Normani Kordei is Fifth Harmony’s Beyoncé

Ever since Normani Kordei got a “yes” from all four judges on The X Factor in 2012, she’s basically been Fifth Harmony’s resident Sasha Fierce.

The first time I went to a Fifth Harmony concert, I didn’t know what to expect. I had watched all of these girls compete on The X Factor, and bopped to their tunes in the car while my sister controlled the aux cord, but I had no idea what I was in for.

Five ridiculously hot and talented girls came out on stage, and they all brought something different to the table, popping and locking in different directions, while their fans, most of whom are teenage girls, were losing their shit at every hair-flip.

Especially Normani, who made hundreds of girls scream just by dropping it and slowly picking it back up again. Even though she has described herself as shy, that’s not who Normani Kordei is on stage.

In the four years since The X Factor, Fifth Harmony put two full-length albums out, sold 7.5 million records in just the U.S. alone, and their single “Worth It” from their first album Reflection was certified triple platinum. Meanwhile, their most recent single “Work From Home” is not only their best selling yet, but also the first top 5 single in the U.S. by a girl group in over a decade.

If that isn’t girl power, I don’t know what is.

Normani came to our NYC office and talked about the new album and tour (which everyone should go see BTW, because it really kicks ass).

So “7/27” is Fifth Harmony’s second album after 2015’s Reflection. Were you expecting the album to be such a hit, or were you shocked because there was something that could have been done differently?

I feel like at this point in our career, we’re very happy as to how the album turned out just because we put so much work, blood, sweat, and tears into it. And we have been through so much these past four years that we wouldn’t have done anything differently. We gave it our all, and I think that it’s really cool knowing that you put everything on the table and you can walk away and just be happy with it, despite what response it may get. But I think we got very positive reactions based on the album and everybody really loved it.

You know we have “Work From Home,” from our current album 7/27  which is our biggest hit yet. And we were actually just nominated for a VMA, and in the category with like, Beyoncé and Rihanna, and it’s just really crazy. I never would have thought in a million years that I would actually be able to say that. So I definitely think that this album has given us a lot of opportunity and a lot of positivity, so we are really thankful and blessed.

What’s your fave song from the new record?

Oh that’s hard. To just listen to? Or perform live?

Let’s go with both.

Hmm, probably “No Way.” I would have to say that just because I feel like it’s closest to the style of music that I would want to make. It kind of reminds me of like Jhené Aiko, which I really do love. It’s like R&B but it has a twist of pop. But it’s just super soulful and I think that lyrically it’s really beautiful.

Do you still get nervous going out on stage or is that just a thing of the past because you have performed so many times?

No, I still get nervous. Like, we are on tour right now and for the first show– I don’t remember where it was because we are in so many cities back to back– but I actually was really nervous just because it’s the biggest tour we have ever been on as far as headlining. We have gone on 8 tours already, and I was really nervous and when we performed for award shows, it’s just really nerve-wracking. But I think that nerves are good because it helps me rise to the occasion, and it helps me push harder. I work good under pressure.

So what are the show outfits like for the 7/27 tour because I know the Reflection tour outfits were these cute blue pieces, and I loved them, but what do the new fits look like?

Well the difference is the last time we did have the blue, they were a little more girly I would say and, like glitzy, but this time we have more of a military look with the outfits. Mine is long-sleeve. It kind of reminds me of like Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, which is actually what I had sent to Michael Costello because he created our outfits and he did the Billboards outfits too which were absolutely amazing. He also did my prom dress! I just remembered that. He kills it each time, but I love my outfit and I think that it is representative of who I am, and what I like to bring. It’s very sassy, it’s fitted body-con, so I feel really good in it.

So is that how you would describe your personal style?

Oh very, just very colorful, I love to make a statement. I feel like the little things, like details are the most important because it can kind of change the visual of the whole thing. Yeah, I mean honestly I just feel like a badass in it.

Then tell me about the Billboards performance, because in my opinion, y’all fucking murdered it.

Thank you! It was insane. Just because it’s been a show that all of us have like, watched since we were little girls, and we watched our favorite artists on there, like you would see Beyoncé on there and Britney Spears and everybody that we loved, and everybody that we hear on out iPods, so it’s just really crazy that we got the opportunity to actually perform on the show, and the cool thing is also I think we were the first girl group in…I wanna say 10 years since the Pussycat Dolls performed “When I Grow Up.” Yeah, we were the first girl group to actually get top ten since then, so it’s crazy.

What are you expecting from this new tour because you guys are just kicking off the U.S. leg? Do you think it will be similar to the Reflection Tour?

No, I think for us it’s definitely just a different time. For us how we look at the tours, I think is so much different. I think that we are in a new place and we have definitely grown since last tour, like we have bigger production, we had more creative say this time around, and we really did take the time to try and make it the best that it could possible be. And it’s like, fun for us, like this time around I’m really excited to go on stage each time around, even though it’s the same thing. Tour can get pretty monotonous because you’re doing the exact same thing, but I feel really inspired.

Styling: Wayman + Micah

Photography: Rowan Daly

Style: Normani’s Own

Photography: Bekka Gunther

Watch Normani Kordei’s “Girls Girls Girls” video with Galore TV: Normani Kordei Sings Acapella, Talks Friendship, and Tells Us Her Idols | Galore TV

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