At the 2021 Soul Train Awards on 28 Nov., Normani hinted that her debut album as a solo artist was on the way and that she might even support the release with a tour. "I wanna tell you that summer is gonna be lit," she said. "I'm ready to perform, I miss performing."
On 21 March, Normani premiered her heartbreak song "Fair," the lead single off her upcoming album. "When you go through heartbreak and adversity that often creates the best record," she told "Today." "And for me, this was really just an opportunity to showcase my vulnerability. I think that I've never really been comfortable with being vulnerable in front of people. So for me, this was really a breakthrough and really just shattering the idea of perfection." Since her Fifth Harmony Days, Normani has also released songs like "Love Lies" with Khalid, "Dancing With a Stranger" with Sam Smith, "Diamonds" with Meghan Thee Stallion, "Wild Side" feat. Cardi B, and her 2019 hit "Motivation."
"As a songwriter, I've grown tremendously. With me trusting myself, you'll hear that confidence for sure."
Normani said the new album will be a mashup of genres that serves as an "introduction to who I really am." "I think that's one thing that in the beginning of the process was limiting to me creatively because I'm like, 'OK, is this pop enough? Is this urban enough?' Like, I was really, really putting myself through it and not enjoying and just making good a-- music, which for me is the most important," she said, adding that she was inspired by some of her favourite '90s musicians, such as Brandy, Monica, Toni Braxton, and Destiny's Child.
In an April interview with BET, the singer said the album is a representation of her growth as an artist. "You can expect a range — me being my most vocal and [more] authentic than ever before from start to finish," she said. "There's a range from what you can hear from the records I've already put out along with the next record I'll be putting out — there's so much dimension to me as a person so I really wanted my artistry to reflect that. Sonically, I was able to experiment. I love being in the studio as my playground and production value to me is super important. As a songwriter, I've grown tremendously. With me trusting myself, you'll hear that confidence for sure."
While the album was expected to drop in 2022, the new projected release date is sometime in 2023.