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Rihanna

Rihanna, who’s full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was born on February 20th, 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados.

Her childhood on the Caribbean island of Barbados is deeply affected by her father’s addiction to crack cocaine and parent’s rocky marriage, which ends when she’s 14. The shy kid finds an outlet through singing. She lived the life of a normal island girl going to Combermere, a top sixth form school, similar to grammar schools in the UK. Through the years, particularly during her pre-teen and teenage years, she would sing to friends and family only for amusement purposes. Rihanna won a beauty pageant and performed Mariah Carey’s "Hero" in a school talent show.

(2004) After forming a girl group with two classmates, Rihanna, 15, auditions for veteran producer Evan Rogers, who tells Entertainment Weekly,

"The minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn’t exist." She eventually moves to Connecticut to live with Rogers and his wife, while cutting a four-song demo. "When I left Barbados, I didn’t look back," Rihanna adds. "I wanted to do what I had to do, even it meant moving to America."
Rihanna’s demo makes its way to Def Jam and the budding star is invited to audition for rapper turned Def Jam president Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. "I was in the lobby just shaking," Rihanna, who sings Whitney Houston’s "For the Love of You," tells Rolling Stone. "I signed her in one day," Jay-Z adds. "It took me two minutes to see she was a star."

(2005) There’s nothing like the warm spirit of the Caribbean to re-energize a dry, stale season of the same old song and dance. And with summer fast approaching there couldn’t be a better time for Barbados-born singer Rihanna to break into an industry that is eager to celebrate the next big thing.

Thanks to multi-platinum island-born superstars like Sean Paul, Shaggy and Elephant Man, the mainstream has been primed for a rhythmic female star to step into the forefront of popular music. Besides ripping traditional reggae tracks like a seasoned dancehall queen, the stunning 17-year-old Rihanna possesses a powerful singing voice that conjures up feelings and experiences way beyond her years.

It’s no wonder that all it took was a quick audition with Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, President and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, for the green-eyed beauty to solidify a recording contract with the multi-million dollar record company. While that performance ended up changing her life forever, the sweet natured island girl laughs at her own naiveté at the time.

"I was in the lobby shaking!," remembers Rihanna with a healthy dose of her Bajan accent hanging onto every one of her words. "I saw just a little bit of Jay’s face down the hall and I was just like, ‘Oh my God!’ I had never met a celebrity, and to meet a celebrity who’s also the president of the label, that was crazy!!"Luckily Rihanna was able to shake the jitters as soon as she started her impromptu showcase, a performance that forced her future label bosses to sign the deal before she walked out of their offices. "We were there until 4:30 in the morning closing the deal. Every time I signed my name I was just smiling."

Growing up in the parish of St. Michael, Barbados, it never occurred to Rihanna that one day she would be sitting in the company of mega music moguls.

Before moving to the US in 2005, Rihanna lived somewhat of a simple life on her home island where she attended high school and like most teenage girls sang songs for fun with her friends. Aside from winning her school’s beauty and talent pageant, Rihanna never realized how talented she really was until she attracted the attention of a New York City music producer named Evan Rogers.

Evan and his partner, Carl Sturken, have produced hits for such artists as Christina Aguilera, Ruben Studdard and Kelly Clarkson. Evan and his Barbadian wife Jackie were vacationing over Christmas near Rihanna’s hometown and through a mutual friend were introduced to the young diva. After hearing her belt out a couple of tunes Evan realized Rihanna’s future star power and invited her to New York to record some tracks.

Rihanna, Evan and Carl ended up creating close to a dozen songs. Together they pulled inspiration from the dancehall and reggae that are embedded in Rihanna’s rich musical culture and fused it with a fresh R&B soul sound – a mixture Rihanna likes to compare to one of her favorite Caribbean dishes, callaloo. "It’s like a gumbo or a stew," explains Rihanna. "My music is mostly Caribbean beats mixed with R&B. I don’t want to be pigeon holed into being just a dance artist because I can sing too. I have ballads on the album as well as upbeat tracks."

