|Intro||Barbadian singer, fashion designer and creative director|
|A.K.A.||Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Robyn Fenty|
|Is||Singer Actor Model|
|Field||Fashion Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music|
|Birth||20 February 1988, Saint Michael, Barbados|
Robyn Rihanna Fenty (/riˈænə/; born February 20, 1988) is a Barbadian singer, songwriter, and actress. Born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, she first entered the music industry by recording demo tapes under the direction of record producer Evan Rogers in 2003. She ultimately 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 singles "Pon de Replay" and "SOS".
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 successful lead single "Umbrella" became an international breakthrough in her career, as she won her first Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Jay Z in 2008. After releasing four consecutive platinum studio albums, including the Grammy Award winner Unapologetic (2012), she was recognized as a pop icon. Her eighth studio album Anti (2016) and its lead single "Work" reached number-one on the Billboard 200 and Hot 100. 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", and "Stay" 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).
With sales exceeding 230 million records worldwide, Rihanna is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Rihanna is the youngest and fastest solo artist to earn fourteen number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and was named the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade and the top Hot 100 artist of the 2010s decade by Billboard. Among numerous awards and accolades, Rihanna has won eight Grammy Awards, twelve American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and the inaugural Icon Award at the American Music Awards of 2013. Widely recognized for frequently reinventing her style, she received the Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2014. Forbes ranked Rihanna the fourth most powerful celebrity of 2012, and was named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World" later that year.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, 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. 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. 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." By the time she was fourteen, Rihanna's parents had divorced and her health began to improve. Rihanna grew up listening to reggae music and began singing at around the age of seven. 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. Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme; the singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant. Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue a musical career instead.
2003–2004: Career beginnings
In 2003, Rihanna formed a musical trio with two of her classmates. 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". Rihanna went to Rogers' hotel room, where she performed renditions of Destiny's Child's "Emotion" and Mariah Carey's "Hero". 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. 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. That same year, Rihanna was signed to Rogers' and Carl Sturken's production company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions.
Rihanna's demo was shipped out to Def Jam Recordings, where Jay Brown, an A&R executive 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. When Jay Z first heard the track "Pon de Replay", he felt the song was too big for her, saying "when a song is that big, it's hard [for a new artist] to come back from. I don't sign songs, I sign artists". 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. 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". Jay Z was absolutely certain about signing her after she performed her future hit single "Pon de Replay". 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. 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 till three in the morning to get lawyers to draft up a contract because he wanted to prevent her from signing with another label. Rihanna cancelled other meetings with record labels and relocated from Barbados to the United States to live with Rogers and his wife.
2005–2006: Music of the Sun and A Girl like Me
"[My music is] just imagination, being creative; that's what my music is composed with. Being creative and thinking of situations, whether situations I went through or situations I've observed people going through. I can't tell you where I'll see myself in five years, but I can tell you I will work my best to be the most successful artist that I can be in five years. [I want to be] Remembered as Rihanna. Remembered as being the artist from the Caribbean who came here and made it internationally. Just remembered as me, 'cause I'm true to my music, and I just want people to realize that and appreciate me for that"
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. She worked with different producers to complete her debut studio album, primarily Rogers and his production partner Carl Sturken. With several songs to pick as a lead single, "Pon de Replay" was chosen because it seemed liked the best song suited for a summer release. In May 2005, her debut single, "Pon de Replay", was released which 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. The song became a big club hit in the United States, peaking at number-one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs.
Music of the Sun was released in August 2005. It debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200 and received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of over 500,000 units. 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. 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.
A month after the release of her debut album, Rihanna began working on her second studio album. A Girl like Me was released in April 2006. Rolling Stone felt that "the burning rock guitar of "Kisses Don't Lie" and haunted strings of "Unfaithful" help make "A Girl like Me much more likable." 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 United States, where it sold 115,000 copies its first week. The album became her first to be certified platinum by the RIAA, after selling over 1,000,000 units. 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. "Unfaithful", the album's second single, reached the top ten in eighteen countries, including number one in Canada and Switzerland. Two more singles were released from the album: "We Ride" and "Break It Off".
