Normani and Missy Elliott

Normani Taps Missy Elliott for Solo Debut

With Fifth Harmony on an indefinite hiatus, Normani is launching her solo career with ease. She’s the first signee to Keep Cool/RCA Records and she teamed up with Khalid on their “Love Lies” collaboration. Now, the former 5H star is working on her debut album with a little help from Missy Elliott.

Speaking with Billboard, Normani explained why the collaboration is such a big deal. “I’ll be working with Missy Elliott soon, and the fact that she’s even willing to take a chance on me as a new artist means a lot, considering that she’s the one I’ve looked up to since I was a little girl,” she explained. “I literally remember dancing in my grandmother’s living room to all of Missy Elliott’s records. She’s such an innovator, and there’s no one else out there like her. The fact that she is willing to work with me…I’m like, ‘Who? Me?'”

Missy recently took to Twitter to ask which artists would allow her to direct a music video, and Normani raised her hand.

Her solo work is off to a solid start. Her Khalid duet “Love Lies” peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. “[Khalid] is like my spirit animal,” she added. “We had no idea what we wanted the song to sound like. We had no expectations going in. We knew it was going to be special because of the connection we had as friends, but we didn’t know about the sound. It all happened so organically. It was just one big jam session.”

The future of Fifth Harmony remains uncertain but their break is amicable. Normani remains grateful for their work together. “I feel like if it weren’t for the group, I probably wouldn’t have been prepared or ready mentally — not just as a person, but also as an artist,” she added.

Normani is now eyeing a late 2018 or early 2019 release date for her debut album.