Rihanna’s debut album promises to have all the ingredients that make musical magic. And like her influences Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Mariah Carey, Rihanna is a talented songwriter who has co-written much of her album. "Music is in my D.N.A.!" exclaims the bright eyed singer. Her first single "Pon De Replay" is sure to mash up dancehalls worldwide with Rihanna’s soul stirring vocals demanding the DJ to play her song again and again ’til it touches every single person within earshot. With tracks featuring both Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel, Rihanna is guaranteed to supply some serious heat for both radio and clubs nationwide.

Rihanna is indeed living a real life Cinderella story.

"If I hadn’t met Evan and Carl I might have just been dreaming forever," she muses. "I am so thankful for everything they’ve done for me."

Soon the whole world will be giving both Rihanna and her producers thanks.

(2006) If nothing else, it has been an eventful and eye opening year for Barbados born songstress Rihanna. In addition to recording one of the most popular singles of 2005, the hypnotic "Pon De Replay" (which bass bumped out of more car windows while igniting a slew of barbeques last summer), she won over the masses with her charming Bajan persona.

"So much has happened in my life, I feel like I’ve grown five years in a year," she gushes. No doubt, by the time Def Jam Records released Rihanna’s debut album Music of the Sun, it was obvious that this young woman was more than a one-hit wonder. With a work ethic reminiscent of Motown sisters back in the day when soul reigned supreme, Rihanna traveled throughout the world.2005 saw Rihanna rocking the mic on tour with Gwen Stefani, making crowds sweat in Japan, posing for magazine covers in Los Angeles and shooting her first film role for Bring It On Yet Again. This was a long way from the quiet life she led in Barbados in the parish of St.Michael. Robyn Rihanna Fenty has come through her musical initiation process unscathed. And now she is poised for everything that 2006 may hold as she readies to do it again with her sophomore release A Girl Like Me.

"I grew up so much this past year. I had no choice. To pursue my dreams, and with their support, I left my entire family in Barbados to move to the States. It was a little scary to have no friends or family and all of a sudden step into a recording studio," recalled Rihanna.

"2005 taught me the dedication and responsibility it takes to make this dream a reality. Waking up at 5:00 am to start rehearsals, the training, the schoolwork, interviews, video shoots, going all day; it always seemed glamorous but it is real work. My love for music and singing will never change but the rose colored glasses are no longer so rosy."

"Many times over the past year, I didn’t have anyone my age with me. When recording this album, I wanted it to seem like I was having a personal conversation with girls my age," says the eighteen-year-old singer. "People think, because we’re young, we aren’t complex, but that’s not true. We deal with life and love and broken hearts in the same way a woman a few years older might. My goal on A Girl Like Me was to find songs that express the many things young women want to say, but might not know how."

Dropping from the harmonic heavens to the groovalistic dance floor, Rihanna has returned with another single that will have listeners begging the d.j. to play it one more time. Produced by Jason Rotem, the sizzling "S.O.S." is bringing the summer heat early this year. With its hypnotic beat and enticing melody, "S.O.S." utilizes the electro-funk of Soft Cell’s ’80s classic "Tainted Love" to create a soulful anthem of young love.

"I got excited when I first heard this track and three days later, it was recorded," Rihanna says. Turning heads with its rebel sound, "S.O.S." has been used as the theme song for their NIKE latest women’s line, which can be viewed on NikeWomen.com. "Making that commercial was yet another new experience," she says. "It took six days to shoot, but working with choreographer Jamie King (Madonna and Shakira) was amazing."

Focusing on progressing as an artist, Rihanna has recorded a compelling track of heartbreak called "Unfaithful." Penned by her label-mate Ne-Yo and Stargate, the song documents the tragic decay of a relationship when another person starts cheating.

Yet, in this instance, it is the girl who has strayed. "On a lot of records, men talk about cheating as though it’s all a game. For me, ‘Unfaithful’ is not just about stepping out on your man, but the pain that it causes both parties."

