There aren’t many artists who could create buzz for a Super Bowl halftime show comparable to what was produced when Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent was featured the previous year.
But hey, Rihanna is not any artist.
The international entertainer, entrepreneur and pop culture icon, who only recently released new music after a years-long hiatus, somehow elevated Super Bowl 57 – already a can’t-miss sight like the biggest sporting event of the year – into a cultural phenomenon that transcends sport. A pretty solid NFL selection, all things considered.
As football and music fans await Super Bowl 57 between the Chiefs and Eagles, The Sporting News has everything you need to know about Rihanna’s involvement, from her history with the NFL, her recent discography and who could appear on stage with her in Glendale, Arizona.:
MORE: History of the Super Bowl Halftime Show Artists
Why did the NFL choose Rihanna to play the halftime show?
It took just one mute post from Rihanna’s Instagram page in late September to make the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show one of the most anticipated in recent memory:
Moments after announcing the news of her involvement in the series, the The NFL released a statement confirming that he teamed up with entertainment agency Roc Nation and Apple Music – the show’s sponsor – to get Rihanna to headline the Super Bowl 57 halftime show:
“Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who exceeded expectations at every turn,” Roc Nation founder Jay-Z said in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent entertainers of all time. Self-taught in business and entertainment.”
Seth Dudowsky, NFL Chief Music Officer, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage. Rihanna is a one-of-a-kind performer who has been a cultural force throughout. career. We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another historic Halftime Show performance.”
MORE: Watch Super Bowl 57 Live with fuboTV (Free Trial)
When did Rihanna last release music?
To add to the excitement of her Super Bowl 57 appearance, Rihanna hasn’t released any music for quite some time. She last toured in 2016, the same year she released her last studio album, Anti.
The pop icon hasn’t released many new singles over this period: only six since the release of her last album. This includes three as a lead artist and three as a featured artist.
His two most recent songs, “Lift Me Up” and “Born Again”, were released in October 2022 as part of the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack. The first was her first solo single since 2016’s “Love on the Brain”.
Prior to these songs, his last release as a lead artist, “Believe It”, was released in 2020 as part of PartyNextDoor’s “Partymobile” album.
Given the scarcity of new Rihanna music in recent years, the NFL made a smart move in having her perform at Super Bowl 57. People who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in the game or even the social aspect of the competition will tune in for the rare chance to see a live performance from her.
MORE: Super Bowl halftime show prop bets: Odds for songs, more from Rihanna
Rihanna turned down the NFL’s offer to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl
This isn’t the first time the NFL has approached Rihanna to perform at the Super Bowl. She was rumored to have turned down an offer from the league to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta between the Patriots and Rams.
She confirmed these rumors in a October 2019 interview with Vogue, saying the decision was made in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. The former 49ers quarterback hadn’t played in the league since the 2016 season, when he knelt during the national anthem in protest against police brutality and systemic injustice to the community. black population.
“Absolutely,” she told Vogue at the time. “I couldn’t dare to do this. For what? Who benefits? Not my people. I just couldn’t be a sellout. I couldn’t be an enabler.
“There are things within this organization (the NFL) that I totally disagree with, and I wasn’t about to go and do them any favors in any way.”
MORE: Apple Music Releases Rihanna Teaser, Halftime Greatest Hits and NFL Playlist Ahead of Super Bowl 57
Why did Rihanna agree to host the 2023 Super Bowl show?
Rihanna shed light on her decision in November 2022 HEY article. She said only a stage as big as the Super Bowl could get her to perform, especially since she became a mother in May 2022.
“I can’t believe I even said yes. It was one of those things that even when I announced it, I was like, ‘OK, I can’t go back. Now it feels like it’s final,’” she told ET. “The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world, it’s an entertainer’s dream to be on a stage like this.
“But it’s annoying. You want to do it right. You know, everyone’s watching. And they support you. And I want to do it right.”
Rihanna told ET it was a “now or never” moment, adding, “Nothing would have gotten me out of the house if it wasn’t a challenge like that.”
“You might be very comfortable being at home as a mother, (so it’s) challenging me to do something that I’ve never done before in my career. I have to be at the height of this challenge,” she said.
At a press conference Thursday to discuss the Super Bowl performance, she expanded on her reasoning.
“I feel like it could only have been now,” she said. “I mean, when I got the first call to do it again this year, I was like, ‘Are you sure? Like, I’m three months postpartum, like, should I make big decisions like this one right now? Like, I might regret it.’
“But when you become a mom, something happens where you feel like you can take on the world, you can do anything. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world, as scary as that was – because I haven’t been on stage in seven years – there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it. And it’s important for me to do it this year. It’s important for the performance. C It’s important for my son to see this.”
She did not say why she accepted the NFL’s request to perform at the Super Bowl four years after turning them down in solidarity with Kaepernick.
MORE: Five Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows | Five Worst Super Bowl Halftime Shows
Rihanna’s involvement in Jay-Z’s Roc Nation
Rihanna rose to the challenge of performing at the Super Bowl, but that should be mitigated at least in part by the involvement of Jay-Z and Roc Nation, who have partnered with the NFL since 2019 to host the halftime shows. of the league’s Super Bowl.
These include Jennifer Lopez and Shakira in 2020, The Weeknd in 2021, and the critically acclaimed Los Angeles show in 2022 which starred Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and 50 Hundred.
Rihanna changed direction for Roc Nation in 2010, then left Def Jam Records in 2014 to sign full-time with Jay-Z’s agency. His familiarity with Jay-Z and Roc Nation — and the agency’s experience with halftime shows — should, in theory, make it easier.
MORE: How much do Super Bowl halftime performers get paid?
What songs will Rihanna perform at Super Bowl 57?
Rihanna didn’t say which of her songs will be playing at Super Bowl 57 halftime. She said it was one of the biggest challenges in preparing for the show.
“The setlist was the biggest challenge. That was the hardest part: deciding how to maximize 13 minutes, but also celebrating,” she said. “That’s what this show is going to be. It’s going to be a celebration of my catalog in the best way we could have put it together.”
As such, some songs she would have wanted in the performance “we have to lose because of this, and it will be fine”. She added that she felt comfortable with the selection.
“There’s probably about 39 releases of the setlist right now…every little change counts,” she said Thursday. “Whether I want to cut a guitar, cut something, add something, or just put in a whole new song, or take a song out. Every time I make a change, something has to be updated. It’s a new version.
“You’re going to see on Sunday, from the moment it starts, it never ends until it’s, like, the very last second. I know I’m saying too much, but it’s a full-on show. crack.”
MORE: The odds on which songs will be in the 2023 halftime show
Who are Rihanna’s halftime collaborators?
It’s unclear which performers, if any, will join Rihanna on stage during the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, other than deaf performer Justina Miles, who will sign the show in American Sign Language.
Rihanna has teamed up with several artists in her music career. These include Jay-Z himself (“Umbrella”), Britney Spears (“S&M”), Calvin Harris (“We Found Love”), Kanye West and Paul McCartney (“FourFiveSeconds)” or Eminem (“Love the Way You Lie” and “The Monster”), among others.
There’s also the possibility of Rihanna becoming the first solo Super Bowl performer since Lady Gaga in 2017. She told ET in November that she wanted to “incorporate a lot of culture” into the show.
“I want to incorporate different aspects of entertainment and things that I enjoy and bring them to life,” she said. “I want to celebrate the music I’ve made.”
Other than that, she didn’t give much indication of what exactly the show will entail. In a November 2022 interview with AND! Newsshe said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. It’s going to be awesome anyway.”