Normani is breaking out on her own in a big way.
The former Fifth Harmony singer is on the new cover of Allure, and in the issue she opens up about her life and career ahead of her still-untitled upcoming debut solo album.
“A lot of breakthroughs are happening these days,” the 25-year-old says.
“I grew up feeling beautiful. My mom, my dad, my grandmother instilled in me at a very early age that I was beautiful,” she says. “The fact that my skin was chocolate was a beautiful thing. My kinky hair was beautiful. I don’t need to straighten it. I can rock my braids to my all-white school.”
Unfortunately, despite the support at home, she had a much different experience at school.
“I did get bullied a lot. Not feeling like I had that representation at school was very hard,” she recalls, adding that after switching schools multiple times, her parents eventually decided on homeschooling.
“I’ve always felt like the underdog in anything that I’ve ever done,” she says.
Talking about breaking out as a solo artist, Normani is happy she is finally getting the spotlight.
“I didn’t get to really sing in the group. I felt like I was overlooked,” she says. “That idea has been projected on me. Like, ‘This is your place.’
“My purpose in this work that I do is for other people that feel like they have Black women figured out. There’s so many layers to us, there’s so many textures, there’s so much that we’re capable of doing. Yes, I can throw a**. But I can also give you a proper eight-count, and I can do ballet, and I can do contemporary dance. If I want to sing this pop ballad, then you’re going to love it! While you see my Black face!”
While details of her album are still forthcoming, Normani turned a lot of heads with the album’s lead single “Wild Side”, released in July, featuring Cardi B.
“A lot of people aren’t expecting this [song] and that’s why I wanted to put it out first,” she says, recalling the song’s creation process with co-writer Starrah. “I went to [Starrah] and said, ‘I want something really sexy.’ I just felt this sense of me coming into my own. I feel like a woman now.
“That’s the record I need to also feel like a bad b***h.”