Normani Teases New Album, Collaborations With Chlöe Bailey and Lil Nas X Ahead of Dominating Summer
Normani steps out of the “Wild Side” and onto the baseball field with her new partnership deal with Cracker Jack, which introduces a new product called Cracker Jill.
The “Motivation” singer partnered with Cracker Jack to create a new music video reimagining the baseball classic Take Me Out to the Ballgame by updating the lyrics to include Cracker Jill and celebrating the tenacity and grit of women and girls in sports.
Representation matters now more than ever before, and with more people who look like you doing it first, Cracker Jill comes to life through five different female representations on a series of special-edition bags that will be available at ballparks across the country and at CrackerJill.com, while supplies last.
The “Fair” songstress chatted with BET.com about the partnership, how it feels to be the face of the youth, details about the debut solo album, and who she would love to collaborate with in the future.
BET.com: We all know about Cracker Jack and its legacy. You’re partnering up with Cracker Jack to introduce Cracker Jill. Let us know a little bit about what that is and how did that come about?
Normani: Cracker Jill is Cracker Jack reimagined and I was excited when this partnership came about because I feel like representation is key. Looking at the design on the packaging, every girl is able to see themselves with Cracker Jill. Coming from a sports background as a competitive dancer and gymnast, it was the perfect opportunity to encourage young girls to be boisterous, fierce, and sexy. I had insecurity about being super ripped and muscular at a young age but my parents encouraged me that I was beautiful. Anything they can do, we can do better.
BET.com: Can you let us know how impactful it was for you to be a part of this collaboration which is promoting change in such a huge way.
Normani: It’s an honor. I really fangirled out when the opportunity came and fangirled, even more, when we shot the music video. I felt so liberated and inspired as well. To be a part of a monumental moment in the transition from Cracker Jack to Cracker Jill and the team trusting me with this message — it was a perfect collaboration.
BET.com: How was it to film the music video, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and recreate a classic song in sports while adding your own “Wild Side” twist to it?
Normani: I was super intentional but I also had fun with it. I was really grateful the brand trusted me to do what I wanted to do which says a lot about their belief in me with such a record that historically has meant a lot. I just really tried my best to keep it classic while also adding my Normani flare to it. I feel like I’m very present with keeping the integrity and authenticity of what the record has always been and what people have loved for over many years.
BET.com: As one of the faces for young girls and women to look up to on- and offline, what runs through your mind when you read/see the outpouring of love and support in your mentions?
Normani: I’m reminded why I do what I do. It only takes one negative comment sometimes and it’s easy to pay attention to the negative comments instead of the positive. I’m really a vessel and I ask God to take me back to why I fell in love with what I do. I’ve come so far — I’ve always dreamt of being in this position but I never knew how I would get here. I always felt overlooked, not seen, and that my abilities weren't valid or enough. The fact that people ride for me and the project isn’t out yet, it’s going to be well worth the wait. I’m just blessed and grateful people love me for me and what I have to offer — believing in me the way that I do.
BET.com: How do you continue to remain positive, uplifted, and motivated with your career amidst all these changes happening in the industry?
Normani: I keep my family around and go to Church as often as I can with my conversations with God — that keeps me centered and grounded. It’s easy to lose your footing and feel like you’re floating — I’m really trying to practice being appreciative of the people who appreciate me. I constantly remind myself that this is for me and it starts with me. I’m intentional about my choices but overly critical. It can be a blessing but also crippling for sure. I need to allow myself to grow.
BET.com: Recently, Chlöe Bailey shared that she would love to collaborate with you. Can we expect a Chlöe x Normani collaboration soon?
Normani: Aww, I would love that. She’s so incredibly talented and it’s not every day that Black women who are built like us, look like us, and have a complexion like ours collaborate together. They often put women against each other but there’s so much room for everyone else. I think it would be powerful, the looks would be giving, and the vocals would be giving.
BET.com: What are some non-spoiler surprises fans and listeners can expect on your upcoming album?
Normani: You can expect a range — me being my most vocal and authentic than ever before from start to finish. 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.
BET.com: With the Grammys in the rearview, are there any dream team guest features you’d want to have sometime soon?
Normani: I would love to collaborate with Lil Nas X, that’s my boo. That would go off and it would only be right for the culture. It doesn’t make sense if we didn’t do anything. Doja Cat I’m a fan of and she’s an incredible talent. And of course, Rihanna and Beyoncé.
BET.com: Is there a possibility of a solo tour coming up? Are you joining any tours this summer?
Normani: A solo tour [is happening] and that’s all I’m gonna say [laughs].
While fans wait for the album to drop and those presale tickets to drop for the tour, you can purchase the new Cracker Jill snacks at CrackerJill.com while supplies last.
*This interview has been edited for length and clarity
Ty Cole is a New York-based entertainment reporter and writer for BET.com who covers pop culture, music, and lifestyle. Follow his latest musings on Twitter @IamTyCole.