Rihanna has downplayed the notion that her upcoming Super Bowl halftime show performance next year is indicative that she has new music arriving around the same time.
While speaking to the pop star and entrepreneur on the red carpet of her recent Savage x Fenty Vol. 4 fashion show, a reporter from the Associated Press suggested she “obviously” wouldn’t have agreed to the Super Bowl performance if new music wasn’t on the way. The singer’s last album was 2016’s ‘Anti’.
“No, no, no. That’s not true,” Rihanna refuted. “Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans? Because I knew, the second that I announced this I said, ‘Oh my God, they’re gonna think my album is coming, I need to get to work.'”
But I do have new music coming out,” she admitted. “But we’ll see. We’ll see. [The two things are] Unrelated. But a special project.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Rihanna was asked why now felt like the right time to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. “It was a challenge that I welcomed,” she replied. “It was a stage bigger than anything I’ve ever done.”
She also mentioned her son, who was born in May of this year. “[The Super Bowl is] one of those things, if I’m going to leave my baby, I’m going to leave my baby for something special. And I was willing to do it. It was now or never for me, I feel like.”
Her remarks echoed ones she made to ET on the red carpet the same evening. “Nothing would have gotten me out of the house if it wasn’t a challenge like that,” she said of the upcoming performance. “You could get real comfortable being at home as a mom, [so this is] challenging myself to do something that I’ve never done before in my career. I have to live up to that challenge.”
The singer confirmed in September that she will perform at next year’s game, which will take place on February 12, 2023 at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The announcement came after Rihanna, in October 2019, confirmed that she was asked to perform at that year’s Super Bowl halftime show, but declined in order to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
Last month, Rihanna shared ‘Lift Me Up’, her first new solo single since ‘Anti’ arrived in 2016. The song was shared as part of the official soundtrack for Marvel film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and was co-written by Rihanna, Nigerian singer Tems, Swedish composer and producer Ludwig Göransson and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.
The song was written as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed T’Challa/Black Panther in the original 2018 film, and died in 2020 following a private battle with colon cancer.