14 number one songs.
14 number one songs. She has 9 Grammys.
She’s Oscar nominated, an entrepreneur, a visionary, and
this Sunday at the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show,
the wait is over!
It’s been 2,190 days. Dude.
Rihanna, we waited for you.
You it’s been over six years
since the nine-time Grammy winner –
Rihanna. RiRi, where have you been?
We have been impatiently waiting for –
The fans just predicted the end of Rihanna.
Has anyone – Rihanna.
(Multiple voices talking at once.)
♪ You needed me ♪
♪ You needed me ♪
From Apple Music Radio and o – the host of “The Nadeska
Show,” please welcome our girl, Nadeska Alexis!
NADESKA ALEXIS: Good morning
and thank you all so much for joining us here today.
For the past few years, I have watched it press conference from
home on the couch in my pajamas. So it’s really nice to be here
with you all in person. At Apple Music, we are very,
very, passionate about celebrating and supporting
artists and about having meaningful conversations around
music. So we are thrilled to be joining
the NFL and Roc Nation to bring the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII
Halftime Show to life. And, of course, to see an icon
make her long-awaited return to the stage.
Today, we get to hear what this moment means to her directly
from her. So please join me in welcoming
Rihanna! (Cheers and Applause).
RIHANNA: Hello. Hey, everyone.
How are you?
NADESKA ALEXIS: Good morning.
RIHANNA: Okay. NADESKA ALEXIS: It’s so nice
to have you here.
RIHANNA: Thank you.
It’s my pleasure. It’s my pleasure.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Listen, I know you have been working
really, really hard to be getting ready for this show and
probably haven’t gotten enough sleep.
You still have a glow, is that the Fenty highlighter, or are
you just excited here.
RIHANNA: Fenty highlighter is
helping today. I have yet to sleep.
We were working at the venue all last night and I kind of just
stayed there and ended up in a prep and somehow I’m here at a
press conference right now.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Here and
smiling at a press conference and you still have a long day
ahead. You have rehearsals later.
Going into a show like this, we all know you are going to put on
an incredible show and we are so excited but at the end of the
day, you are still a human, right?
And you still need to get yourself mentally ready for
this. So how do you prepare for a date
like today? I listened to “Needed Me” about
100 times this morning, and I felt good to go, but you
probably have a better strategy.
RIHANNA: A day like today?
NADESKA ALEXIS: A day like Sunday.
RIHANNA: Now, that’s the one. I have been so focused on the
Super Bowl, I totally forgot that my birthday is coming up.
I totally forgot about Valentine’s day.
I’m just Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl.
So a lot of preparation. A lot of moving parts and this
week, this is the week that it really is being tested.
Everyone, we’re just tightening up everything.
Everybody is dialing in. Everybody is do tuning up.
And a lot of moving parts. It’s literally 3 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.
NADESKA ALEXIS: But if it’s
impossible, that means you can do it.
You have always been that person who could do it.
RIHANNA: I don’t know that I can do that in eight minutes,
but we – we’re excited to do the Super Bowl.
We are. We’ve been working on it for a
while, 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 will be crucial for
NADESKA ALEXIS: I’m excited
to see that. And, you know, I’m a big
believer in timing, that some of the most special and magical
moments in our lives, they line up in a way that I think that we
can’t always anticipate and predict.
It’s like the universe knows. So I’m wondering for you, what
does it feel like for this performance to land at this
moment in your life and in your career?
RIHANNA: It feels like it could have only been now.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Yeah. RIHANNA: I mean when I first
got the call to do it, again this year, I was like…
Are you sure? Like, I’m – I’m three months
Should I be making major decisions like this right now?
I might regret this. When you become a mom, there’s
something that just happens where you feel like you could
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. It’s important for my son to see
NADESKA ALEXIS: It is.
You make taking on a new challenge look easy.
And I know that it isn’t because, again, you are a human
being. But you have always seemed so
brave and, you know, like one to take risks.
And I actually want to share something with you, because I
think it’s important for you to take a minute to reflect, which
you probably haven’t been able to do because you are so busy.
So for anyone who doesn’t know a couple of years ago, Rihanna
released it beautiful coffee table book and you got to take a
journey through her life. My favorite part was an excerpt,
I think her grade school report card.
So here’s what her teacher wrote about her.
She is sure of herself and displays a positive attitude.
I still see that today. She’s friendly.
She takes a leading role in group activities.
She expresses her ideas clearly and intelligently, and she’s
very relaxed in acting out ideas.
We have seen you evolve over the years from your first album to
becoming a mom and a businesswoman and a music
powerhouse, but you still very much seem like that little girl
in that report card.
RIHANNA: That was trippy to
hear you read that out, because I feel like you were kind of
describing me right now. Especially the relaxed part.
(Laughter). That’s a Caribbean thing.
NADESKA ALEXIS: It really is. It seems like your values
haven’t changed over time, although you have obviously
grown in a lot of other ways.
