Every so often, an all-girl group comes along that blows up the music scene. From TLC to Destiny’s Child, these groups redefine girl power with their confidence, talent, and powerful performances. For the next generation, this source of influence and inspiration can be found in the ultra-popular girl group Fifth Harmony. Although the group formed four years ago during The X-Factor (U.S.), for Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei, the success still hasn’t sunk in. “Knowing that my dream is no longer a dream, but my reality, constantly blows my mind,” she said.
While Kordei initially strived for a solo music career, like her fellow group members, the formation of the group has resulted in great success. After finishing third place on the X-Factor, Fifth Harmony has gone on to produce hit singles like “Miss Movin’ On,” “BO$$,” and “Worth It.” The group’s songs are earworms, full of catchy lyrics and thumping beats. Their dance moves are on point, perfectly timed and choreographed for the music’s rhythm.
Even after performing for America’s First Family, Kordei isn’t letting the group’s accomplishments go to her head. While Fifth Harmony has amassed plenty of awards, such as a 2014 MTV Video Award for Artist to Watch and a 2014 Teen Choice Award for Choice Female Music Group, Kordei still can’t believe her luck. “I will forever be humble and grateful for this gift,” she says, remarking on her launch into stardom. “I can never get used to the idea of being nominated.” With big dreams and a bright future in the music industry and beyond, we’re excited to see what Kordei will do next.
Cliché: As you’ve demonstrated with Fifth Harmony, you’re both an incredible singer and dancer. Which was your first passion? How’d you get into each?
Normani Kordei: I have been singing and dancing for as long as I can remember. I would sit on my parents’ bedroom floor, looking up at the television watching 106 & Park and seeing Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” Alicia Key’s “You Don’t Know My Name,” and Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” music videos. I could never keep still, not even for one minute. I couldn’t help but prance around the house. The kitchen was my own personal stage because it was easiest to do pirouettes in and gave me the space I needed to be creative.
I asked my family to enroll me in dance classes at the age of 3. My pre-school had an after school program that specialized in dance, so my mom, dad, and grandmother immediately enrolled me. I remember going to school and being excited for the day to end. All I could think about was changing into my ballet slippers, tap shoes, and most importantly, my pink tutu. My first love was dance, and through dance I learned to appreciate different genres of music. My love for music, along with a little push from my parents, led me to singing.
I think it would surprise a lot of people to realize that, while you’ve received multiple gold and platinum records, you’re only 19! Did you ever envision yourself where you are now? Where did you think you’d have been at your age?
I wake up every morning thinking about how drastically my lifestyle has changed and all that I have accomplished thus far. I am 19 years of age, and I never thought that I would have ever lived through as much as I have, being so young. I have been introduced to many different opportunities and situations that people much older [than me] typically handle. I can say that I’m a lot more prepared for my adult life now than I would have been if I never had this opportunity.
I honestly thought that in this moment in life, I would be in college, not that far away from home, of course. I thought I would still be dreaming of what has now become my reality. I just can’t say it enough: I’m so blessed.
Many of Fifth Harmony’s songs like “BO$$” and “Worth It” boast a confident attitude and encourage women to know their value. Is this a belief you’ve always held, or was it one that developed as you got older?
I definitely think that it’s been something I had to grow into. I saw confidence in others but lacked it in myself. I have always been my worst critic, and I’ve overanalyzed everything. I was afraid of trying things, knowing that there was a possibility of me failing. Being fully confident and comfortable with showing others who I truly am is something that I have always wanted. I have grown so much in the past few years and have become fearless, confident, lionhearted, valiant, and powerful in my own right. In this business, you’re constantly under a microscope and always being judged by people who don’t really know you. I’ve learned to disregard what others think and say and simply carry on with being me. I know my heart, and I’m my own best friend. I am surrounded by people who show me that love has no end.
I think that it is very important to know that you’re important and to trust yourself. Women should be empowered and wholeheartedly know their worth. We have such a significant role in this story being written.
In a time when it’s so easy to compare yourself to others on social media, how do you stay confident? What advice could you give our readers?
I definitely feel that it’s unrealistic to not compare yourself, especially with social media existing in this day and age. Since this tool was created, it has been both positive and negative. I feel like a lot of people forget that we live in a real world, not just a social media world. I absolutely know because my occupation requires me to keep up with my socials on a daily basis. I see the way people talk to each other, some with love and others with such disrespect. It seems to be a competition of who has the most followers or who can become a social media celebrity. The whole thing is actually insane, but I don’t feel like the majority of our generation use it in a positive light. Yes, it’s a way to express yourself, but you also have to remember that when you do, it’s completely valid for others to do the same. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat were all created to help you build a space that you feel represents you so [that] others can get to know you. It is also super helpful in keeping up with the current events that are actually going on in the world that we live in. I think that it’s all about being smart in the way we use these outlets. I go on social media every day, and at times, I enjoy it, and other times, I wish it never existed. It’s either full of love or it’s full of violence and hatred.
I find it easy to compare yourself to others. I believe that when this happens, it’s a priority to step back and remember that everyone is human just like you are. You can feel so unappreciated, unworthy, and insecure because of someone else while that same person is feeling that way about themselves. This has been an ongoing cycle. There’s something my mother would always remind me of: there will be some who will love and adore you to no end, and then there will be some who will dislike you with a passion; but never forget that God has blessed you with the gift of life, and in this life, you have a purpose. Never allow anyone to deter you from fulfilling that purpose.