2007–2009: Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R
In early 2007, Rihanna began work on her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad. With the help of producers Timbaland, Tricky Stewart and Sean Garrett, she embraced a new musical direction through uptempo dance tracks. 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. The album received the most positive critical reviews of her first three albums. The lead single, "Umbrella", topped the charts in thirteen countries and remained number one in the UK for ten consecutive weeks, the longest-running number one single since Wet Wet Wet's single "Love Is All Around" spent fifteen weeks at the top in 1994. It was Rihanna's first single to be named one of the best-selling singles worldwide, with sales of over 6.6 million copies. 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, she began the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour in September 2007, with 80 shows across the US, Canada, and Europe. Rihanna was nominated for several 2008 Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella" alongside Jay Z, her first Grammy Award.
During the late 2000s, Rihanna began experimenting with pop, dubstep and rock music while shifting her musical style and image away from the Barbados island girl. Throughout 2008, Rihanna performed on the Glow in the Dark Tour alongside Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and N.E.R.D. Her third studio album's reissue, Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded, was released in June 2008 with three new songs: "Disturbia", "Take a Bow", and the Maroon 5 duet "If I Never See Your Face Again". All three were released as singles and charted highly, reaching peak positions worldwide. In August 2008, Rihanna and a host of other female singers, recorded the charity single "Just Stand Up!", the theme song to the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer.
"Live Your Life", a duet between T.I. and Rihanna, released that November, and topped the Billboard Hot 100. A remix album, Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes, was released in January 2009. 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. The album has sold over seven million copies worldwide. By late 2008, Rihanna remained on the charts with her eighth single, "Rehab" and was named "Diva of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly for her "newfound staying power".
On February 8, 2009, Rihanna's scheduled performance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards was cancelled. Reports surfaced that then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown had physically assaulted her. He was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with assault and making criminal threats. A leaked photograph from the police department obtained by TMZ.com revealed that Rihanna had sustained visible injuries.
In early 2009, Rihanna began working on her fourth studio album, Rated R. Rated R was released in November 2009 with Rolling Stone stating that Rihanna "transformed her sound and made one of the best pop records of the year". Rated R featured a darker and more foreboding tone than Rihanna's previous albums. Rated R debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 181,000 copies in the United States, giving Rihanna her highest first-week sales in the US at that time. The album was supported by six singles including "Rude Boy", which was the biggest worldwide success from the album, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and reaching top ten positions in twenty-two other countries.
2010–2011: Loud and Talk That Talk
In summer 2010, Rihanna collaborated with rapper Eminem on "Love the Way You Lie", which was a major worldwide success, reaching number one in over twenty countries. The song was Rihanna's seventh US number one of her career, making her the female artist with the fifth-most number ones in the chart's history. Reaching number two, the song became the biggest-selling song of 2010 in the UK, and the first of Rihanna's singles to sell over one million copies in the country. She also lent her vocals to "All of the Lights", a single from Kanye West's album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, alongside John Legend, The-Dream, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, and Elton John. In October 2010, Rihanna switched managers, joining Jay Z's Roc Nation Management.
Loud, Rihanna's fifth studio album, was released in November 2010. Its lead single, "Only Girl (In the World)", reached number one in fifteen countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States The album's second single, "What's My Name?", featuring rapper Drake, also reached number one in the US and UK. The third single, "S&M", reached number one on the Hot 100 following the release of its official remix featuring Britney Spears, becoming her tenth number one single. Rihanna set a record as the solo artist with the fastest accumulation of ten chart toppers.
At the 53rd Grammy Awards, "Only Girl (In the World)" won the award for Best Dance Recording. "Man Down" and "California King Bed" were released as singles in May 2011 with moderate success. "Cheers (Drink to That)", which interpolates Avril Lavigne's 2002 single "I'm with You", was released as the sixth and final single from the album, reaching the top twenty in the UK and the top ten in the US. To promote the album, Rihanna embarked on her Loud Tour in June 2011, which sold out ten nights at The O2 Arena in London, the most sold out shows for a female artist in the venue's history. The tour was the seventh highest grossing tour worldwide of 2011.
Rihanna's sixth album, Talk That Talk, was released in November 2011. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 with sales of 198,000 copies and number one in the UK, selling 163,000 copies. The lead single, "We Found Love", topped charts in twenty-seven countries worldwide, peaking in the top ten in thirty countries and breaking many records worldwide. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for ten non-consecutive weeks, becoming Rihanna's longest-running number one single and the longest-running number one of 2011. The song was later named the 24th biggest hit of all time on the Billboard Hot 100. "You Da One" and the title track featuring Jay Z were released as the second and third singles from the album to moderate success. "Where Have You Been", the fifth single, successfully charted worldwide, reaching number five in the US and six in the UK. "Cockiness (Love It)" was released as the album's sixth and final single in a remixed form featuring rapper ASAP Rocky.
