NEW YORK (AFP) - Singing sensation Rihanna says her long-awaited new album will be out shortly - and that it's going to defy expectations.
The R&B superstar, who has not put out an album in three years after nearly annual releases since her 2005 debut, announced on Instagram that the new work would be called Anti and is coming "soon."
While staying mum on the music, the 27-year-old revealed the cover of the record.
Painted by pop artist Roy Nachum, it depicts a child Rihanna with a golden crown over her eyes, holding up a balloon over a blood-red backdrop.
Offering an ambitious explanation of the Anti theme, Rihanna wrote that she and Nachum believed they have "changed the history of album art".
"By continuing to follow her own instincts, her work strives to make an impact by doing the very antithesis of what the public expects," her Instagram posting said.
The Barbados-born singer, known for her rich voice and talent holding long notes, has released a string of top-charting singles including Only Girl (In The World), Rude Boy and Diamonds.
Her last album, Unapologetic, debuted at No. 1.
Since then, she has released individual tracks including FourFiveSeconds, a collaboration with rapper Kanye West and Beatles legend Paul McCartney.
But her public image is also marked by her troubled past relationship with rapper Chris Brown, who was convicted in 2009 of beating her.
Rihanna, whose performance at the 2009 Grammys was canceled after the assault, said in an interview published in the latest edition of Vanity Fair that she had stayed with Brown in hopes of changing him.
"I was very protective of him. I felt that people didn't understand him," Rihanna told the magazine.
"But you know, you realise after a while that in that situation you're the enemy," she said.
"You want the best for them, but if you remind them of their failures, or if you remind them of bad moments in their life, or even if you say I'm willing to put up with something, they think less of you - because they know you don't deserve what they're going to give."