RIHANNA: It’s true.
It’s true. A lot of my core values have
never left me. A lot of the lessons I have
learned my earliest years, I have never gotten.
And I carry them throughout my life and my career.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Your work ethic is definitely one of those
RIHANNA: Thank you.
NADESKA ALEXIS: You are immensely talented, but it takes
a special kind of person to put in the work that you have done
over the years and I think we’re going to see that displayed, you
know, at the Apple Music Halftime Show on fund.
So tell me what it was like – on Sunday.
So tell me what it was like to put the show together, the
setlist. You went on an incredible run
from first album, up until “Unapologetic” where it seemed
like you never took a break or took time off.
Now that you are a few years removed from all of those songs,
what was it like to revisit those to build the set list.
RIHANNA: 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 is going to be, it’s going to be a
celebration of my catalog in the best way that we could have put
it together. And you only have 13 minutes.
That’s a challenge. So you are trying to cram 17
years of work into 13 minutes. So it’s – it’s difficult, but
we – you know, some songs we have to lose because of that,
and that’s going to be okay. But I think we did a pretty good
job of narrowing it down.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Was there
trial and error, you know, as you started rehearsals.
Were you running through set lists and realizing that this
didn’t work in this moment?
RIHANNA: Oh, yeah.
There’s probably like 39 versions of the set list right
NADESKA ALEXIS: Wow!
RIHANNA: Yeah. I think we’re on our 39th.
I mean, every little change counts.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Mm-hmm. RIHANNA: Whether I want a
guitar cut out, something muted or something added or just put
in a whole new song or take out a whole song, like, every time I
make a change, something has to be updated and that’s a new
NADESKA ALEXIS: Well, like
you mentioned earlier, there are a lot of moving parts to the
show, a lot of people involved, but another thing I always
admired about you. You seem to know the right
moment to step in and take control.
I think that’s challenging for women.
We’re always nervous sometimes, me personally of coming off too
controlling or too bossy, but sometimes you know in your gut
what the right thing is for you. So how much have you been really
getting into all of the details of putting the show together?
RIHANNA: I’m – I’m definitely not one that’s
worried about coming off too bossy.
I have been bossy all my life. Ever since I was a little girl,
I promise you this. Like hell uva annoying, it’s
writing on me. 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.
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 longer ray.
I want to see the copy on the website.
I want to name every lipstick that I make.
Like, I care about it. I love it.
I love it. I really do.
NADESKA ALEXIS: It all goes back to the little girl, I’m
telling you, from the report card.
RIHANNA: The little bossy, little girl.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Another thing that goes into such a big
performance is the physical stamina.
Exhaustion is a real thing, right?
But then that’s something that you have to deal with and your
breath control and dancing on stage and all of that,
especially postpartum. I couldn’t do it.
Last year after I had my baby, it took me months to wear
regular pants again. This is one of those few
occasions. What is it like physically
getting yourself ready for this?
RIHANNA: The physical
challenge has definitely been immense, for many reasons, of
course. But I haven’t done this in a
minute. That was first – first things
first. So you are just running around
for 13 minutes trying to put, like, a two-hour set in 13
minutes. And you are going to see on
Sunday, it just – from the time it starts, it just never – it
just never ends. And until it’s like the very
last second. I know I’m saying too much, but
it’s a jam-packed show and it takes a toll on your body.
NADESKA ALEXIS: You got this,
RIHANNA: Thank you.
NADESKA ALEXIS: And I won’t press you to reveal any details.
We want to keep that under wraps because you have been working so
hard. As a Caribbean woman, and coming
from a tiny island like Grenada, you made me feel so represented.
I always loved seeing you back home at Barbados at Crop Over.
I wonder if you are incorporating any Caribbean
culture in the performance?
RIHANNA: That’s a big part
why it’s important for me to do this show, representation,
representing for immigrants, representing for my country,
Barbados. Representing for Black women
everywhere. I just – I think that’s –
that’s really important. That’s key for people to see the
possibilities and I’m honored to be here.
I’m honored to be doing this this year.
NADESKA ALEXIS: I can’t wait to see it!
And we’re so excited to have you back in music.
You know, of course we missed you, but you have a whole human
beings to take care of now. I know it sounds for you, that
work/life balance was not necessarily a thing.
You always considered those the same, but is that different now
having a child plus work?
RIHANNA: Yes, it’s been
different. The balance is almost impossible
because no matter how you look at it, work is always something
that’s going to rob you of time with your child.
That’s the currency now. And that’s where it goes, the
magnitude of how much it weighs. When you make decisions on what
you are going to say yes to, it has to be worth it.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Mm-hmm. And this is definitely a moment
that’s worth it for you, right?
RIHANNA: For me, for sure.
NADESKA ALEXIS: What is the cultural significance for you of
performing at the Super Bowl Halftime Show?
