Rihanna Reveals Some Behind The Scenes Insight On The Recording of ‘ANTI’
Love it or hate it – Rihanna’s ‘ANTI’ has been the topic of conversation since its release at the beginning of January. Sure, we have the songs and we get the message behind all of them, but we’ve never heard Rihanna get candid about the inspiration and recording process for her eighth record.
Luckily – Ri’s latest interview with VOGUE pulls back the veil of mystery that has clouded ‘ANTI’ since recording began. There’s always been rumors of Rihanna flip-flopping back and forth about the record – going from loving it to hating it – and, like all rumors, it seems like those emotions rang true throughout the album’s creation.
I went through so many emotions and roller coasters of feeling good, loving it, hating it, doubting myself, hating myself. “This is awful.” “I lost it.” “Wait, but I do love it still.” “But then—” And it’s like, no. Eventually you just need to know who you are. You know when something is you. You know when you love it and that’s the only thing that matters.
It must be hard to question your work and what the reception will be when you’re constantly being pegged as an innovator in pop and one of the biggest female artists of all time. Even Rihanna is aware of how much time she spent away from music and that the world was watching and waiting for her to change the sound of pop for the millionth time.
Every time we’ve done an album, we’ve always stepped out a little bit. But this time, again, we spent so much time in between albums that I needed the music to match my growth. I didn’t want to get caught up with anything the world liked, anything the radio liked, anything that I liked, that I’ve already heard. I just wanted it to be me.
And it seems like she found the perfect balance of genres and songs to truly capture who Rihanna is at this time in her life. There was a bit of an uproar when Rihanna classified ‘ANTI’ as “classic” during its early days (a comment that turned us off once we heard the album in full). Despite the record not living up to that description and seeming to be all over the place from conception to release, Rihanna always had her focus set on delivering the best possible record that she could stand behind at this point in her career.
I didn’t really know what the sound of the album would be in the beginning. I knew what I wanted to feel. I didn’t quite know how I wanted to hear it, but I knew that I would know it when I felt it. And so I went through a host of songs—songs that I thought were big and songs that I thought were up-tempo and would make sense. In the end, I just gravitated toward the songs that were honest to where I’m at right now, and how I think. The things that I want to listen to. The things that I want to smoke to.
Like we said, ‘ANTI’ is not for everyone. It wasn’t even for us in the beginning, but we’ve warmed up to it quite well. After its release, it proved to be a success and is set up to release a slew of hit singles throughout the year. It seemed like a hard feat to accomplish, but Rihanna did it. She took something that was rather disastrous and turned it into something great; and now we have a little bit of insight into how it came to be. Of course, there are still a lot of questions left unanswered – and we may not ever get those answers – but this little bit helps us appreciate the record for what it is a little bit more.
To read more from Rihanna’s VOGUE interview, including behind the scenes stories about ‘Higher’ and ‘Consideration’, click here.
Watch POPTalk to see our expert of panelists discuss everything about ‘ANTI’.