The 25-year-old singer opened up about how being in Fifth Harmony was allowed her to “hide.” But now that she’s in the solo spotlight, Normani says she’s been experiencing firsthand all the difficulties with putting out a project — especially her first — all on her own.
“People underestimate how hard it is and how much effort we put into one project, one body of work. And coming out of a girl group, there was a lot that I hard to figure out about myself and fears that I had to deal with head on,” she said. “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, He’s really, really kept me.”
While the “Ciara’s Prayer” leader gave an “Amen” to that, Normani also thanked her for being such a role model in her professional career and personal life. Ciara introduced Normani before she gave a seductive performance of “Wild Side” at the 2021 MTV VMAs, which was a tribute to Janet Jackson’s iconic “Would You Mind” performance from her All For You tour. But Normani reminded Cici in the new interview that the “Goodies” singer left an indelible impact on her, too.
“That really meant a lot to me for you to be able to share that moment,” Normani said about Ciara introducing her performance. “You’re somebody that I’ve looked up to forever. I always felt like representation was so key. And being a little girl, in my grandmother’s living room, learning the ‘1, 2 Step,’ ‘Goodies.’ From literally the earliest memories that I have, you are a part of that and you really helped shape the woman and the artist that I could be. You opened my mind to those possibilities. Black girl magic!”
A teary-eyed Ciara also applauded Normani for “Wild Side,” featuring Cardi B, going No. 1 on urban radio, which she acknowledged as a “really big milestone.” But Ciara was, again, another really big inspiration for the “Motivation” singer, especially when it came to the “Wild Side” music video.
“I have to tell you something: Do you know what I was trying to channel?” she asked Cici. “‘Like a Boy.’ Me and Sean Bankhead, every time we would come into rehearsal, ’cause you know we love to brainstorm; me and Sean literally like to outdo ourselves and just become better and better. And he really pushed me. This was the first time I was in a pocket like that. You know I’m used to being feminine and queenlike. But that was the first time I took something on like that.”
Watch their interview below.