Rihanna Reveals That She Lied About the Reason She Skipped Her 2016 Grammy Performance

Remember when Rihanna was supposed to perform at the 2016 Grammy Awards? Her eighth studio album, Anti, had just dropped and fans were seriously excited to hear her sing some of their favorite tunes from the project. But sadly, she dropped out at the very last minute. Her representatives cited health issues, but Rihanna confessed in a new interview that there was more to her decision not to take the stage: anxiety.

Rihanna at an event in October 2019 in New York City
Rihanna at an event in October 2019 in New York City | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

A look back at Rihanna’s scheduled Grammy performance

Following the January 2016 release of Anti, Rihanna was booked to take the stage at the award show, which went down on Feb. 15. She was supposed to be introduced by television host James Corden and perform the steamy ballad “Kiss It Better.”

“A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would introduce Rihanna on the show,” Corden said on a post-Grammy episode of the Late Late Show. “So I get this phone call saying ‘Rihanna’s got this big thing planned for her song ‘Kiss It Better,’ and she’s doing like a whole Eighties talk show thing. It’s going to be really cool and what she wants you to do is be like an Eighties talk show.’”

He agreed and went on to rehearse with Rihanna, who he said was “under the weather.” But when the time to perform came around, Rihanna pulled out of the show. Her representatives told Billboard that she had bronchitis and had been ordered to rest her voice for 48 hours. The singer herself spoke out on Twitter and apologized to her fans for missing out.

Rihanna’s comments on her 2016 Grammy performance

In an interview with British Vogue that was published on March 30, Rihanna admitted that she can sometimes experience crippling anxiety and that it actually factored into her decision to skip the Grammy performance.

“Oh, I’m nervous before even getting in the car to go to something,” she said. “It can be devastating. And when I pull up to the red carpet, I’m like…” she continued, making noises if she were hyperventilating.

“Are you kidding me? I left the Grammys one time. Left! In the middle of my hair and make-up. My hair half up, half of my lash on…” she said, referring to the 2016 show.

She went on to say that anxiety is something she continues to struggle with now. “Being on camera, being in a room full of celebrities is still not normal for me, by the way,” Rihanna added.

What Rihanna has been up to music-wise

Rihanna took some time off from music following Anti‘s release to focus on other business ventures. She launched a makeup line, a lingerie brand, and more. But now that four years have passed since her last album, she’s focusing more on music and getting something out to her fans. She doesn’t know when the album will come out but she told British Vogue she is “very aggressively” working on it. Here’s what you can expect to hear on the album.

Also check out: Chris Brown Reportedly Had an Awkward Reaction to Rihanna’s Split From Hassan Jameel