Normani’s much-anticipated debut album, Dopamine, is finally in the works, and the first single has just been released. It’s been six years since she initially planned to release it, which was eventually put on hold. She’s now making a comeback with her lead single, “1:59,” featuring Atlanta rapper Gunna.

“Dopamine represents the highs and the lows I’ve endured. It’s been such an emotional roller coaster. I worked relentlessly with my creative director, [Kwasi Fordjour]. We did our research. 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 told Elle. 

Normani revealed that many people believed her career was over since she hadn’t released any new music.

“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.

However, the 27-year-old clarified that she had taken a break after learning that both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer. The former Fifth Harmony singer will release her solo album through RCA in June.

“The album feels like liberation, like a season of freedom. Not just because the record is finally coming out but because it’s a celebration of everything I have been through to get to this moment,” she told Who What Wear. “During this process, I heard God say to me, ‘Trust me. I know you’re afraid, but trust me anyway. Dare to trust me anyway. Now is the time.'”

The “Motivation” artist delayed some of her highly anticipated songs until she could take control of her creative process. Record labels typically control an artist’s rollout, but this time she took charge.

“I know what it’s like to put out music and records that I don’t wholeheartedly believe in,” she told the publication. “When we were in [Fifth Harmony], we didn’t have the opportunity to have a real opinion until the last project we did. I promised myself, If God gives me another opportunity to do things in my own way, I’m not going to take that for granted.”

Normani told Elle that she cried because she didn’t want “Motivation” to be her single. Dissatisfied with her label’s decision, she later learned to enjoy the process once she was able to creatively direct the music video.

“It’s crazy. Now, I appreciate that song so much more than I did then. I cried, I “boohoo” cried. I was like, “I don’t want this to be my single.” Then I had total creative control over the video, which meant a lot. I just wanted to feel represented. Now I get it. I understand it more now,” she admitted. 

Normani hopes that her new album will be a success outside of TikTok. The social media app has had a major impact on the music industry, and Normani wants to break free from its influence.

Her fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of her new music for years, and the album is timed perfectly for summer. Despite feeling like she was born in the wrong era due to the traditional methods of the music industry, Normani is optimistic that her new music will be heard and appreciated around the world.

“I always joke that I was born in the wrong era,” she said. When Justin Timberlake was coming up, Destiny’s Child was coming up, and Beyoncé in the early 2000s, the only thing that mattered was the music. I strive to be [both] a revolutionary and a legacy artist, but you can’t not be aware of the temperature of the world. The reality of it is that TikTok drives records now.”