Perhaps the most surprising track is the rock meets island vibe of "Kisses Don’t Lie." Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, the principles of her production company, SRP, used a mixture of Caribbean elements, electric guitar and a mesmerizing bassline." Coming from Barbados, I really hadn’t heard that much rock music," Rihanna confesses. "Touring with Gwen changed my perspective. So, when I was discussing this project with L.A. Reid, Chairman of Island Def Jam Records, I made sure to say I want to experiment with some rock."

During the recording of A Girl Like Me, Rihanna jet set down to Jamaica to record with Sean Paul on the yardie duet "Break It Off." Smiling, Rihanna explains, "I have so much respect and love for Sean Paul. He took me to visit the Bob Marley Museum before going into the studio, which was an amazing experience. When we finally got to the studio, I felt as though Marley’s spirit was in the room with us."

With A Girl Like Me, the beautiful singer proves that her breakthrough was no fluke. After selling 1 million copies worldwide of her debut Music Of The Sun, once again, the summer belongs to Rihanna.

(2007) Rihanna went into the studio in early 2007 with Ne-Yo, Stargate, and Timbaland among others to record her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad. The album was released on June 5, 2007, features Jay-Z and Ne-Yo. Rihanna worked with Timbaland on three songs in the album—"Lemme Get That", "Rehab" and the Japanese bonus track "Haunted". Justin Timberlake co-wrote and provides background vocals on "Rehab".

The album so far has yielded eight hit singles, including the world-wide number one hit "Umbrella", featuring Jay-Z. In addition to reaching number one in various countries, "Umbrella" was the number one single in the UK for 10 consecutive weeks, making it the longest running UK number one single since Wet Wet Wet’s single "Love Is All Around", back in 1994, and the longest running number one by a female artist since Whitney Houston’s "I Will Always Love You", which also topped the chart for 10 weeks in 1992. By the end of the year, "Umbrella" was ranked second on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart in the United States.Her other singles, "Shut Up and Drive" and "Don’t Stop The Music" were able to mirror the success of "Umbrella", with "Don’t Stop the Music" reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Rihanna’s seventh top ten single and her fourth top five hit, while peaking at number one in various countries. The fourth single (third single in the US and UK) "Hate That I Love You", featuring Ne-Yo, was able to peak at number seven in the U.S.

Starting September 12, 2007, Rihanna toured Canada and the United States in support of the album with several shows and then crossed to Europe. The tour was called called the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour, and was released on DVD on June 17, 2008, featuring the show performed at the Manchester Evening News Arena on December 6, 2007.

(2008) With the re-issue of her third album, titled Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, which was released on June 17, 2008, Rihanna released the singles "Take a Bow" — which became a worldwide number-one hit —, the duet with Maroon 5, "If I Never See Your Face Again," and "Disturbia", the latter of which also peaked at the number-one spot on the Hot 100 chart, giving the artist her fourth number-one singles and her ninth top ten hit in the U.S. The song "Rehab," which features Justin Timberlake, was later sent radio stations on October 7, 2008 and has so far peaked at 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Good Girl Gone Bad has so far sold 6.2 million copies worldwide and has gone 2x Platinum in the US, 4x Platinum in the UK and Canada, 5x Platinum in Russia, and 6x Platinum in Ireland; including Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded.

On November 23, 2008 Rihanna was nominated for two American Music Award (Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist). Rihanna won in in both categories making it her third AMA. Rihanna also performed "Rehab" on stage at the AMA.

Rihanna was also selected as the spokesmodel for Gucci’s first UNICEF ad campaign. She will appear in the fashion house’s Tattoo Heart campaign, premiering in December. Rihanna will be photographed in series of special edition print ads with UNICEF items, twenty-five percent of sales will benefit the children’s charity.In New York, Rihanna was then enlisted by Gucci’s Frida Giannini along with Madonna to light the UNICEF Christmas snowflake. Rihanna, dressed head to toe in Gucci, is now the face of the fourth annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit UNICEF, which aims to raise funds for children in Africa through the sale of it’s Tattoo Heart collection of bags.

