Normani “Motivation”

Though she’s a Beyoncé fan through and through, Normani has said that the Destiny’s Child member she relates to most is Kelly Rowland. She says she admires Rowland’s grace and her 2011 hit “Motivation,” but perhaps there’s a more obvious reason: Compared to the skyrocketing success of fellow former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, Normani’s solo career has developed more slowly. On “Motivation,” the 23-year-old’s first single all by herself, she steps out with sparkle and command, making the case that Fifth Harmony doesn’t have just one all-star alum.
She’s recorded lovelorn duets with Sam Smith, Khalid, and 6LACK, but on “Motivation,” Normani finally has some fun. “Why would we ever do something instead of/Fallin’ into the bed right now?” she teases, her voice glowing with the excitement of a relationship in its honeymoon stages. The sultry, syncopated vocal lines bear the imprint of co-writer Ariana Grande, and as Normani sings over a booty-bouncing hip-hop groove complete with trumpet breakdown, she seems to draw on both “Check On It”-era Beyoncé and the brassy sounds of Homecoming.
But the “Motivation” video will dispel any doubts about the strength of Normani’s own star power. An homage to turn-of-the-millennium dance clips by the likes of Destiny’s Child, J. Lo, Ciara, and Britney Spears, it sees the former gymnast and “Dancing With the Stars” finalist powering through supercharged choreo with finesse, pulling off intricate hip-hop moves as easily as she handles a partner dance. Her final display of talent arrives when she executes a complicated series of flips on the basketball court. She’s not walking in anyone’s shadow now.

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