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Rihanna opens up about accepting Super Bowl halftime show: ‘It was so scary!’

The "Life Me Up" singer spoke candidly about performing for the first time since 2016 and saying "yes" to the Super Bowl as a new mother.
Rihanna poses for photos after the Super Bowl LVII Apple Music Halftime Show press conference held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Picture date: Thursday February 9, 2023. Super Bowl LVII will take place Sunday Feb. 12, 2023 between the Kansas City Chie
Rihanna poses for photos after the Super Bowl LVII Apple Music Halftime Show press conference held at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday February 9, 2023.Anthony Behar / PA Images via Getty
/ Source: TODAY

Rihanna is returning the stage on Sunday, Feb. 12 for the Super Bowl LVII halftime show, but not without some initial nerves about the big performance.

The 34-year-old opened up about her feelings during the premiere episode of “The Process with Nate Burleson” podcast. When Burleson asked what Rihanna felt when she was asked to perform at this year's Super Bowl, she described the moment as “so scary.”

“It was kind of unexpected. My son was only maybe 3-months-old,” she explained. “So this was one of those things, it was, ‘Are you going to come outside?’ And not just come outside, but to the biggest stage ever. I haven’t performed in like 7 years…2016 was my last tour and that to me was the last time I remember being out there on the stage.”

Rihanna reflected on her time away from performing, adding, “I miss it, but to come back from zero to the Super Bowl, that’s kind of nuts.”

The “Umbrella” singer said she “didn’t know what to think” about her big performance, but that she knew it was going to be a “challenge.”

“That gets me excited. I think that was the real push for me,” she said, later adding, “This is a big stage, and once I said yes, there was only one job to get done and that was to do great and to have fun. That was my goal. I just want to put on a great show and I want to enjoy it. I don’t want the pressure to succumb me.”

When it came to finding inspiration for her own halftime show, Rihanna said she studied past performances to help get prepared for her own, including Beyoncé's iconic halftime show at the 2013 Super Bowl.

“I watched Beyoncé’s halftime performances a couple of times," Rihanna said. "She is a beast and a whole other level. Just to be inspired really."

While talking to Burleson, Rihanna also reflected on motherhood during the podcast appearance. In May 2022, she welcomed her first child, a son, with her boyfriend A$AP Rocky.

When she was asked what she lives for today, she immediately answered, "My son."

“Everything matters now," she explained. "You really start to take a lot into account. Like, skydiving might go on the back burner for now. You really think about stuff like that. It’s not worth it.”

As for how her life and her perspective on various aspects of her career have changed since welcoming her son, she said that “everything is different” now.

“Life before my son seems very obscure," she said. "It’s very far in the rearview mirror to me. It’s very small and cloudy, but it just got better with him. It got better. It’s so much hard work but nothing is more fulfilling than that.”

Rihanna has also previously cited her son as her inspiration for saying yes to take on the Super Bowl halftime show in 2023.

During a November 2022 interview with Extra’s Terri Seymour, she explained, “I feel like it was now or never, really. There’s this weird s--t that happens when you become a mom — that you just unleash or unlock other parts of your superpower.”

Rihanna added, “I wanted to take on the challenge and I wanted to do something that would force me to get back onstage.”