Normani Says Cardi B “Provided a Safe Space” for Her While Collaborating on “Wild Side”

The wait is finally over, Normani Nation! The pop diva we’ve all been waiting on since the release of 2019’s “Motivation” (wow, feels like an entire lifetime ago, doesn’t it?) is officially back with a brand new single: “Wild Side” feat. Cardi B! If you’re looking for the bubbly Normani from two years ago though, that girl is nowhere to be found—Normani is unabashedly embracing her sexuality now and doesn’t appear to give a single f*ck about who takes issue with that. Like hello, did you see the video? You might wanna think twice before watching it on your work computer, just saying:

Now that “Wild Side” is out—and the fans are eating it up, obvi—Normani is fully ready to enter the next phase of her career. And what better way to celebrate that than by partnering with Tequila Don Julio Primavera? In Normani’s own words, “That’s gonna be how I celebrate, and I’m excited because I’ve been working hard girl.” Love! To! Hear it!!!

The evening before “Wild Side” premiered, Normani caught up with Cosmopolitan to chat about how 🔥 the single is (duh), her choice to sample the late and great Aaliyah on the track, her tequila partnership (see: above), and her truly enviable friendship with Cardi. Consider it required reading that “Wild Side” dominates all of your ~sexy time~ playlists going forward.

Cosmo: Now that “Wild Side” is debuting, how would you describe the song in your words?

Normani: I would definitely describe “Wild Side” as the truest version of me. I’ve obviously evolved a lot over the last two years. I’ve matured, and I’m taking ownership over my life even though I personally had a really tough year. I’m learning how to embrace all the things that make me who I am in terms of my sexuality. I feel like the whole point of this record for me was to be able to express that, you know? People will probably be very shocked to see me in this different light.

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What’s your favorite lyric in “Wild Side”?

Actually? My favorite part of the song is the background vocals. I feel like they just add so much texture and life to the song. There’s like a spirit of light-heartedness listening to this song and the other songs on my album.

This song samples Aaliyah’s 1996 single “One In A Million”— what drew you into making that artistic decision?

I grew up super inspired by the ‘90s and the early 2000s, and the first record I remember listening to that I was so moved by was One In A Million. I was such an Aaliyah fan because my mom was an Aaliyah fan. Listening to One In A Million gives me such an amazing feeling, and I felt this was a perfect opportunity to make the title track a part of the song.

How did the collaboration with Cardi B come about? Did you know from the start that you wanted her to feature on “Wild Side”?

Honestly, it was crazy. I remember [Cardi] tweeted my line when I posted the snippet on Instagram a couple of months ago. She tweeted my mom and was like “Mama Normani, when is this coming out, we can’t keep talkin’ about it coming out!” She was excited and she’s always been very supportive of me from the “WAP” video, to “Motivation,” and up until now. She brought such light to this experience [and] to me after not releasing for the last two years. I feel like she’s given me comfort and provided a safe space for me.

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Cardi has great energy and is such a genuine spirit; She really put her all into this record, and I feel like it’s hard to come across people that understand your vision the way you do. She even put her input into the artwork concept for “Wild Side,” too. We had so much fun on set and she made it the easiest experience ever.

Would you say this song is more representative of who you are now compared to “Motivation”?

Honestly, “Wild Side” is different in every single way from “Motivation,” both sonically and lyrically. I don’t necessarily think that “Motivation” showed my full potential. With this record coming out, there is still so much more room for me to grow, but I feel like my transformation from “Motivation” to this is incredible…impressive even, and I don’t ever talk about myself like that.

I’m just really proud of what we did with my whole team. We’ve been working on this project for the past three months, and I’ve had the record for even longer. I’m happy to see it come to fruition and for my vision to be shared with the rest of the world. I’m really excited to be truly represented—I feel like this is me.

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