Global superstar Rihanna is getting ready for her performance of a lifetime and joined Apple Music Radio host Nadeska Alexis for the official Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Press Conference where she gave fans a glimpse of what they can expect during her big performance.
During the conversation Rihanna expressed excitement for her return to the stage this Sunday at the inaugural Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime show, the focus and preparation that’s gone into this moment, being asked to perform three months after giving birth to her son, and the “scary” and “exhilarating” challenge of returning to the stage. She also discussed holding on to her core values, the challenges of crafting a 13-minute setlist spanning her 17-year-career, the importance of representation, work-life balance, and her next musical chapter.
At the press conference Apple Music also unveiled the new short film, “Run This Town” filmed on Rihanna Drive in Barbados.
Rihanna on what this moment means to her…
It feels like it could have only been now. I mean, when I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like, “Psst, you sure?” I’m three months postpartum, like, should I be making major decisions like this now? Like I might regret this. But when you become a mom, there’s something that just happens where you feel like you could take on the world, you could do anything. And the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world. So as scary as that was because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. And it’s important for me to do this this year. It’s important for representation, it’s important for my son to see that.
Rihanna on how she started the process of creating her setlist…
The set list was the biggest challenge. That was the hardest hardest part. Deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrate. That’s what this show’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a celebration of my catalogue in the best way we could have put it together. And you only have 13 minutes, that’s the challenge, so you’re trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes. So it’s difficult. You know, some songs we have to lose because of that, and that’s gonna be okay. But I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down.
Rihanna ton the physical demands of getting ready for Sunday’s game.
The physical challenge has definitely been immense, for many reasons, of course. But, I haven’t done this in a minute. First thing’s first, so you’re just running around for 13 minutes, trying to put a two hour set in 13 minutes, and you’re gonna see on Sunday, it just, from the time it starts, it just never ends until it’s like the very last second. Now I’m saying too much? But it’s a jam-packed show, and it takes a toll on your body, it does.
We’re excited to do the Super Bowl. We are. We’ve been working on it for awhile, and every day it just gets closer and closer to the finished product. And today’s a really big rehearsal, really important one, so that’s gonna be crucial for Sunday.
Rihanna on the cultural significance of this Apple Music Halftime Show moment…
I mean, it’s a long way from home, right? It’s a long way from home. It’s a beautiful journey that I’m on, and I could’ve never guessed that I would have made it here. So it’s a celebration of that. I’m excited to do that. I’m really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl stage.
Rihanna tells Apple Music about where she is headed musically…
Musically, I’m feeling open. I’m feeling open to exploring, discovering, creating, things that are new, things that are different, things that are off, weird, might not ever make sense to my fans, you know, the people that know the music that I put out. I just want to play. I want to have fun. I want to have fun with music.
Rihanna on work-life balance as a mom.
Yes, it’s very different. The balance is almost impossible because no matter how you look at it, work is always something that’s gonna rob you of time with your child. That’s the currency now. That’s where it goes. The magnitude of how much it weighs. When you make decisions on what you’re gonna say yes to, it has to be worth it.
Rihanna on her favourite album and favourite album to record from her catalogue
Okay, I really enjoyed recording Loud and “Diamonds.” I was on the road for both of those albums when I created them. I was touring one album, making the next, and then I came back and toured that album and made the next, and then ANTI was the first time that I took my time making an album while not being on tour. And that frustrated my fans a bit, and here I am doing it again to them. But ANTI, for sure, top favorite album I’ve ever made.
Rihanna on the most important thing she’s learned in order to succeed
To stay humble. Stay humble because if not this industry will humble you one way or the other. And, you know, my humility came from my childhood growing up in the Caribbean, growing up in my household with my mom. She’s a very humble woman. Her mom was a very humble woman. And I’ve never, I’ve never lost sight of that. That’s very important to me. I often fear the pedestal that the world can you put you on. And I always want to feel my feet on the ground. That makes me feel safe.
Rihanna on her transition back to music and her love of road trips…
The pandemic kind of, in a weird way, forced me to slow down. And then when you have all these boundaries and restraints and rules and you have to stay home, you kind of get creative with ways to stay entertained, in a way. Road tripping was one of those things that I’ve always loved, I just usually road trip while I’m on tour. That’s the road trip. So I got to feel the things I love about tour without having the commitment of the show every single day. It was just nice to appreciate that time. I really enjoyed it, actually.
Rihanna on being unapologetic…
I’m definitely not one that’s worried about coming off too bossy. I’ve been bossy all my life. Ever since I was a little girl, but [this performance] is riding on me, you know? There are a lot of people who are a part of this show, and huge part of the reason why this show’s gonna be as incredible as it is, and I couldn’t have done it without them. But you know what, at the end of the day, if it flops or it flies, my name has to stand by that. And so I really get involved with every aspect of anything that I do, whether it’s the Super Bowl, whether it’s a makeup product, whether it’s Savage lingerie, like, whatever I do, I’m that annoying girl who’s gonna talk about everything. I want to see the copy on the website! I want to name every lipstick that I make. I care about it. I love it. I love it, I really do.
Rihanna about sticking to her core values…
It’s true, it’s true, a lot of my core values have never left me. A lot of the lessons I’ve learned in my earliest years I have never forgotten. I carry them throughout my life and my career.