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This article is about the Barbadian singer. For other uses, see Rihanna (disambiguation).

Robyn Rihanna Fenty (/riˈænə/;[2] born 20 February 1988) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados and raised in Bridgetown, during 2003, she recorded demo tapes under the direction of record producer Evan Rogersand signed a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for its then-president, hip hop producer and rapper Jay-Z. In 2005, Rihanna rose to fame with the release of her debut studio album Music of the Sun and its follow-up A Girl like Me (2006), which charted on the top 10 of the US Billboard 200 and respectively produced the successful singles "Pon de Replay", "SOS" and "Unfaithful".

Rihanna
Rihanna in 2014
Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty

20 February 1988 (age 30)
Saint Michael, Barbados

Occupation
  • Singer 
  • songwriter 
  • actress
Years active 2003–present
Net worth US$230 million

(est. 2017)[1]

Musical career
Genres
  • R&B 
  • pop 
  • reggae 
  • hip hop 
  • dance
Labels
  • Def Jam 
  • Roc Nation 
  • SRP 
  • Westbury Road
Associated acts
  • Calvin Harris 
  • Chris Brown 
  • Drake 
  • Eminem 
  • Jay-Z 
  • Kanye West 
  • Ne-Yo
Website rihanna.com
Signature

She assumed creative control for her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad (2007) and adopted a public image as a sex symbol, while reinventing her music. Its lead single "Umbrella" became an international breakthrough in her career, as she won her first Grammy Award at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in 2008. She then annually released four consecutive RIAA multi-platinum certified studio albums, including the Grammy Awardwinner Unapologetic (2012). Her eighth studio album Anti (2016) topped the US Billboard 200 and became one of the most streamed albums of the year.[3]Many of her songs rank among the world's best-selling singles of all time, including the singles "Umbrella", "Take a Bow", "Disturbia", "Only Girl (In the World)", "S&M", "We Found Love", "Diamonds", "Stay" and "Work" in which she is the lead artist, and her collaborations "Live Your Life" (with T.I.), "Love the Way You Lie" and "The Monster" (both with Eminem).

Recognized as a pop icon of today's music, Rihanna is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with 250 million records sold worldwide.[4] Rihanna is the youngest solo artist to earn fourteen number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and has a total of thirty one top-ten singles. She was named the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade, the top Hot 100 artist of the 2010s decade, as well as the all-time top Pop Songs artist by Billboard.[5][6][7][8] Additionally, she is Spotify's most streamed female artist of all time.[9] Among numerous awards and accolades, Rihanna has won nine Grammy Awards, twelve American Music Awards and twelve Billboard Music Awards. Furthermore, she was awarded with the inaugural American Music Award for Icon in 2013 and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 2016. Rihanna received the Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2014. In 2012, Forbes ranked her the fourth most powerful celebrity, while Time included her on the annual list of the most influential people in the world.[10]

Contents

Early life

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on 20 February 1988,[11] in Saint Michael, Barbados. Her mother, Monica (Braithwaite), is a retired accountant of Afro-Guyanese background, and her father, Ronald Fenty, is a warehouse supervisor of Afro-Barbadian and Irish descent.[12][13]Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty, and two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born to different mothers from his previous relationships.[14][15]She grew up in a three-bedroom bungalow in Bridgetown and sold clothes with her father in a stall on the street. Rihanna's childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol, which contributed to her parents' strained marriage. As a child, she went through a lot of CT scans for the excruciating headaches she suffered: "[The doctors] even thought it was a tumor, because it was that intense."[14] By the time she was fourteen, Rihanna's parents had divorced and her health began to improve.[13][16] Rihanna grew up listening to reggae music and began singing at around the age of seven.[14][17] She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and Combermere High School, where she studied alongside future England cricketer Chris Jordan and future West Indies cricketer Carlos Brathwaite.[18][14] Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme; the singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant.[19] Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue a musical career instead.[20]

Career

2003–2005: Beginnings and debut

In 2003, Rihanna formed a musical trio with two of her classmates.[14] She was discovered in her home country of Barbados by American record producer Evan Rogers. Without a name or any material, the girl group managed to land an audition with Rogers who commented, "The minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn't exist".[14]Rihanna went to Rogers' hotel room, where she performed renditions of Destiny's Child's "Emotion" and Mariah Carey's "Hero".[21] Impressed, Rogers scheduled a second meeting with her mother present, and then invited her to his hometown in the United States to record some demo tapes which could be sent to record labels.[21] She recorded the demo over the next year intermittently, due to only being able to record during school holidays. "Pon de Replay" and "The Last Time" were two tracks recorded for the demo tape, which were eventually included on her debut album Music of the Sun.[22][23] That same year, Rihanna was signed to Rogers' and Carl Sturken's production company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions.[21]

