By Anthony Belinfante

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Normani is in a lane of her own in the world of pop music. The former Fifth Harmony singer continues to prove that she is ahead of her peers and is ready to become the next princess of pop. 

Since releasing her first solo single “Motivation” in August, accompanied by a music video that currently has 53 million views on Youtube, it was evident that Normani was meant for stardom. With only a handful of songs under her belt and no album, Normani has accumulated more than 1.3 billion streams on Spotify since starting her solo career. The Motivation singer also has two number one singles at pop radio, won a VMA this year for her song “Waves” with 6LACK and has gained praise from artists such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. 

Not long after Camila Cabello left Fifth Harmony to begin her solo career, the quintet turned quartet released one final album before announcing their plans for an indefinite hiatus to pursue solo careers in March of 2018. 

A month prior to the news of the band’s separation, Normani had released “Love Lies” with singer Khalid for the “Love, Simon” soundtrack. Debuting at number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song introduced the world to Normani as a solo artist.

“Love Lies” began to find success after the pair performed at the Billboard Music Awards in May. Normani captivated the stage the moment her silhouette first appeared, outshining her duet partner as she twirled across the stage, accompanied by two backup dancers. If the world didn’t know Normani was a star, they knew after that night. “Love Lies” went on to peak at number nine on Billboard and went number one at pop radio, making Normani and Khalid the first black artists to do so since Flo Rida’s “My House” in 2016. 

Finishing the year by releasing collaborations with the likes of Calvin Harris, Jessie Reyez and Quavo, each song highlighted Normani’s raspy vocals and adaptability to different genres of music. There is no point of putting Normani in a box when it comes to music style because she continues to prove herself as the ultimate music connoisseur. 

Before releasing her Top 40 hit “Motivation,” Normani joined forces with Sam Smith on the sultry track “Dancing With a Stranger.” Once again, Normani found herself at the top of the charts, peaking at number seven on Billboard, and number one at pop radio.

Thanks to the success of Love Lies, Dancing With a Stranger and now Motivation, Normani has not left the Billboard Hot 100 since debuting as a solo artist in 2018. This year also saw Normani open for Ariana Grande, who co-wrote Motivation, on her Sweetener World Tour. Every night, a new video of Normani seemed to go viral. From her Beyonce-esque dance breaks to her intimate Rihanna medley, all eyes were on Normani.

From the Sweetener World Tour to the VMA stage, Normani is bringing back what it means to be a pop star. Pop stars don’t dance anymore. Today, artists just sing at a mic stand with a pretty background behind them. If we’re lucky, they’ll walk across the stage and interact with the audience. The era of performers was seemingly dead until Normani stepped onto the scene. 

Taking inspiration from artists like Britney Spears, Janet Jackson and Jennifer Lopez, Normani has made award shows, and the music scene in general, interesting again. Normani is cementing herself as a pop culture breakout and a major force to be reckoned with. When it came to Fifth Harmony, the “Beyonce” of the group was believed to be Havana singer Camila Cabello, when it was, in fact, Normani all along. 

Whether you’ve followed Normani from her days on The X Factor with Fifth Harmony or recently discovered her as a solo artist, it is exciting to watch her gain success and watch her shine all by herself. She is an artist that the pop scene has desperately needed. Seeing an artist that looks like her make a name for herself in pop music is important not only for her, but also for other artists that look like her as well.

There aren’t many dark-skinned artists in pop, as black artists are often categorized as hip hop or RnB, no matter what their music sounds like. But Normani, along with artists like Lizzo and Lil Nas X, are breaking that barrier. 

Currently working on her debut album and expected to be released in 2020, Normani has already proved that she is already a chart topper and a hit maker. The sky’s the limit for Normani, as she continues to raise the raise the bar and set a new standard for what it means to be a pop star. As we enter a new decade, get ready to see a lot of Normani because she is here to stay, and she has a lot to offer.

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