Rihanna teased a potential timeline for new music in a recent interview with British Vogue.
For the magazine’s latest cover story, the 34-year-old hitmaker explained why it’s taking so long to release her ninth album, affectionately dubbed “R9” by fans.
Rihanna said she’s so proud of her last album, 2016’s “Anti,” that she feels “toxic” pressure to make her next album better.
“In hindsight, it really is my most brilliant album,” she said of “Anti,” which charted on the Billboard 200 for five years and was nominated for several Grammys. It also spawned hit songs like “Work” and “Needed Me.”
“I say that because in the moment, I didn’t realize it. But it always felt like the most cohesive album I’ve ever made,” she said. “But there’s this pressure that I put on myself. That if it’s not better than that then it is not even worth it.”
“It’s not the right way to look at music because music is an outlet and a space to create, and you can create whatever,” she continued. “It doesn’t have to even be on any scale. It just has to be something that feels good. It could just be a song that I like. It literally could be that simple.”
Rihanna said her perfectionism has extended her creative process because listening to unreleased songs from the past few years is “almost like trying to dress like you used to dress.”
“It’s like, ‘Ew, no. I would never wear those again.’ Your taste changes, your vibe changes,” she explained.
However, Rihanna promised that she will release “R9” eventually — and hopefully in 2023.
“I realized that if I keep waiting until this feels right and perfect and better, maybe it’s going to keep taking forever and maybe it’ll never come out and no, I’m not down to that,” she said. “So I want to play. And by play, I mean I have my ideas in my head, but I can’t say them out loud yet.”
“I want it to be this year,” Rihanna continued. “Like, honestly, it’d be ridiculous if it’s not this year. But I just want to have fun. I just want to make music and make videos.”
Rihanna has repeatedly teased her long-awaited ninth album and previously said it would be reggae-inspired.
When she agreed to headline the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, many fans hoped that would mean new music was imminent, since many pop stars have used the performance to promote an album or tour.
Instead, Rihanna used the performance on Sunday to reveal that she’s pregnant with her second child.