Let’s be fair with Normani
Written by Marz Anderson on March 22, 2022
Normani bares more than skin, as she finds her sound and makes her mark on the industry.
The Wild Side singer is back with a new single Fair and it’s time for the world to take notice.
Normani Kordei has attempted to prove that she’s more than a byproduct of Fox’s The X Factor. Normani, along with four other women, were eliminated from the show, only to return to form girl group Fifth Harmony. The group spawned three successful albums but disbanded in 2018. Many people thought Normani would be the breakout star; some speculated that she would be the next Beyonce. Here is the thing: As a solo act Normani has failed to drop music that charts in the top ten, also one that can remain there. After countless attempts, the Wild Side singer has failed to do what her fellow group member Camila Cabello has managed, even after her previous negative racial commentary online. Tweets where Cabello used the n-word and made negative comments about Black, Asian, and Mexican people.
Normani debuted as a solo act in early 2018 alongside singer Khalid for the Love Simon soundtrack single Love Lies, which charted at number nine and is now five times platinum. She later teamed up with Sam Smith for his single, Dancing with a Stranger, which charted at number seven and is now four times platinum. It would seem Normani had the star power to drop her own solo music and take off. Wrong! Normani has only been able to remain in the spotlight in recent years due these collaborations and her famous friends. This ultimately sounds like Normani is a good person. We could consider it favor, your friends believing in you enough to lend a hand and help push your career. Those acts had gained enough to success to do so.
In late 2018, Normani dropped her first single, Waves, with Atlanta artist 6lack (Black), but it failed to make a splash on the charts. I honestly love the song with its great production, and powerful lyrics. It’s a hit! In my opinion. Two months later, Kordei dropped an EP with Calvin Harris, both tracks featured were an alternative-pop sound which could have pushed away a more urban audience. The subgenre has kind of pushed itself into rap and leaving behind R&B. Even though this pop sound could be compared to Rihanna, the one artist who ventured into using the sound on her 2012 album, Unapologetic and after. That may have been the last time we saw an artist do it so dynamically.
Even without the success of her single and EP, Ariana Grande allowed Normani to be her opening act on the U.S. leg of the Sweetener World Tour, where she performed these songs that did not fair well on the charts. True fans would have known the music, but not enough fans to sell out her own headlining tour.
Fifth Harmony failed to capitalize on a truly diverse catalogue. They were a pop group with persons of color but closely identified with a White audience. While the group may have not been intentional on the direction their music headed, the label was. After their time in the group most of the members began to cater not only to their White audiences but their own racial demographics like Cuban and Latin American, making music that they truly identify with. Good for them! Normani was the only Black artist in the group, performing pop music that doesn’t really market well to a Black audience. So there aren’t enough of us who know her name.
Waves did take home “Best R&B Video” at the 2019 MTV Music Video Awards. However, MTV isn’t BET. Normani lacked having an authentic sound. It could be certain that she is experiencing a strange redevelopment phase as a solo artist, attempting to discover her own sound and while growing her fanbase.
Following the Sweetener World Tour, Normani dropped Motivation which did reach platinum status and was considered a cultural reset. The song sounded like Beyonce’s Check on It and the video even paid homage to the artist, but the song failed to stay in people ears long. Is there no more room for actual singers in pop music? Doja Cat had an impressive year with her viral hit, Say So, which featured airy vocals and a rap verse. The song even got a remix with Nicki Minaj. Doja all things considered is a rapper. So, is there actually room for singers to perform pop music?
Normani would go on to team up with Megan Thee Stallion for another soundtrack single that unfornately didn’t chart. However, once again famous friends and affiliations kept her in the spotlight to build her name in hopes of dropping a single that stuck. In summer of 2021, Normani joined forces with Bodak Yellow rapper Cardi B for the Aaliyah One in a Million sampled Wild Side. A FREAKING HIT! Or at least I thought so. The single only reached 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and even with the alleged star power of Cardi B, the song slowly began to slide down the charts each week.
Normani’s record label, Keep Cool, should team up with young notable song writers and producers to help find her sound. Throw Normani on a few features with male acts that are big in the urban communities, even if we don’t see singer, rapper collaborations as much. The single received honor at the 2021 Soul Train Awards for “Best Dance Performance.” However, that doesn’t reflect on how good the song is, only one could hope that the song would resurge on the charts. It unfortunately did not, but can still be heard on stations like Cleveland’s 107.9.
The climate of music isn’t its best, honestly, and R&B is losing its luster with rap being the number one genre in the US, but I know Normani has what it takes. She must assemble right team, writers, managers, publishers, creative and can find the right sound. There are artist making waves without the major industry push, look at my girl Tinashe!
Normani’s new single Fair speaks to a lost love as the ex-partner has moved to a new relationship. The single cover carries and 90’s R&B asthenic and the beat is reminiscent of something from OVO Sound. The track was penned by Felisha Harvey of Cherish fame and her husband, Harv, who are both nominated for Grammy’s apart of Justin Bieber’s Justified album. Abby Keen along with Normani. Since its release the song has seen at the number two spot overall on iTunes. It can be understood how challenging it can be to represent an artist who hasn’t had a deep R&B sound, but strides are being made. Normani also ensured fans via her Instagram that up-tempo music is still coming, however, lets hope that it’s still R&B. It’s fair to say Normani is deserving of a chart-topping hit rerouting from teen girl group star to urban contemporary icon. Stream Fair on all streaming platforms.