Rihanna

  • Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados in 1988.
  • At 15 years old, she formed a trio with classmates in Barbados. An American record producer traveling in Barbados heard an audition by the group, and was impressed with Rihanna’s voice. He brought her to the U.S. to record demo tapes. She did this intermittently, when she was not in school. At 16, she signed with a production company to manage her.
  • The demo tape landed with Jay Z, the head of Def Jam Records. In 2005, Rihanna auditioned for Jay Z, singing her future single Pon de Replay and Whitney Houston’s For the Love of You. He immediately signed her to a six record deal.
  • Her debut album, Music of the Sun, was released in the summer of 2005. Seventeen year old Rihanna was about to become big. The album peaked at #10, and the single Pon de Replay reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling over 2 million copies.
  • In 2006, her second album was released – A Girl Like Me. She had her first #1 single with this record, SOS. The songs Unfaithful and Break It Off also hit the top 10.
  • Her next album was a departure from the Caribbean sound of her first albums, moving to more of a pop music sound. 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad, became her biggest selling album. A year later, it was reissued as Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, with 3 additional songs. Singles that hit #1 from these albums were Umbrella, Take a Bow, and Disturbia. Umbrella won her first Grammy award – the first of 8 that she has won.
  • Rihanna has released 5 additional albums from 2009 to 2016. All have been huge successes, with 7 more #1 singles, and 15 singles hitting top 10 status. Singles that have sold over 5 million copies include Needed Me, Work (featuring Drake), Stay (featuring Mikky Ekko), Diamonds, What’s My Name? (featuring Drake), Only Girl (In the World), Rude Boy, and her biggest selling single, We Found Love (featuring Calvin Harris), with over 10.5 million digital sales.
  • Some of the songs she has done in collaboration with other artists have been big hits. Most notable is the Eminem song Love the Way You Lie, which peaked at #1 for 7 weeks in 2010, and has sold over 11 million copies. Rihanna sings the pop refrain while Eminem raps during the verses.
  • Her mezzo-soprano voice has a range that covers over 3 octaves. Her style has changed over the years, particularly after she was physically assaulted by her then boyfriend Chris Brown. Her pop songs have a lot of R&B, hip hop and EDM elements to them.
  • She is huge in the fashion industry, has several fragrances and owns a cosmetic company. She is co-owner of a music streaming service. She has performed in several films and TV shows.
  • Rihanna has become one of music’s biggest names in this decade. Her videos are among the most watched on YouTube. Here is her most popular video, Diamonds. It shows her in the 4 environments representing earth, air, water and fire.

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