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Normani Really Is The Fucking Future

Written By Sam Murphy on 10/24/2018

It’s been too long since we had a Rihanna, a Beyoncé, a Janet. We’ve had great popstars but we’ve been in need of one that can toss the wig from your head with one single dance move.

Thank God for Normani.

Normani wasn’t the obvious pick for success out of the Fifth Harmony girls. She probably wasn’t even the second. Camila Cabello and Lauren Jauregui looks destined for success early on but Normani has quietly swooped on in.

Perhaps the best thing about Normani, the 22 year-old Texan, is that the best is yet to come. Her debut single Love Lies, a collaboration with Khalid for the Love Simon soundtrack, was an unexpected, sleeper hit. The slow moving R&B cut sounds like few songs on the radio right now but it earned her a top 10 in the US, driven in part by an incredible performance at the Billboard Music Awards where she proved she’s more than just another popstar.

Her two following moves were features in the way of a cool Jessie Reyez rework with Kehlani and a guest spot on Quavo’s SWING, one of the few redeeming moments on QUAVO HUNCHO. Both are good but not remarkable. They feel like a stepping stone to where she needs to be. Never forget Beyoncé gave us Work It Out and Fighting Temptation before Crazy In Love. 

Yesterday, Normani gave us two Calvin Harris collaborations Checklist and Slow Down and while neither are her Crazy In Love they are both effortless, dancehall-flavoured cuts that show us just how slippery she can get with her verses. We were impressed when they dropped but slightly underwhelmed until she took to the stage to perform today.

Normani performed at a Tidal event in Brooklyn and was an instant icon. During Wizkid’s verse on Checklist she handed the microphone and absolutely smashed a 30-second dance break before grabbing the mic again and standing like she could lead an Army into war.

In interviews and on social media her demeanour is gentle and friendly but on-stage something jumps out. She’s got a Rhythm Nation swagger, stands with the poise of Beyoncé and has a touch of Rihanna’s effortlessness. With that said, what she serves is uniquely Normani. In an age of pop that’s becoming increasingly approachable and low-key, Normani is reaching for greatness.

Her true arrival still feels like it’s yet to come but she’s boiling a pot of success and it’s starting to bubble.