Rihanna established her pop credentials in 2005 with “Pon de Replay,” a boisterous debut single that narrowly missed the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and fast-tracked her to becoming one of the most popular, acclaimed, and dynamic artists in postmillennial contemporary music. Mixing and matching pop, dancehall, R&B, EDM, and adult contemporary material, Rihanna has been a near-constant presence in the upper reaches of the pop chart. Through 2017, she headlined 11 number one hits, some of which — “Umbrella” and “Only Girl (In the World)” among them — led to her eight Grammy Awards. And more than just a singles artist, Rihanna has continually pushed ahead stylistically with her LPs, highlighted by the bold Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), steely Rated R (2009), and composed Anti (2016), all of which confounded expectations and placed within the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 with eventual multi-platinum certifications. Her secondary discography as a featured artist is impressive as well, with major crossover pop hits headlined by the likes of Jay-Z (“Run This Town”), Eminem (“Love the Way You Lie,” “The Monster”), and Kendrick Lamar (“LOYALTY.”).
Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna exhibited star quality as a child, often winning beauty and talent contests. Because she lived on a fairly remote island in the West Indies, however, she didn’t foresee the global stardom she later attained. Her break came courtesy of a fateful meeting with Evan Rogers, writer and producer of pop hits for such big names as *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, and Rod Stewart. The New Yorker was vacationing in Barbados with his wife, an island native, when he was introduced to an aspiring singing group that featured Rihanna. The trio performed for Rogers, who was then eager to work with Rihanna as a solo artist. After the fledgling singer recorded material with Rogers in the U.S. and signed with SRP (Syndicated Rhythm Productions), operated by Rogers and partner Carl Sturken, she sparked the interest of the Carter Administration — that is, the newly appointed Def Jam president Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Following an audition, Rihanna accepted an on-the-spot offer to sign with the major label.
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