Fifth Harmony surprised fans in March when they announced their intention to take a hiatus at the end of the year to pursue individual projects. Though Normani has previously admitted that stepping out from her longtime music mates is “scary,” the 21-year-old says she’s excited for fans to get to know her solo side.
“Fifth Harmony is all I’ve known for the last six years, so it’s definitely going to be an adjustment,” she told PEOPLE at the Daily Front Row’s Fashion Los Angeles Awards on Sunday. “But I think that we owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to each other, to create that space of freedom to truly figure out who we are individually. You guys have only seen a fraction of me, and I’ve only gotten to know a fraction of who I am. Even in the studio, I’m finding out new things.”
When it comes to her new music, Normani says she values personal satisfaction over potential chart success.
“I want to create music that I’m proud of, and not just focus on the hit aspect,” she continues — though she has a potential chart-topper in her and Khalid’s current single, “Love Lies.” “Sometimes, in the studio, I stress myself out. I’m like, ‘Is this going to work?’ But if it feels good then it feels good. I think that at the end of the day, [the music] will resonate with other people because of the authenticity of it.”
Speaking of the split, she says that the decision to part ways came naturally, and without any dramatic blowout. “Honestly, nothing necessarily happened. It was kind of just a good time. It was the right time for us. It’s been six years, and we dedicated absolutely everything that we’ve had to the group. We recognized that we deserve to be our own people.”
Most importantly, the foursome are leaving it on great terms. “We’re our biggest cheerleaders,” she says with a laugh. “Those are my sisters. I couldn’t get rid of them even if I wanted to — trust me!”
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She also had kind words for Camila Cabello, who left the group in December 2016. Though they haven’t been in touch, Normani says that her former bandmate has been “killing it” with her solo smash “Havana” and accompanying album, Camila.
“I’m super proud of her. She’s in her own space and she’s happy. We’re happy and we created a body of work that we’re so proud of. So everybody’s in a good space perspectively and doing their own thing.”
•With reporting by MARIAH HAAS