March 16th, 2011
11:14 AM ET
Rihanna's life hasn't been the same since she was assaulted by her ex Chris Brown in 2009, but the singer says the experience changed her for the better.
"It actually gave me a lot of liberation,” she tells the April issue of Vogue. "What I mean is, I was able to tap into the personal part of my music. I started to tell stories through my music that were actually my stories. My album before that, there was still a little bit of protection, there was still an innocence to me. And what that time in my life did was kind of wake people up: It’s not all a bed of roses. My life is like yours.”
Yet some were surprised by her album following that incident, the gritty "Rated R."
"It was darker, edgier, more aggressive. I can’t come out singing happy songs if I’m not happy," Rihanna explains. "Even the look of it, the styling, what I wore. But I quickly found peace in myself: who I am and what I want to do in life. I couldn’t hold on to all that pain and anger, because I knew that wasn’t me at all.”
It was during that same time that Rihanna says she was betrayed by another man: Her father, Ronald Fenty, spoke to the tabloids about his daughter, with whom he has had a strained relationship.
“My dad went to the press and just told them a bunch of lies. Because he hadn’t talked to me after… that whole thing… He never called to find out how I was doing, if I was alive, nothing. He just never called. He went straight to the press and got a check."
Her father has talked to the press again more recently, and the singer told Vogue that she struggles to understand his behavior. “It really makes me question what I have become to my father," she says. "Like, what do I even mean to him?
"It’s really strange. That’s the only word I can think of to describe it, because you grow up with your father, you know him, you are part of him, for goodness’ sakes! And then he does something so bizarre that I can’t begin to wrap my mind around it. You hear the horror stories about people going behind people’s backs and doing strange things, but you always think, 'Not my family. My father would never do that to me.'"
Romantically, Rihanna seems ready for a break. She recently dated Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but says she hasn't found romance since.
“I just kind of shut down from that,” she says. “I just let it go. I don’t ever want to have to depend on a relationship. I think it’s a really special thing to find love. It’s beautiful. Nothing can match it. But I want to make sure that I find other things in life that I love besides… love.”
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