With Her Debut Album ‘Dopamine,’ Normani is ‘Finally Stepping Into Who I’ve Been Called to Be’

With Her Debut Album ‘Dopamine,’ Normani is ‘Finally Stepping Into Who I’ve Been Called to Be’

Are you ready for Normani‘s debut album to drop this week? Because she definitely is.

Dopamine is set to arrive this Friday, June 14, via RCA Records. Normani knows her fanbase has been clamoring for her first full-length album for the last few years, which obviously came with “pressure. Everybody not necessarily knowing what is going on within the process or within my personal life. … I’m just grateful that everybody is just really excited still for this album and for this body of work. They’ve waited on me, which I don’t really take for granted,” she tells Billboard‘s Tetris Kelly.

Dopamine is meant to reflect Normani “finally stepping into who I’ve been called to be. There’s been so much adversity and so many roadblocks just in the process of putting this body of work out, you have no idea. I could actually probably write a book,” she claims, adding that “shifting teams… has honestly been one of the greatest blessings.” The former Fifth Harmony member parted ways with her former management company, Brandon Silverstein‘s S10 Entertainment, and signed a new management deal to Brandon Creed and Lydia Asrat through his Good World Management and her Q10 in August 2023.

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Ahead of Dopamine‘s release, Normani has dropped two singles: “1:59,” featuring Gunna, and the hotly-anticipated “Candy Paint.” After she dropped the Cardi B-assisted “Wild Side” single three years ago, “1:59” “bridged the gap from ‘Wild Side’ to where I am now. It feels cohesive, it felt like it made sense but it felt like an evolved version of me,” Normani says in her Billboard News interview, adding that working with Gunna felt “organic”. “We met at a football game, and we just talked about working together. And management was just like, ‘Yo, what about “1:59″?’ ‘Cause we wanted to do a record together, and he loved it. It was just immediate. I remember playing it for him, and then I also have a record on his project.” Gunna also featured Normani on “$$$” from his latest album One of Wun.

As for “Candy Paint,” fans had been eating it up since Normani teased it more than a year ago and then featured a snippet of it during a Bose commercial. “As soon as it comes on, it’s infectious. It doesn’t sound like, to me, anything that’s out right now, but it kind of has that nostalgia,” she explains. “Any record that I’m creating or whether it’s even a visual, I love the early 2000s. Everybody knows that, like late ’90s, early 2000s. I’m heavily influenced and inspired by artists during that time. And even the sonics and the production, so you’re gonna hear that a lot throughout the album.”

Specifically, she named Janet Jackson as one of the “most influential artists” in her life, which she’s made very clear in the past: She performed “The Pleasure Principle” at the 2018 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, when Jackson received the BMI Icon award, and she paid tribute to Jackson’s iconic “Would You Mind” performance during her All For You tour during her “Wild Side” performance at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards. “She’s definitely paved the way, and when I think of the women that I aspire to follow the footsteps of, she’s definitely up there. And she’s had so much impact on me, so sonically, you’ll be able to hear the inspiration,” Normani adds.

Watch Normani’s full Billboard News interview above.

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