Normani To Serve "Motivation" at VMAs

Normani To Serve "Motivation" at VMAs

The singer has risen atop pop's hotlist since the awards's first-round performers were announced.

The singer has risen atop pop's hotlist since the awards's first-round performers were announced.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Last week, the artist formerly known as Normani Kordei sonic-boomed onto the pop hotlist with "Motivation," the first confirmed single off her upcoming debut LP and a culmination of the star-powered shockwaves V have felt since her solo beginnings back in early 2018. A kind of hyper-visual statement of intent, the song's video begins on a young Normani watching a 2000s-era goddess on TV, only to reveal that said singer is in fact a current-day Normani—decked out in low-rise jeans, a belly-button ring and lip-gloss.

With production by Max Martin, Oz-like producer of "Baby... One More Time," and accompanying visuals by Dave Meyers, the song and video seem to forecast Normani's inevitable superstardom, while also giving credit where it's due. In addition to mid-'00s-inspired sartorial choices, the video makes explicit reference to the "Baby..." video—with Normani back-flipping her way into an echelon of choreography seldom seen since Spears's early years.

The parallels between Normani and her bubblegum foremothers continue this week, with the announcement of the 23-year-old singer's VMAs performance—a rite once regarded as training ground for mass pop-cultural acclaim. While the previously announced performers—including Missy Elliott, Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Bad Bunny, Camila Cabello, J Balvin, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Rosalía and Shawn Mendes—pack a punch, it's Normani's momentum—and demonstrated "motivation"—that will make her the event's undisputed one-to-watch.

The VMAs will take place at Prudential Center on Monday, August 26, on MTV.

Normani for MTV VMAs 2019 (courtesy MTV)

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