RIHANNA: 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 have never guessed that I would have made
it here. So it’s a celebration of that.
I’m excited to do that, and I’m really excited to have Barbados
on the Super Bowl stage.
NADESKA ALEXIS: It’s a big
moment for the whole Caribbean. You have been a global superstar
for a long time, but I need to say right now on the record,
Caribbean women, we claim you as ours.
RIHANNA: You better!
NADESKA ALEXIS: Now, you have taken a few years off of music.
You have been building the Fenty empire, which has been
incredible to watch. But now that you are making that
transition back to music, you also took some time to just live
your life, to just take road trips, like, things that you
deserved after working so hard. So how was that period and do
you feel now refreshed and ready to get back to music?
RIHANNA: The pandemic kind of, in a weird way, forced me to
NADESKA ALEXIS: Mm-hmm.
RIHANNA: And then when you have all of 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.
And road tripping was one of those things that I have always
loved. I just usually road tripped
while I’m on tour. So that’s a road trip.
NADESKA ALEXIS: That doesn’t count.
RIHANNA: So I got to feel the things that 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.
NADESKA ALEXIS: You deserved
it. You seemed like a workaholic.
I think you deserved some time off.
I’m not asking any questions about when music is dropping.
I don’t want any problems with you or the Navy.
A couple of years ago, you said you were working on a project
that was reggae inspired, and those are your roots and
something that would capture where you are going forward in
the next chapter of your life. When I talk with my friends, we
would take anything. A classical album from Rihanna,
would be fire. Would you tell us about this
chapter and how you are feeling musically in general.
RIHANNA: Musically, I’m feeling open.
I’m feeling open to exploring, discovering, creating, things
that are new, things that are different, things that are
offer, weird, might not ever, like, 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.
NADESKA ALEXIS: You should
have fun with the music and have fun on that Super Bowl stage on
Sunday. You put in all of the work.
You are ready. This is in your bones.
RIHANNA: Thank you. NADESKA ALEXIS: It’s
important to go out and have a good time.
Promise me you will have fun.
RIHANNA: I got you, girl.
I promise. That’s one of my main things, I
promised myself I would have fun.
NADESKA ALEXIS: That’s great. And now if it’s cool with you,
some of your young fans have some questions for you, if you
are cool to answer those.
RIHANNA: Of course!
NADESKA ALEXIS: All right. Let’s do it.
First question is from Phoenix Children’s.
Hi, Rihanna, I’m in Phoenix Children’s Hospital and I like
dancing and playing golf and I also love your makeup.
It’s so good.
RIHANNA: Oh, thank you.
What was your favorite album to record?
RIHANNA: Oh! RIHANNA: I was on the road
when I made both of next. Was touring one album and making
the N. and then I came back and toured that album and made the
next and then “Anti” was first time 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 ever made.
NADESKA ALEXIS: A great album.
Thank you, Annissa.
RIHANNA: Thank you.
NADESKA ALEXIS: And we have a question from NFL Play 60 super
When you first started
pursuing music, what was the most important thing you learned
in order to succeed in the industry?
RIHANNA: 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 and growing up in my household with my mom.
She’s a very humble woman. Her mom was a very humble woman,
and I have never lost sight of that.
That’s very important to me. I – I often fear the pedestal
that the world can put you on, and I always want to feel my
feet on the ground. That makes me feel safe.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Thank you. That was such a great question.
RIHANNA: That was a great question!
NADESKA ALEXIS: Yes, and a great answer and that’s why we
appreciate you. You always seem to grounded, no
matter what is going on around you.
RIHANNA: Thank you. NADESKA ALEXIS: You will
never lose that magic. Thank you so much again.
RIHANNA: Thank you. NADESKA ALEXIS: Congratulatio
RIHANNA: Thank you all.
NADESKA ALEXIS: Have an incredible time.
We can’t wait to see the Apple Music music Halftime Show and
while you wait, you can listen, watch and sing all things
Rihanna. And shortly after her
performance, you’ll be able to stream the full Halftime Show in
Spatial Audio only on Apple Music.
But before Rihanna takes the biggest stage in the world, we
want to share a film that takes it back to where everything
started. Premiering today, here is “Run
You know it’s about time she
You know fans are waiting.
♪ Feel it coming in the air ♪ ♪ Hear the screams from
everywhere ♪ ♪ I’m addicted to the thrill ♪
♪ It’s a dangerous love affair ♪ ♪ Can’t be scared when it goes
down ♪ ♪ Got a problem, tell me now ♪
♪ Only thing that’s on my mind ♪ ♪ Is who’s gonna run this town
tonight ♪ ♪
♪ Is who’s gonna run this town tonight ♪
♪ We gonna run this town ♪ ♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey ♪
♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey ♪ ♪ Whassup ♪
♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey ♪ ♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey ♪
♪ We gonna run this town tonight ♪
♪ We’re gonna run this town tonight ♪