Normani Shares How Her Parents' Cancer Battles Affected Album Delays

Everything to Know About Normanis Long Awaited Debut Album Dopamine

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Normani’s album has been a long time in the making — six years, in fact.

The former Fifth Harmony member first tweeted that she had decided on her album title in 2018, the same year that she and the rest of the group — Ally Brooke, Lauren Jauregui and Dinah Jane — went their separate ways. (Camila Cabello had exited the group in 2016.) She also kicked off her career as a solo artist that year with “Love Lies,” a single featuring Khalid.

In the years since, Normani teamed with Sam Smith for “Dancing With a Stranger,” threw it back to ’90s R&B with “Motivation,” opened for Ariana Grande on the Sweetener World Tour and linked up with Megan Thee Stallion for “Diamonds” from the Birds of Prey soundtrack.

The one thing she didn’t do during that time? Release the album.

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Normani left fans hanging until February 21, 2024. That was the day she finally shared the project title, Dopamine, along with the artwork. Two months later, Normani shared the album’s first single, “1:59,” featuring Gunna.

Normani told Elle in an April 2024 interview that the six-year delay was due to her not wanting to release something she didn’t believe in 100 percent. Her experience as part of Fifth Harmony left a bad taste in her mouth because she felt the band didn’t have “a real opinion” on their career path until the end, and often “put out music and records that I don’t wholeheartedly believe in.” She didn’t want to repeat that as a solo artist.

As fans prepare for Normani to finally drop her album, scroll down for a complete timeline of all the delays and false starts:

June 2018

Normani announced she had settled on a title for her debut LP. ”I have my album title, y’all,” she wrote in the now-infamous tweet.

October 2018

Normani told Billboard she had been in the studio “for the last few months just really starting from the ground up.” She said she’d been busy cowriting and coproducing music alongside “a lot of amazing songwriters and producers that I’ve [wanted] to work with for such a long time now.” During that chat, she teased that “some records [are] coming out very soon” but noted they might not be part of her album.

October 2020

Two years after Normani announced she had an album title, she told Teen Vogue that she was getting “close” to finishing the project. “When God tells me that it’s done, then it’ll be done. I’ll feel it, you know?” she said in the interview. “I really want to create a body of work that’s going to count, you know? I’m never going to get my first album back.”

December 2021

Normani appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and told guest host Ciara that the album was “almost done.” She also asked fans to be more patient with her. “People underestimate how hard it is and how much effort we put into one project, one body of work,” she said.

Normani went on to explain that when she was in Fifth Harmony, much of the work was divided up. As a solo artist, there was “a lot that I had to figure out about myself and fears that I had to deal with head-on.”

June 2022

Normani told Bustle that the album’s release date was “summer, for sure.” During the chat, she said she’s been “very critical” of herself as she has grown into a solo artist. “I feel like people don’t take [artist development] seriously,” she noted. “They throw artists onstage completely unprepared. And for me, that mentality was very important.” She added that her album is “definitely going to be worth the wait.”

August 2023

Normani signed with a new management team. Rolling Stone reported that Normani’s new team was “extremely excited to embark on this new chapter and partnership,” while hinting that she would drop music soon.

February 2024

Normani tweeted the name of her album along with the artwork, which depicted her riding a black rocket while scantily clad.

April 2024

Normani dropped the first single from Dopamine, titled “1:59,” and confirmed the full album would debut on June 14, 2024.

In an interview with Elle magazine, Normani shared that her album wasn’t called Dopamine when she made her infamous tweet in 2018. “That Normani Shares How Her Parents' Cancer Battles Affected Album Delays didn’t see the light of day,” she said. “At one point, it was 1906, because that was the address of my grandmother’s house that I was raised in. Then it evolved and turned into Butterfly Effect. That was a whole thing, but it didn’t stand the test of time.”

She ultimately picked Dopamine as a title because it represents “the highs and the lows I’ve endured. … I really wanted to have a title that felt like it definitely encompassed everything that I feel I’ve been through in my journey to get to the point that I’m in right now.”

She also defended the delay. “I think that there’s a false narrative that because of how long this process has taken, that means I don’t care, or that means I’m more interested in doing other things than putting this body of work out,” she added. “Nobody wants this project to come out more than me. I think that at the end of the day, if I stand behind this wholeheartedly, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks.”

May 2024

A month after dropping “1:59,” Normani released the second single off of Dopamine, titled “Candy Paint,” on May 31. Followers might recognize the track since “Candy Paint” was leaked online almost two years ago.

“The fans are still demanding that song, so I’m like, sometimes you just got to give the people what they want,’” Normani told Entertainment Weekly of the release. “I listened to it last night in the studio and it still sounds really good. I feel like that every time I play it. So, I’m just like, I guess don’t try to fix what’s not broken.”

Normani also opened up about why, exactly, Dopamine has taken so long to hit shelves and streamers everywhere. “I feel like it’s just been a combination of changing teams and people coming and going and also just real life happening that I couldn’t have predicted, and just doing my best to navigate that,” she said.

In 2020, Normani’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“Both my parents had gotten really, really sick, and I’ve had just a lot of deaths pretty much back to back in such a short time frame,” she told EW. “I think people kind of forget that I am a human being. Granted, I’m really grateful that everybody’s remained really excited. I feel like that’s unheard of, especially after such a long duration of time.”

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