New music? A fashion show? Rihanna’s putting in work, work, work, work for resurgence
It’s hard to imagine a year gone by when Rihanna wasn’t the biggest media player in pop music. The star’s fourth album, Unapologetic, sold 10 million copies, the soundtrack for major movies and made her the most-streamed artist on Spotify. Now that she’s got her sights set on the Grammys and the Billboard Music Awards, the 24-year-old singer seems determined to cement herself as an artist with bona fides. She spent the summer on the road in the United States, Australia and Europe, headlining gigs that paid as much as $1 million—a steep outlay for a singer who hasn’t performed in public since she was 19 years old. It’s also not exactly new to Rihanna to get down to business and make money, as she was able to make a profit last year after selling her first solo album in its entirety. But her new music—which is on track to debut at number one next month on the album charts—suggests she’s done more than pay her bills.
In late August, Rihanna launched a global tour—and a fashion show—that was in the vein of her 2011 Red Tour, in which the singer had worn nothing but ruffles and velvet and pearls. But this time, Rihanna’s look was a striking departure, with a bolder color scheme and a number of bright prints that she paired with black leather pants, black leather skirts and an array of high-end sunglasses. (She wore her first pair of Gucci sunglasses.) “I didn’t get into fashion,” she told Billboard during the tour. “It [is] something I discovered through the whole process.”
By late September, Rihanna had arrived in New York