Normani is the cover subject for the January 12th issue of Billboard Magazine. In the issue’s cover story, Billboard hypes the “Love Lies” singer as the next big solo artist of her generation and also as an important role model for young girls of color.
We have snaps of Normani’s cover and several of the best shots from her pictorial in a gallery below.
For much of the cover article, Normani still seems haunted by her experiences with Fifth Harmony, even if she is doing her best to put the past behind her. But the memories clearly still sting. Speaking about her time with the group, she tells Billboard that she always felt overlooked and pushed to the background –
It was like, ‘Hey, I’m also here, and I’m really good at what I do. I work just as hard. I feel like I have to work 10 times harder just to prove to everybody that I also deserve to be here.”
She talks about experiences like the recording of Fifth Harmony’s single, “No Way,” where she for some unexplained reason was the only group member who was limited to providing background vocals.
That experience and others while in Fifth Harmony led Normani to constant feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. “It was a subconscious thing,” she says to Billboard. “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?”
Then of course there was the incident when a group of Camila Cabello’s fans posted racist slurs and death threats on social media after they felt Normani was not complimentary enough about Camila in an interview. While Normani got some support from Camila and the other members of the group when incident happened, she still feels that her bandmates were not really properly equipped to deal with the impact that the situation had on her.
They tried to be there for me as best as they could … 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 … The girls don’t experience things the way I did.”
If there is a silver lining to story, it seems like the years of insecurity and discomfort that Normani quietly endured as a member of the group now serve as fuel for the energy that she is throwing into her solo career. Normani seems determined to make 2019 her break out year.
Tomorrow, Normani will release her latest collaboration, “Dancing with a Stranger,” with UK pop crooner Sam Smith. Later in 2019, she has indicated plans to drop her first solo album. And, of course, she will also be serving as supporting act on Ariana Grande’s upcoming Sweetener tour, which will likely be one of the highest drawing stadium tours of the year.
You can read the rest of Billboard‘s cover article here.
(Image sources: Normani and Billboard Magazine Instagram accounts)