on it; but I believe in what I’m doing now, for sure.”
Normani also gushed about how Ciara shaped her own artistry, calling the ‘Goodies’ singer-songwriter “somebody that [she’s] looked up to forever”.
Noting that she “always felt like representation was so key”, she recalled learning the dance to ‘1, 2 Step’ in her grandmother’s living room as a child, musing: “From literally the earliest memories that I have, you were a part of that and you really helped shape the artist and the woman that I felt like could be. You opened my mind to those possibilities. Black girl magic!”
Take a look at Normani’s interview with Ciara below:
Though Normani is yet to lock in a release date for her debut solo album, she teased earlier this month that it’s slated for the summer of 2022. “I wanna tell you that summer is gonna be lit,” she told Entertainment Tonight at the 2021 Soul Train Awards. “Yes, the summer’s gonna be lit.”
When asked about what stage of the creative process she was at, Normani replied: “We’re doing everything, we’re doing it all. I’m ready to perform, I miss performing.”
Last year, Normani worked on ‘Diamonds’, a collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion released to coincide with the DC film Birds Of Prey. In a review of the single, NME‘s Kyann Sian-Williams called ‘Diamonds’ an “exuberant female power anthem that perfectly balances sass and intimidating cuteness”.
More recently, Normani teased a new song sampling Aaliyah’s 1996 track ‘One In A Million’, linked up with Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar for their collaborative single ‘Family Ties’, and joined Cardi B for the track ‘Wild Side’.