In private life Rihanna started dating rnb star Chris Brown. The couple soon become called "The Hottest Couple in the Business". Both of them were named Artists of the Year 2008.

(2009) On February 8, 2009 the fairly tale ended when Rihanna’s scheduled performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards was cancelled. Reports later surfaced regarding an alleged altercation with then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, who was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats. Due to a leaked photograph from the Los Angeles Police Department obtained by TMZ.com—which revealed Rihanna had sustained visible injuries—an organization known as STOParazzi has proposed a law called "Rihanna’s Law", which, if enacted, would "deter employees of law enforcement agencies from releasing photos or information that exploits crime victims."Gil Kaufman of VH1 reported "the nonstop coverage of the Rihanna/Brown case has brought up a number of issues regarding the privacy of alleged victims of domestic violence, including the decision by almost all major news outlets to divulge the identity of the victim—which is not typically done in domestic-violence cases" and the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph. Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in L.A. on June 22, 2009.

Rihanna’s first music released after the incident was a collaboration with Jay-Z and Kanye West on "Run This Town." The song peaked at number two on Billboard Hot 100 and also reached the top ten in ten other countries. She appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia for the September 2009 Issue. The photo shoot was influenced by Rihanna’s hair, which she had cut for the shoot into a mohawk-like style. The style of the shoot was Extreme Couture and very dark, and in one shot she appeared semi-nude. Rihanna performed "Run This Town" along with Jay-Z and West for the "Answer the Call" concert at Madison Square Garden in September 2009, making it her first musical performance since the altercation with Brown.

Rihanna started recording in the studio with numerous different producers, including The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, Chase & Status, Stargate, Slash, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo and Akon, on her fourth studio album Rated R in March 2009. On October 8, 2009, Rihanna shot the cover for her fourth album with Ellen von Unwerth in Berlin.

The new album was released November 23, 2009. The album’s lead single, "Russian Roulette", was released on October 20, 2009.Rihanna performed the song on The X Factor on November 29, 2009. The official video was released on November 13, 2009. The second single, "Hard" which features Young Jeezy, was released on November 2, 2009.

Rihanna was named one of the Glamoour’s "Women of The Year". She was also decade’s best female singer among with Beyonce. They both scored 5 #1 singles. However Rihanna’s success came in shorter period of time!

(2010) Rihanna has started the year with all media talking about her once again. This time thanks to her new love interest – Los Angeles Dodgers’s Matt Kemp.

Rihanna at the Grammy’s

Rihanna pulled all the stops at the 2010 Grammy Awards in an open back, high neck crepe gown with chiffon applique and feather and stone detailing at the bodice from Elie Saab. Jimmy Choo Lance sandals, Diamond in the Rough rings, and Neil Lane bracelet and earings completed the ensemble.

Do you want to get a hold of Rihanna? Send her some fanmail. Resources are limited but here are a few ways! When more ways are discovered they will be immediately posted up!

•Island Records
Island Records
825 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10019

•Official Sites
rihannanow.com
thisisrihanna.com
Syndicated Rhythm Productions
defjam.co.uk/rihanna
defjam.com
defjam.co.uk

In 2006 Rihanna founded The BELIEVE Foundation*, inspiring and protecting children in need all over the world. Rihanna recognized that the only way to secure the future of our world is to ensure the health and well-being of our future leaders. BELIEVE gives children a chance to not only survive, but thrive in a world where many will never receive the medical attention, school supplies, toys and clothes that they deserve. The foundation is committed to creating change in the lives of our youth by providing educational, financial, social and medical support when and wherever it is needed. Rihanna and the Believe Foundation are committed to helping our children succeed by granting them the tools they need to believe. Causes: AIDS, Cancer, Children, Health

The Believe Foundation
c/o Berdon LLP
360 Madison Avenue,
9th Floor
New York, NY 10017

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