Normani Details Why Debut Album Took This Long: “You Don’t Even Know The Half Of It”

Now that Normani has revealed the release date for her highly anticipated debut album, Dopamine, the singer is giving fans the full backstory on why it’s taken so long.

She first broke free from her Fifth Harmony shackles in 2019 with her debut solo single, “Motivation.” The 27-year-old admittedly hated the record at first, explaining to The Cut, “I didn’t feel like it represented me and I’d already known how that felt. But the label was like, ‘Sorry, it’s coming out.’” It wasn’t until “Wild Side,” her 2021 collaboration with Cardi B, where she felt she’d found the sound to power Dopamine.

“I could’ve put three albums out by now [since then]. I’m not oblivious to that,” Normani quipped. “But I felt like I owed it to myself to be able to take my time, and reinvent, and be experimental.” 

For the singer, she shared how “Wild Side” was the first song she made after her parents’ cancer diagnoses and was “the direct result” of her mother persuading her to not let the hiatus linger for much longer. “That time shifted the way I view and navigate life. I don’t fear things the way that I used to,” said Normani.

Her lengthy hiatus stemmed from her mother being diagnosed with breast cancer after 19 years in remission and her father discovering he had prostate cancer. When dealing with that and fans’ relentless demands about new music, she tearfully told The Cut, “You don’t even know the half of it. I was just like, ‘F**k all of this.’”

However, her mom promised “to be here the day [she] put that body of work out” and that was the motivation—no pun intended—she needed to finish the album.

VIBE has heard a solid portion of the album and can confirm that it’s worth the wait. Normani teased one feature that may be surprising to her fans: James Blake, but of that collab, she declared, “That’s the point — I wanted to be able to flex my taste.”

Dopamine will be available on June 14. The lead single, “1:59,” with Gunna is out now.