Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei Talks Girl Power and Career Moves

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Do you have any female role models or groups that influence you?
I grew up listening to nothing but girl groups. I was influenced by DC, TLC, The Supremes, En Vogue, Spice Girls, 3LW, SWV, Escape, PCD, and Danity Kane. Early on, I appreciated real music. What these women have done for me may be different for someone else. I feel that they have paved the way for women in the music industry today. In their own ways, they were visionaries and innovators.

Are there any songs that you can’t get out of your head lately?
I just heard Rihanna’s leading single from her upcoming album Anti called “Work,” and it’s constantly lighting my speakers up. The melody is undeniably catchy. I appreciate the harmonies on certain parts, and the way that she delivers in her island accent is something only she could do. I can’t imagine it being anyone else’s. I think that Drake killed his verse, which is the norm. It’s fire! I also really love “Desperado.” Melodically and lyrically, it’s insane in the best way possible.

What’s your favorite song that you’ve recorded with the group?
Although I love the body of work we have done, I would say that my favorite has yet to be released. It takes a lot for me to become attached to a song. If I do, it has to be something that I constantly hear in my head and sing randomly just because it’s that good and catchy. I have a few favorites on this upcoming album, but one song in particular has really grown on me. I can’t say much about this song, but when it’s released, you’ll know. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

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Top: House of CB, Pants: Francesca Marotta

What about favorites to perform on stage?
My favorite song to perform so far is “BO$$.” It allows me to become deeply engaged with our audience. I think that it’s the most fascinating thing, knowing that music has the power to bring people from all walks of life together. I hope after seeing me perform, people take away an experience and feel as though they just left a therapy session. All performing is for me is an opportunity for me to vent and release anything that I’m feeling. I’m at home when I’m on stage.

Do you have any other interests that you’d like to pursue outside of music?
I most definitely do. I was raised always being told to never place all of my eggs in one basket and to utilize all of my talents that I have been blessed with. Solely [dedicating myself] to just music is actually fairly new and has been an adjustment for me these past three years being in the group. I grew up very active in other areas of the arts. My daily schedule would require me to juggle more than two areas throughout the day. Yes, I love music, but I see myself venturing out into other fields within the industry. I’m so inspired by dance, acting, fashion, and modeling, as well as singing. I feel that they all play a huge part in my identity, and if I only catered to one, I wouldn’t be presenting my whole self. Overall, I want to be a successful businesswoman. I want to always be well-rounded and to challenge myself. I have to constantly reinvent myself and evolve.

Along with the other girls in Fifth Harmony, you participated in the #CandiesBoss spring 2016 campaign. What was it like to be a part of a major fashion campaign that will be seen in stores around the world?
It has been an amazing journey since we partnered with Candies. I remember being young and walking through the store seeing Britney Spears, Vanessa Hudgens, and Hayden Panettiere featured as the models. I’m now a Candies girl, along with my bandmates, and it’s been such a fun ride. I think that they give us freedom to be vocal about the clothing and our personal styles. They have something for everyone.

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Necklace: Stylist’s Own: Scot Louie, Dress: Michael Costello

Being in a musical group requires that each person in the group kind of steps back at times, in order to let the group shine as a whole, rather than individually. How has this shaped your experience in the music industry?
Anything that you do involving other people is a sacrifice. You have to realize that not only will you be affected in the process, but so will they. Not only will your opinion be valid, but so will theirs. I’d say that it’s been an adjustment for the five of us, which is natural because we all came into this industry with the intentions of being solo artists. Because it’s worked out differently and we have this huge platform, we all have to step back and remember how we got to this place. It was with each other. Each of our individual successes has been based on not just what we have done as individuals, but what the other four individuals have contributed. Yes, we are all individually the reason for our success, but we made it because of Fifth Harmony and Fifth Harmony consists of five [members], not one. It’s as simple as that. I step back and listen to the others and also allow space for everyone to have a moment. It’s extremely important. Their talent is just as important as mine, and I embrace it and appreciate it. There’s no time to get caught up in just me.

Musically, I committed to four other people, and I have an obligation to them. The way I see it, my blood, sweat, and tears are not just for me; it’s for Fifth Harmony as well. We have been blessed. Most groups have lead singers, but we don’t. Each and every one of us is amazing in our own way. We have five beautiful women who exude talent, and I am blessed and honored to be one of those women. For me, the bottom line is: it’s all about respect and love, and I have both for Fifth Harmony.

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Jumpsuit: TIALS (This Is A Love Song)

Do you feel a stronger sense of “girl power” being in the group? Has this influenced you outside of music, whether in casual day-to-day interactions or in the media?
I definitely do feel a strong sense of girl power by being in the group. We learn from one another every day, and we share our experiences in hopes that it can help the others. We all have different relationships with each other and relate to the other ones in different ways. It’s crazy but fun. I can count on them to have my back and give advice if ever I’m in need.

Have you ever considered pursuing a solo career?
Yes, in the future. In the beginning, we all had intentions of pursuing solo careers. I’m still an individual, as well as the others, meaning we have slightly different visions and aspirations. We have a ton of work [to do] and much more to accomplish as Fifth Harmony before that happens.

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Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei Talks Girl Power and Career Moves: Photographed by Gilles Toucas, Makeup by Rebekah Aladdin, Hair by Tiffany Daugherty for Epiphany Artist Group, Inc., Styled by Scot Louie. Jumpsuit: TIALS (This Is A Love Song), Top: Alexander Wang