Normani is riding high following the release of “Wild Side,” the slick sizzler from her upcoming debut album. In 2012, the then-teen began performing as a member of girl group Fifth Harmony and once they announced an indefinite hiatus 6 years later, Normani experimented outside of the group. After a number of collaborations (“Love Lies,” “Waves,” a joint EP with Calvin Harris, and “Diamonds” featuring Megan Thee Stallion) and her debut solo song, (“Motivation”), she’s ready to show what she’s got.
“Wild Side” features Cardi B and interpolates Timbaland’s sputtering drums from Aaliyah’s “One in a Million,” pairing them with bellowing bass. With the help of onomatopoeias (“doot doot doot” has been stuck in my head for weeks!) and honeyed vocal layers, Normani, 25, encourages her lover to embrace carnality because just thinking about it won’t do. The video highlights how choreography can elevate what’s already impressive, quite literally dancing the line between modern and intentionally nostalgic.
We caught up with the singer to discuss summer, skincare and of course, her new music. See our conversation below.
ESSENCE: Is there a particular music genre you subscribe to as an artist?
Normani: I really appreciate all genres across the board. I have been dancing my whole life and had been introduced to all types of music. I really am a chameleon. I love artists from all of the 90s/2000s to Imogen Heap and Tracy Chapman, just to name a couple that most people might be surprised to know that I admire.
ESSENCE: Can you tell us a bit about your work with Tequila Don Julio?
Normani: Tequila Don Julio has always been a part of how I celebrate, and the release of my new single was no different. I love that Tequila Don Julio is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, which is the most important part of any celebration. The new limited edition Tequila Don Julio Primavera has such a smooth, sophisticated and silky taste, there was no better way to celebrate the drop of my new single than with the newest drop from my favorite tequila brand. Plus, that launch party was super fun.
ESSENCE: Can you share the backstory on “Wild Side” and how did the creative process differed from “Motivation?”
Normani: I really just believed in this record and when I’m passionate about something it’s undeniable. I honestly allowed the music take the lead and inspire me. This project seriously took an army to achieve. I really wanted to be intentional and focus on detail in every possible way. We actually had proper time to prepare the right way which makes all the difference for me. This is my best work to date by far visually.
ESSENCE: Are there any new beauty techniques you’re trying?
Normani: I am incredibly into skincare because of my own personal adversities with my skin. I am a believer in medicine but also a champion in holistic healing. I have been working with my nutritionist to guarantee results with longevity. I wake up and drink warm lemon water with ginger and turmeric for inflammation every morning. I feel good at the top of my day knowing that I’m nourishing my body and it just taste great to me.
ESSENCE: What has your summer entailed?
Normani: I have been remaining creative this summer in the studio finally preparing for the release of my debut album. I am eager to tour and put more visuals out for my fans. This summer has been music, music and more music lol.
Watch “Wild Side” below.