2012–2014: Battleship and Unapologetic
In early 2012, two collaborations featuring Rihanna were released: Coldplay's "Princess of China" from the album Mylo Xyloto and Drake's "Take Care" from his album of the same name. In February 2012, Rihanna won her third Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2012 Grammy Awards, and was voted the Best International Female Solo Artist at the 2012 BRIT Awards for the second consecutive year. March 2012 saw the simultaneous release of collaborations between Rihanna and Chris Brown: remixes of her song "Birthday Cake" and his "Turn Up the Music". The recordings received mainly negative responses due to the pair's history of domestic violence. In September 2012, "We Found Love" won the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, making Rihanna the first woman to receive the accolade more than once.
Rihanna starred as Petty Officer (GM2) Cora Raikes in her first theatrical feature film Battleship, which was released on May 18, 2012. Loosely based on the game of the same name, both the film and Rihanna's performance received mixed-to-negative reviews; The New York Times said she was "just fine in the rather generic role". On August 19, 2012, Rihanna appeared in the first episode of the second season of Oprah Winfrey's American prime time television show Oprah's Next Chapter. The episode scored the second-highest ratings in the history of the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Rihanna's seventh studio album, Unapologetic, was released in November 2012. In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of 238,000, marking Rihanna's first number one album in the country. The album was Rihanna's third consecutive number one album in the United Kingdom and fifth in Switzerland. The lead single from the album, "Diamonds", reached number one in more than twenty countries worldwide, including on the US Billboard Hot 100, her twelfth number one on the chart. The album's second single, "Stay", featuring Mikky Ekko, reached the top five in over twenty countries, including number three on the Billboard Hot 100. As promotion prior to the album's release, Rihanna embarked on the 777 Tour, a mini tour of seven shows in seven countries in seven days.
In February 2013 at the 55th Grammy Awards, Rihanna won her sixth Grammy Award, in the category Best Short Form Music Video for "We Found Love" (2011). Also that month, the Official Charts Company announced that Rihanna had sold 3,868,000 records in the past year in the UK alone, ranking at number one in the list of 2013 BRIT Awards artist nominees. Rihanna's fifth headlining concert tour, the Diamonds World Tour, began in March 2013 in support of Unapologetic. Rihanna appeared in the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg comedy film This Is the End, released in June 2013. That same month, American hip hop artist Wale released a remixed version of his single "Bad" featuring Rihanna.
In October 2013, Eminem released his Rihanna-assisted single, "The Monster", the fourth release from his eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013). With the song entering the UK Singles Chart at number one, Rihanna joined Elvis Presley and The Beatles as just one of three acts to have scored a number one single each year over seven consecutive years in the chart's history. The song also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, which marked Rihanna's thirteenth chart topper. Rihanna appeared on Shakira's single, "Can't Remember to Forget You", which was released in January, 2014.
2015–present: Anti and acting career
Following the release of Unapologetic and its accompanying tour, Rihanna aimed to take a hiatus from recording music stating; "I wanted to have a year to just do whatever I want artistically, creatively.” In January 2014, Rihanna began working on her eighth studio album. In May 2014, Rihanna left Def Jam to sign fully with Roc Nation, who had managed her career since October 2010. A year after Rihanna began working on the album she released the single, "FourFiveSeconds", featuring Kanye West and Paul McCartney. Two further singles followed its release: "Bitch Better Have My Money" and "American Oxygen"; both did not make the final track listing for her eighth studio album.
In March 2015, Rihanna released a concept album based around the 3D animated film Home, which she starred in, alongside Jim Parsons, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez. "Towards the Sun" was released as the first single from the album. In late 2015, inked a $25 million contract with Samsung that would see Rihanna promoting Samsung's Galaxy line of products whilst Samsung would sponsor the release of Anti and its supporting tour. The Anti World Tour was announced in November 2015 and began in March 2016, with Travis Scott supporting in North America, and The Weeknd and Big Sean supporting at selected European dates.
