Nine months after being brutally beaten by ex-boyfriend Chris Brown, Rihanna says making her new album, Rated R, helped her heal.
"I can tell you that making this album was my recovery. It's the way I vented and expressed myself," the singer, 21, told MSNBC of her comeback disc, out Nov. 23.
In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer Thursday, Rihanna confirmed that Brown, 20, held her in a headlock twice and bit her on the ear and fingers the night before the Grammys. Brown was sentenced to five years of probation, six months of community service and one year of domestic violence counseling for his actions.
"I stayed. I even went back after he beat me, which was wrong," Rihanna told Sawyer. "But again…I'm a human being and people put me on a very unrealistic pedestal. And all these expectations, I'm not perfect."
About one month after the February attack, Rihanna was back at work prepping Rated R, and says putting her emotions into song has been cathartic.
"It's a really fearless album," she said. "A lot of people are saying things like, it's dark, but it's a very honest album and I made it in a very truthful way. I let my guard down and telling my story and being a little more vulnerable and expressing myself. I really vented in my music. I go through a lot of different music and moods in the album. You definitely will learn a lot about what's going through my head."
And while Rihanna finds it tough to pick a favorite song off the album — its first single, "Roulette" debuted Oct. 20 — there is one very telling track, she says.
"It's called 'Photographs,'" she tells MSNBC. "It's about a breakup, and the only thing you have to show for the relationship is some pictures."