Rihanna's demo was shipped out to Def Jam Recordings, where Jay Brown, an A&Rexecutive at the record label, was one of the first to hear the demo. Brown played the demo tape for rapper Jay-Z, who had recently been appointed as president and Chief executive officer (CEO) of Def Jam.[24] When Jay-Z first heard the track "Pon de Replay", he felt the song was too big for her.[25] Despite being skeptical, he invited Rihanna to audition for the label. In early 2005, Rihanna auditioned for Def Jam in New York, where Jay-Z introduced her to music mogul Antonio "L.A." Reid.[21][26] At the audition, she sang Whitney Houston's cover of "For the Love of You" (1987), as well as the demo tracks "Pon de Replay" and "The Last Time".[21] Jay-Z was absolutely certain about signing her after she performed her future hit single "Pon de Replay".[25] His boss L.A. Reid was also impressed with her audition, telling Jay-Z not to let Rihanna leave the building until the contract was signed.[27] Reid left it to Jay-Z and his team to close the deal which resulted in a six-album record deal with Def Jam. She waited in Jay-Z's office until three in the morning to get lawyers to draft up a contract because he wanted to prevent her from signing with another label.[25] Rihanna cancelled other meetings with record labels and relocated from Barbados to the United States to live with Rogers and his wife.[28]

After signing with Def Jam, Jay-Z and his team did the A&R for Rihanna's debut album and spent the next three months recording and completing her debut album.[27] She worked with different producers to complete her debut studio album, primarily Rogers and his production partner Carl Sturken.[29] With several songs to pick as a lead single, "Pon de Replay" was chosen because it seemed like the best song suited for a summer release.[30] In May 2005, her debut single, "Pon de Replay", was released under her mononym "Rihanna". It charted successfully worldwide, peaking in the top five in fifteen countries, including at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart.[31] The song became a big club hit in the United States, peaking at number-one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs.[32]

Music of the Sun was released in August 2005. It debuted at number ten on the Billboard200 and received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America(RIAA), denoting shipments of over 500,000 units.[33] The album sold over two million copies worldwide. A second single, "If It's Lovin' that You Want", was not as successful as its predecessor, but reached the top ten in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.[34] Aside from her work in music, Rihanna made her acting debut in a cameo role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: All or Nothing, released in August 2006.[35]

2006–2008: Breakthrough and new image

Rihanna performing at the KIIS-FM Jingle Ball, December 2006

A month after the release of her debut album, Rihanna began working on her second studio album.[36] A Girl like Me was released in April 2006.[37] Rolling Stone felt that "the burning rock guitar" and haunted strings of some of the album's tracks made "A Girl like Me [...] likable."[38] The album was a commercial success, charting in the top ten in thirteen countries. The album reached number one in Canada and number five in the United Kingdom and the United States, where it sold 115,000 copies in its first week.[33][39] The album became Rihanna's first to be certified Platinum by the RIAA, after selling over 1,000,000 units.[40] Its lead single, "SOS", was an international success, charting in the top five in eleven countries. The song reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and in Australia, her first to reach this chart position.[41] "Unfaithful", the album's second single, reached the top ten in eighteen countries, including number one in Canada and Switzerland.[42] Two more singles were released from the album: "We Ride" and "Break It Off".[43][44]

In early 2007, Rihanna appeared on the single "Roll It" with Jamaican band J-Status and fellow Barbadian singer-songwriter Shontelle. The song appeared on J-Status' debut album The Beginning, released in several European countries only. Around that time, Rihanna had already begun work on her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad.[45] With the help of producers Timbaland, Tricky Stewart and Sean Garrett she embraced a new musical direction through uptempo dance tracks.[46][47] Released in May 2007, the album charted at number two in Australia and the US and topped the charts in multiple countries, including Brazil, Canada, Ireland and the UK.[48] The album received the most positive critical reviews of her first three albums.[49]

The lead single, "Umbrella", topped the charts in thirteen countries and remained at number one in the UK for ten consecutive weeks, the longest-running number-one single there since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around" spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994.[50][51] It was Rihanna's first single to be named one of the best-selling singles worldwide, with sales of over 8 million copies.[52][53] The songs "Shut Up and Drive", "Hate That I Love You" (featuring Ne-Yo) and "Don't Stop the Music" were also released as singles, with the latter becoming an international hit. In support of the album, Rihanna began the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour in September 2007, with 80 shows across the US, Canada and Europe.[54] Rihanna was nominated for several 2008 Grammy Awards for Good Girl Gone Bad, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella" alongside Jay-Z, her first Grammy Award.[55]

Rihanna performing at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 2008

On 9 June 2008, Rihanna released Good Girl Gone Bad Live, her first live long-form video. The DVD and Blu-ray release featured Rihanna's concert at the Manchester Arenain Manchester, United Kingdom, held on 6 December 2007 as part of the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour. Most of the concert's set list originates from Good Girl Gone Bad; however, Rihanna also performed songs from her previous albums Music of the Sunand A Girl like Me. The release also contained a special documentary that presented Rihanna discussing her experiences during the tour. By late 2008, Rihanna still remained on the charts with the release of the fifth single from Good Girl Gone Bad, "Rehab", and was named "Diva of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly for her "newfound staying power".[56] Good Girl Gone Bad has sold over 2.8 million units in the United States alone, receiving a two-times-Platinum certification from the RIAA. It is Rihanna's best-selling album in the country to date.[33][57] The album has sold nine million units worldwide.[58][59]

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