SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Rihanna knew if she returned to the stage less than a year after giving birth to her first child, the performance would surpass anything she had done before.
“If I have to leave my baby, I’m going to leave him for something special,” the multiple Grammy winner said.
That special something happened to be the next Super Bowl 2023 halftime show. “It was now or never for me,” she said.
The singer previously declined to perform on the 2019 halftime show in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. But in a recent interview ahead of her “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4,” Rihanna said the timing and circumstances are right for her this time around. “It was a challenge that I accepted. It was a bigger scene than anything I’ve ever done,” she said.
After the NFL announced in late September that Rihanna would headline the February show, hopeful rumors swirled about a long-awaited new album, which she’s been teasing for the past few years. His latest album, “ANTI”, was released in 2016.
Although the pop star recently released her first new song in six years, the lead single from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” she was quick to shut down speculation that her Super Bowl performance meant a album was imminent. “That’s not true. The Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans?” she laughs.
“The second I announced this, I was like, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to think my album is coming. I gotta get to work,'” she recalled.
Despite her quick return to the public eye after giving birth, Rihanna and rapper A$AP Rocky kept their baby details private. The two have yet to share his name or any photos of him.
“We haven’t got there yet, really. We just lived. But I guess there’s a certain freedom that comes with it kind of like bringing it out,” she said.
Along with adjusting to life as a new mom, Rihanna said she’s been busy topping the Emmy-winning “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3,” which included a long list of high-profile stars.
“It’s always hard to beat the one before,” she said. “Next year is actually going to be the main challenge because this year has been a massive show and I don’t know how we’re going to beat it, but we’re going to have to try.”
This year’s show includes performances from Anitta, Maxwell and others, as well as a long list of guest appearances, including Taraji P. Henson, Cara Delevingne and Sheryl Lee Ralph. AP’s interview with Rihanna came before Johnny Depp was known to be in attendance. Some people unhappy with Depp’s legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard have called for a boycott of Rihanna’s line if Depp is on the show.
The “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4” will be available to stream Wednesday on Amazon Prime Video.