Super Bowl 2023 halftime performer Rihanna discusses preparation for Sunday

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Rihanna speaks during Thursday’s press conference for the Apple Music Super Bowl 57 halftime show at the Phoenix Convention Center. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The logo for the 2023 Super Bowl stands in Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, representing Arizona’s fourth Super Bowl with a bright desert landscape (Photo by Reece Andrews/Cronkite News).

PHOENIX – Fans have heard from Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs players every day this week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Today, another big game performer will speak ahead of Sunday.

Rihanna, who will perform during the Super Bowl 57 halftime show, joins the Super Bowl LVII Pregame + Apple Music Super bowl LVII Halftime Show Press Conference to discuss her upcoming performance.

Plus, the Chiefs and Eagles will share final remarks before the big game.

Follow along for highlights, news and analysis from the Cronkite News team before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday.

Read more:

LIVE: Super Bowl LVII Pregame + Halftime Show Press Conference!

Rihanna, pregame performers discuss Super Bowl Sunday acts

PHOENIX – After years of waiting for her return, Rihanna took center stage for a press conference on Thursday preparing for her Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show performance.

The press conference opened up with all three pregame performers; Chris Stapleton (National Anthem), Babyface (America the Beautiful) and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Lift Every Voice and Sing) will kick off Super Bowl LVII with their renditions of America’s most cherished songs.

Ralph, ever the Broadway star, smiled from ear to ear on the Phoenix Convention Center stage. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be sitting at the Super Bowl,” Ralph said.

The Grammy award-winning R&B singer-songwriter, Babyface, didn’t have a Super Bowl performance on his bucket list because “it wasn’t something (he) imagined (he’d) ever do.” Country legend, Chris Stapleton, didn’t think he’d ever get the call either. But once he did, he said “okay, let’s do this.”

Rihanna came on after the pregame lineup, speaking with Apple Music Radio’s Nadeska Alexis. The Barbados-born global music star, who hasn’t released an album since her 2016 smash hit “Anti”.

She’s certainly coming back with a boom, and a lot of work goes into a performance as big as the halftime show. “It’s incredible, it’s almost impossible,” Rihanna said.

“There’s been a lot of preparation, a lot of moving parts this week, and this is the week that it’s really being tested. I mean, there’s literally like 400 people breaking down the stage, building it back up and getting it out in eight minutes.”

Hard work is something that has always been a part of Rihanna, and she gives all the credit to upbringing. “It came from my childhood growing up in the Caribbean with my mom. She’s a very humble woman, her mom was a very humble woman. I’ve never lost sight of that,” she said.

She will be representing all of those who she grew up with in Barbados, all of those who came before and those who will continue to succeed in the future.

“That’s a big part of why this is important for representation. Representing immigrants, representing my country Barbados, representing black women everywhere,” Rihanna said. “That’s the key for people to see the possibilities and I’m really honored to be doing it this year.”

News Reporter, Phoenix

Arizona PBS

Reece Andrews REES AN-drooz (he/him)
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Reece Andrews expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Andrews has worked for the State Press and at WCSN. He has also been in Cronkite News Los Angeles.

Spencer Gustafson SPEN-ser GUHS-tuv-sun
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Spencer Gustafson is in his third semester at the Phoenix Sports bureau. Gustafson, a digital reporter, has interned with the Savannah Bananas and will graduate in spring 2023.

Ashley Madrigal ASH-lee MAD-ri-gal
Sports Broadcast Reporter, Phoenix

Ashley Madrigal expects to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Madrigal, who is assigned Cronkite Sports this semester, has interned as a reporter for KJZZ.