If you’re skeptical about the prospect of Rihanna releasing an album anytime soon, you’re not alone. Just prior to her performance at the 2023 Super Bowl, the singer demurred when asked by the Associated Press about her follow-up to 2016’s Anti. “Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing,” Rihanna said when asked if her ninth studio album was finished. She is, however, acknowledging the longer-than-expected wait between projects in a new British Vogue interview, saying that no new Rihanna album in 2023 would be an absurd situation.
“I want it to be this year,” Rihanna said of the new album. “Like, honestly, it’d be ridiculous if it’s not this year. But I just want to have fun. I just want to make music and make videos.” In the profile, author Giles Hattersley writes that Rihanna has been creating new music at a consistent clip. “Rihanna never stopped recording,” Hattersley writes. “The past years are littered with songs she’s fallen in and out of love with.”
Elsewhere, Rihanna addresses the controversy over her acceptance of the Super Bowl Halftime show after previously declining to perform over the league’s blackballing of Colin Kaepernick. “There’s still a lot of mending to be done in my eyes,” Rihanna said, “but it’s powerful to break those doors, and have representation at such a high, high level and a consistent level.” She also pointed to the significance of two Halftime shows in a row being helmed by artists “representing the urban community” (last year’s show was helmed by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar). “It is powerful. It sends a really strong message,” she said.
Becoming a mother to a son played a factor in her decision as well. “Raising a young Black man is one of the scariest responsibilities in life… You’re like, ‘What am I leaving my kids to? This is the planet they’re gonna be living on? … ‘All of those things really start to hit differently.’” Rihanna confirmed her second pregnancy after rampant internet speculation during her performance.