Rihanna Is 'So Focused' on Super Bowl Halftime Show That She 'Forgot' Her Birthday and Valentine's Day

The superstar also teased "weird" new music and spoke about representing Barbados at her upcoming Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show during a press conference

Rihanna speaks during a press conference for the Apple Music Super Bowl 57 halftime show at the Phoenix Convention Center on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Rihanna. Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty

Rihanna is opening up about how becoming a mother has given her the courage to tackle this year's Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 12, which marks her first live performance since the 2018 Grammy Awards.

During a press conference held on Thursday by Apple Music, the official sponsor for the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show, the Barbados-born superstar spoke about preparing for the career-defining performance at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

"Sunday, now that's the one. I've been so focused on the Super Bowl I totally forgot that my birthday's coming up. I totally forgot about Valentine's Day," the Grammy winner, 34, told Apple Music host Nadeska Alexis.

The upcoming performance also marks Rihanna's first since welcoming her first child, a son, in May 2022 with rapper A$AP Rocky, an experience she said has only made the moment more important.

"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, 'You sure? I'm three months postpartum. Should I be making major decisions like this right now? I might regret this,'" she said, seemingly referencing the time she previously turned down headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show in support of NFL player Colin Kaepernick's peaceful protests against police brutality.

rihanna and son
Rihanna and her son. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Rihanna/TikTok

"But when you become a mom, 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," added Rihanna. "So, as scary as that was... 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."

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While she was tight-lipped about what's to come in the performance, Rihanna admitted that choosing which songs to sing "was the biggest challenge," as she's gone through "probably about 39 versions of the setlist."

"That was the hardest, hardest part — deciding how to maximize 13 minutes but also celebrate. That's what this show is gonna be — it's gonna be a celebration of my catalog in the best way that we could've put it together," teased Rihanna. "You're trying to cram 17 years of work into 13 minutes, so it's difficult. Some songs we have to lose because of that, and that's gonna be OK, but I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing it down."

Rihanna poses on stage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Press Conference at Phoenix Convention Center on February 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Preparing her body for the jam-packed show, especially less than a year after giving birth, has also been a massive undertaking for the "Diamonds" musician.

"The physical challenge has definitely been immense for many reasons, of course. I haven't done this in a minute. You're just running around for 13 minutes, trying to put a 2-hour set in 13 minutes, and you're gonna see on Sunday," explained Rihanna. "From the time it starts, it just never ends until it's the very last second… It's a jam-packed show, and it takes a toll on your body, it really does."

Additionally, she plans to incorporate elements of Caribbean culture into the performance. "That's a big part of why this is important for me to do this show — representation, representing for immigrants, representing for my country of Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere," said Rihanna. "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."

Rihanna at the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show Press Conference held at Phoenix Convention Center on February 9, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Rihanna. Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty

The musician also spoke about her career-long journey to the Apple Music Halftime Show and what that means to her. "It's a long way from home, right? It's a beautiful journey that I'm on, and I could've never guessed that I would've made it here, so it's a celebration of that," she added. "And I'm really excited to have Barbados on the Super Bowl stage."

Fans have been wondering if Rihanna will drop new music around the performance, and while she didn't share many details, she did drop a few hints about how she's been approaching her next project.

"Musically, I'm feeling open. I'm feeling open to exploring, discovering [and] creating things that are new, things that are different, things that are off, weird, might never make sense to my fans," she teased. "I just want to play. I just want to have fun with music."

The Super Bowl, featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, will kick off on the evening of Feb. 12.

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