On January 28, 2016, Rihanna released her eighth studio album Anti exclusively through streaming service Tidal. The album peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming Rihanna's second number one and eighth top ten album on the chart. The album was supported by the release of four singles including the lead single "Work" featuring Drake, which topped the Billboard Hot 100. Further platinum singles "Needed Me" and "Love on the Brain" both peaked inside the top ten of the Hot 100. In 2016, Rihanna was featured on several singles. The first collaboration was Calvin Harris' "This Is What You Came For," which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the United Kingdom. Rihanna was also featured on Drake's "Too Good" from his album Views and Mike Will Made It's single, "Nothing Is Promised". On June 27, 2016, Rihanna released "Sledgehammer", the lead single from the Star Trek Beyond soundtrack. On August 28, Rihanna was honored with the MTV Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.
As of February 2017, Rihanna played the recurring role of Marion Crane in the fifth and final season of Bates Motel. The show received universal acclaim from critics.
In 2015, it was announced that she would have a major role in the upcoming Luc Besson film, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, an adaptation of the comic book series Valérian and Laureline, which is scheduled for a 2017 release.
In August 2016, Rihanna joined the all-female spin-off of the Ocean's Eleven franchise, called Ocean's Eight directed by Gary Ross, opposite Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway and Awkwafina.
Music and voice
Rihanna possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range of three octaves and two notes. While recording tracks for her third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Rihanna took vocal lessons from Ne-Yo. Speaking of the experience she stated, "I've never had vocal training, so when I'm in the studio, he'll tell me how to breathe and stuff... He'll call out these big fancy words: 'OK, I want you to do staccato.' And I'm like, 'OK, I don't know what that is.'" Her vocal performance on Loud (2010) received positive reviews from music critics. James Skinner from BBC praised Rihanna's vocals on the song "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" and wrote that her voice is powerful and that "it is Rihanna's vocal – at once commanding, soulful and vulnerable – that anchors the song, and Loud itself". Andy Gill from The Independent feels that "California King Bed" features her best vocal performance. In a review of Unapologetic, Billboard magazine wrote, "Diamonds finds Rihanna doing one of her throatiest, most impassioned vocals to date, on this inspirational pop ballad." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times stated, "over the years, as her game face froze in place, her voice cured into a weapon of emotional chill and strategic indifference. It's decidedly unfriendly, made to give orders".
Rihanna's music has encompassed a broad range of genres; including dancehall, reggae and soca, as well as pop, R&B, dubstep, hip hop and electronic dance music. Some of her songs are also inspired through record sampling from other artists. With its provocative subject matter and lyrics, her musical career has been an experiment with new musical ideas and stated that she wants "to make music that could be heard in parts of the world that I'd never been to". Growing up in Barbados, she wasn't exposed to a lot of music, mainly reggae, hip-hop, and soca music. At the time of her debut, she recorded songs that were inspired by her Caribbean roots and described her early sound as "a fusion of reggae, hip-hop and R&B, with a little something different thrown in". Her early dancehall roots can be found on her debut album, Music of the Sun (2005), and its follow-up, A Girl like Me (2006). When she moved to the United States, she became exposed to a lot of American music "rock being one of them, and I fell in love with it. [Now] I love rock music."
Music of the Sun demonstrates the influence of Rihanna’s musical heritage of the Caribbean. Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times complimented its combination of dancehall and reggae, who said, "Dancehall reggae sometimes seems like a furiously insular form of music, but ... Rihanna is only the latest singer to discover how versatile the genre's spring-loaded electronic rhythms can be". Her debut single, "Pon de Replay" features a dancehall-pop mixture that infuses a reggae style, while "If It's Lovin' that You Want" talks about a girl seducing a guy to be her boyfriend. Aiming for artistic growth, A Girl like Me expresses personal experiences that typical 18-year-old girls go through with ballads that were described as elegant and mature. During a review for Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine to write that Rihanna "finally figured out that she's a dance artist and the majority of the album is comprised of uptempo dance-pop" songs like "Push Up On Me" and "Don't Stop the Music". It represents a departure from the Caribbean sound of her previous albums, and is described as a turning point in her career. While the first half of the record shares a lot of 1980s pop influences with songs like "Don't Stop the Music" and "Shut Up and Drive", the second half retreats into standard R&B.
Recorded after the assault by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, Rated R (2009) had a much darker tone and was filled with various emotions she experienced throughout 2009. In Loud (2010), Rihanna reflects on the fun and energetic vibe she had while recording the album. The album is a mixture of ballads, party anthems, and empowering love songs. Talk That Talk (2011) was similar to Rated R, as both contain hip hop, R&B, dancehall, and dubstep genres. Loud and Talk That Talk saw her explore sexuality in her work ("S&M" and "Birthday Cake") and return to her dancehall roots ("Man Down" and "Watch n' Learn"). She also branched out into house music with tracks like "We Found Love", "Only Girl (In the World)" and "Complicated."
