Why Rihanna hasn't performed solo for seven years - and future after Super Bowl

Rihanna is without doubt one of the most talented artists in the world - but she hasn't performed solo for seven years.

The Umbrella song maker has been MIA from the music industry for most of that time and hasn't released a new album since 'Anti' back in January 2016.

The 34-year-old last went on tour in three continents and performed 75 shows, but took a step back from producing new music on her own.

In 2017, she did collaborate with Kendrick Lamar on 'Loyalty' and with DJ Khaled on 'Wild Thoughts' - and her last live performance was of the latter at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

So what has Rihanna been doing during her hiatus? And why is she coming back for Super Bowl LVII?

What has Rihanna been up to?

Rihanna decided to take a break from the music industry, with insiders claiming she was "done" and wanted to put her energy into other things.

The singer has been working on projects away from music, having launched her Fenty Beauty line in 2017, promoting diversity and inclusivity for women of all shades and sizes in beauty and fashion.

Then in 2018 she debuted her lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty, which she promoted during New York Fashion week in 2019.

Fenty Skin, her skin care brand, was launched in 2020, and the following year Forbes announced she was the world's richest female musician with a $1.

7 billion fortune.

"She's broken through the ceiling … and that's a bigger deal than having a No. 1 hit," said Lori Majewski, host of "Fierce: Women in Music" on SiriusXM Volume.

"Now that doesn't mean that she couldn't come back and have a hit: I think if she'd drop a [single] tomorrow, it would be massive. But I don't think she needs it anymore."

Rihanna has been teasing new music for a few years and there were rumours she was working on a reggae album.

"I can't say when I'm going to drop," Rihanna told British Vogue in 2020. "But I am very aggressively working on music."

There have been massive changes to her personal life, as Rihanna started dating rapper ASAP Rocky in 2021.

Rihanna gave birth to their first child, a son, in May last year and is absolutely loving the "crazy, amazing, wild and weird" experience of motherhood.

"The best feeling, the best," she said last year. "The most love I've ever known. I can't describe it. It's new. It's fascinating.

"Every step, every facial expression, every new milestone. I love it."

Rihanna began her highly anticipated return to music in October 2022 when she released her first new song since 2016, Life Me Up.

The song appeared in the Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman - and earned Rihanna her first Golden Globe nomination and Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song.

Why is she performing at Super Bowl LVII?

Rihanna actually turned down the opportunity to do the Super Bowl halftime show in 2019.

She wanted to support Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was dropped from the NFL for protesting social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.

Explaining her decision to take a stand, Rihanna told Vogue: "I couldn't dare do that. Who gains from that? Not my people. I just couldn't be a sellout."

"I couldn't be an enabler. There's things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.


But in September last year, it was announced that Rihanna would be headlining the Super Bowl LVII halftime show.

Rihanna said becoming a parent inspired her to sign up to perform at the Super Bowl as she needed a "challenge" to push her to get back on stage.

Speaking in the press conference this week, the singer said: "It feels like it could have only been now. When I first got the call to do it again this year, I was like, 'You sure? I'm three months postpartum, should I be making major decisions like this right now? Like, I might regret this.''

She went on to add: "But when you become a mum, there's something that just happens where you feel like you can take on the world, you can 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 and it's important for my son to see that."

What can we expect?

Rihanna has been teasing fans with what to expect during her halftime show.

"We've been working on it for a while, and every day it just gets closer and closer to the finished product. Today's a really big rehearsal, a really important one, that's going to be crucial for Sunday," she said in the press conference.

"It's a lot of preparation. This is the week that – it really is [about] being tested. Everyone, we're just tightening up everything, everybody's dialing in, everybody's tuning up and [it's] a lot of moving parts.

"I mean, 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."

Rihanna admitted that the biggest challenge with her "jam-packed show" has been cutting down the set list.

"That was the hardest, hardest part. Deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrate. And that's what this show's going to be; a celebration," the singer confessed.

"You're going to see on Sunday, just from the time it starts, it just never ends, until it's like the very last second," she added. "There are a lot of people who are a part of this show, and a huge part of the reason why this show is going to be as incredible as it is. I couldn't have done it without them."

What's next for Rihanna?

The world is Rihanna's oyster, but there is a lot of speculation that she will use the Super Bowl platform to make a big announcement.

There are rumours she will be heading on the road later in the year for a brand new tour.

"There has been a lot of talk among people in the know, especially in the last week or two, that Rihanna is gearing up to announce a tour," an insider told Page Six. "It seems to be more than just hearsay at this point."

A second source added: "Even some members of Rihanna's team have been kept in the dark. It's all a big secret, from the details of her halftime show to what's next — if anything."

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