Is Normani being sabotaged by her label and team?
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In August 2019, Normani dropped her debut single “Motivation”, with her music video paying homage to the early 2000s pop culture, and the song went viral.
Videos of fans doing the choreography and creating the looks from the video flooded the internet.
Normani’s name was on everyone’s lips and she was primed as the next pop princess, who was able to dance and sing equally well.
And even though she was the second member from Fifth Harmony to go solo, the video, on top of a stellar showing at the MTV VMAs, set her up to take over the pop space.
But like Avatar Aang, when the world needed her most, she vanished.
While there were more live performances of the song, there were no other singles in sight and no clear roll-out for her debut album.
Despite being on the Savage X Fenty runway and making appearances on shows, it seemed that music was pushed to the side.
Fans were asking what was going on, but received no information, with some even catching a swift block on Twitter for inquiring.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, most artists took a break and spent time at home.
However, for the likes of Doja Cat and Chloe X Halle, it was the year they rose to superstardom.
They were dropping music videos and singles left, right and centre along with doing live performances.
Meanwhile, Normani’s future was still hazy with the occasional post of her in-studio, which only angered fans more since it started to look as if new music was nowhere in sight.
Cue February 2021, and we finally get a teaser of “Wild Side”. Once again, after the initial teaser clip, she went silent until July
In the meantime, history repeated itself as she was the talk of the town for “Wild Side” for her striking visuals and eye-catching choreography – Sean Bankhead is the hardest working choreographer in Hollywood right now – and it had a Cardi B feature.
This song looked set to climb the charts and set Normani up to take the pop princess throne.
However, casual fans were divided on the midtempo R&B song and it mysteriously disappeared from Apple Music for a while. And beyond the initial release weekend, there was not promotion with regards to any live performances and widespread interviews.
More recently, she revealed online that she’s not been booked for this year's MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).
This begs the question, is Normani being sabotaged by her label and team?
The “Dancing With A Stranger singer is signed to Keep Cool, an imprint of RCA Records.
When it comes to managing female artists, RCA has a history of not treating them well, with Tinashe being a famous case in point.
The singer gained popularity with her mixtapes but after signing with them they took away her creative control and, while she had two hits with “2 On” and “All Hands” on Deck from her debut album “Aquarius” in 2014, her sophomore album, “Nightride”, performed so badly that RCA failed to recognise it as a second album.
The project received no promotion or even a lead single, with Tinashe publicly admitting that there were creative differences between her and the label since they didn’t think it was the type of music they wanted her to make.
The two parties had a very public falling out, with the label seemingly trying to turn Tinashe into a Beyoncé clone, then an Aayilah clone on “Joyride”, her third album, with that project also falling flat.
The final nail in the coffin happened in 2018 when she was working on “Nashe”, where she also created an alter-ego, with both those singles from the cancelled project not being well-received.
This comes after years of Tinashe being mismanaged by her label and with her losing the sound that made her popular in the first place.
Since parting ways with the label, she is regaining the exposure she lost with “Songs For You” and “333” being well-received, and her fans happy to have her back to making the music she wants to.
Normani seems to be in a similar predicament with her solo singles under-performing and not getting support from RCA at all.
In sharp contrast, Doja Cat seems to be the darling at the label, with “Planet Her” staying in the Billboard 200 top five since it released in June, and is she is set to take the stage at the VMAs.
Meanwhile, Normani’s appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” was allegedly cancelled; it’s unclear if it was the show or her team.
And the only live performance of “Wild Side” has been one TikTok video of her at a Don Julio event in front of a small crowd.
Additionally, reports have surfaced that Keep Cool founder Tunji Balogun has left to join Def Jam Records as the Chairman and CEO effective January 2022.
And while this might seem like it’s still far off, it makes one wonder whether his attention has shifted, with Normani and the rest of the artists on the label not being high on his priority list
By how things are going, it seems as if things aren’t gelling well behind the scenes with her and the team tasked to work with her.
While Normani has been touted as the next “it girl" on the pop scene, if something isn’t done to make that happen soon, she will be left in the dust come 2022.