Entertainment

Rihanna returns to music with first solo single in 6 years

Rihanna made a much-anticipated musical comeback this week, releasing her first solo single in six years: the song Lift Me Up for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, an upcoming sequel to the 2018 superhero blockbuster. 

Pop star honours late actor Chadwick Boseman on Black Panther sequel soundtrack

Rihanna arrives at the world premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Wed., Oct. 26, 2022, at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles. The singer released her first song in six years on Friday, the first of two contributions to the sequel film's soundtrack. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/The Associated Press)

Please don't stop the music, fans pleaded — and Rihanna listened.

The Barbados-born singer and mogul made a much-anticipated musical comeback this week, releasing her first solo single in six years: the song Lift Me Up for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, an upcoming sequel to the 2018 superhero blockbuster. 

An instrumental version of the song is also available on streaming platforms.

Rihanna is one of the best-selling female musical artists of all time, but she went on a years-long, unofficial hiatus from music to focus on her Fenty Beauty cosmetics company.

The new song — pairing the pop star's vocals with a delicate piano arrangement and a plucky Spanish guitar —  is a tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman, according to a press release from Universal Music Canada.

Boseman, who played Black Panther in the original film, died of colon cancer in 2020. The track was written by Rihanna, Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems, Wakanda Forever composer Ludwig Göransson and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. 

On Friday, the singer released a music video on social media to mark the song's release. She teased the video on her social media channels.

But that's not all: Riri recorded a second song titled Born Again that is featured during the film's credits, according to pop culture site Vulture.

In the years since turning to her business ventures, Rihanna made several guest appearances on hits like DJ Khaled's Wild Thoughts, Calvin Harris' This Is What You Came For and Drake's Too Good. But fans haven't heard a lick of new original music since her 2016 album, ANTI.

Last month, Rihanna announced that she will headline the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show. She'd previously declined to perform at the event in 2019, in a show of solidarity with NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick.

Though little is known about it beyond Rihanna's contributions, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's soundtrack will be available on Nov. 4. The movie arrives in Canadian theatres on Nov. 11.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna Benchetrit is a web journalist for CBC News. Based in Toronto and born in Montreal, she holds a master's degree in journalism from Ryerson University. Reach her at jenna.benchetrit@cbc.ca or on Twitter @jennabenchetrit.

With files from Ashleigh-Rae Thomas

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