Rihanna Opens Up About Super Bowl Halftime Show, Teases 'Weird' New Music
It’s almost game time.
Just four days before she touches down at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show, Rihanna appeared during the Halftime Show Press Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., on Thursday. In an interview with Apple Music Radio host Nadeska Alexis, the pop icon opened up about her return to the stage and what fans can expect from Sunday’s highly-anticipated performance.
“We’ve been working on it for a while, and every day it just gets closer and closer to the finished product,” she said. “Today’s a really big rehearsal, a really important one, that’s going to be crucial for Sunday.”
The massive production involves hundreds of crew members. “It’s literally, like, 300 to 400 people breaking the stage down and building it back up and getting it out in eight minutes. It’s incredible. It’s almost impossible,” she revealed.
The new mom, who gave birth to her son in May, said motherhood played a major role in her decision to perform.
“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.”
She admits that narrowing down her 17-year career into 13 minutes was not an easy task. “The set list was the biggest challenge. That was the hardest, hardest part,” she said. “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 catalog in the best way we could have put it together… Some songs we had to lose because of that and that’s gonna be OK, but I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down.”
She revealed that the setlist is constantly changing. “There are probably 39 versions of the set list right now,” she said. “Every little change counts, whether I want a guitar put out, something muted, something added, or just put in a whole new song or take out a whole song.”
The cultural significance of the moment is also not lost on Rihanna, who is proud to represent her Caribbean roots.
“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, who hasn’t released an album in seven years, also hinted at the experimental next chapter of her musical career.
“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.”
At the end of the press conference, Apple Music debuted a short film called “Run This Town,” filmed on Rihanna Drive in Barbados.