Rihanna has named Madonna as her idol and biggest influence. She said that she wanted to be the "black Madonna" and praised the singer for being able to constantly reinvent herself successfully throughout her career. "I think that Madonna was a great inspiration for me, especially on my earlier work. If I had to examine her evolution through time, I think she reinvented her clothing style and music with success every single time. And at the same time remained a real force in entertainment in the whole world." Another major influence on Rihanna's music and career has been Mariah Carey, whose song "Hero" she performed when Rihanna was still a teenager at her high school talent show. She revealed that Carey's song "Vision of Love" "was the song that made [her] want to do music."
She grew up watching videos of reggae legend Bob Marley on television because that's what they would play in the Caribbean. She stated, "He's one of my favourite artists of all time – he really paved the way for every other artist out of the Caribbean". She built a shrine in her home dedicated to the reggae legend and has covered Marley's "Is This Love" and Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Redemption Song" during her concert tours. During her childhood, she would go around singing Whitney Houston songs and "A Whole New World" into her hairbrush so much that her neighbors started calling her "Robyn Redbreast". She also stated that one of the first songs she remembers falling in love with was Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" and that it "was really inspiring, and it made me develop a passion for music, so really, she’s partly responsible for me being here in this industry."
Rihanna was also influenced by Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Beyoncé and Destiny's Child. Other musical influences and idols include Celine Dion, Grace Jones, Alicia Keys, Prince, Fefe Dobson, and Brandy. Rihanna takes influence from the different types of music she discovered when she came to America and revealed that rock music was one of the first genres she fell in love with. She commented, "as I grow older, I want to know more about music. I want to discover more types of music". She cited Brandy's fourth studio album, Afrodisiac (2004), as her main inspiration for her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007). In her early career, her music contained strong influences of Caribbean music, including reggae and dancehall. The music video of the song "Rude Boy" featured images inspired by her Caribbean roots.
Videos and stage
Rihanna has worked with music video director Anthony Mandler on more than a dozen music videos, the first being "Unfaithful" (2006). "We've done 16 videos together; they're not all tough, [...] Yeah, I mean, I'm known for the 'Disturbia's and the 'Russian Roulette's and things like that, but 'Only Girl (In the World)' is certainly an ethereal kind of empowering, beauty-filled video," Mandler said. Jocelyn Vena of MTV wrote, "Rihanna, like Madonna, also has a tendency to make truly thought-provoking music videos that fit the songs they represent. Smattered in between glitzier, more glamorous clips, Madge and Ri want us to think about bigger issues". Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented "[i]n the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the '00s ... Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube." George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna's music videos to be "cinematic" due to her "blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and ... mischievous sensuality." Tamar Anitai from MTV Buzzworthy listed "Disturbia" at number five on the "Buzzworthy's Top 5 Most Paranoid Music Videos" and said that "Paranoia never looked so supernaturally sexy!".
Many of her music videos were shot as short films exploring issues such as love triangles, abuse, and substance abuse romance, including "We Found Love" and "Man Down". Her music video for "Umbrella" shows Rihanna's transition into adulthood and her newly adopted image. The "dark, creepy" scenes of "Disturbia" have been compared to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The video for "Russian Roulette" features Rihanna in a padded room playing a game of russian roulette with her partner. A scene of Rihanna being approached by a speeding car at night was compared to the altercation with Chris Brown. The Caribbean-inspired music video for "Rude Boy" was compared to rapper M.I.A.'s video "Boyz" by many critics for its colorful aesthetic similarities. In 2011, she released three controversial music videos about sadomasochism, rape, and domestic violence. "Man Down", which features Rihanna shooting a man in a train station, was criticized by the Parents Television Council. "We Found Love", which shows Rihanna and her love interest in a drug-filled unhealthy relationship, sparked criticism from the Rape Crisis Centre for its inappropriate message. But Charne Graham of the Houston Press defended the singer, asking, "Why should Rihanna's music videos get everyone riled up when others' equally sexual and controversial videos are in rotation? [...] she just like[s] to make music videos that give us something to talk about." She is the first woman to pass two billion cumulative views on the music video website VEVO. As of December 2016, she has accumulated over 10 billion views on the site.
Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance at the Ottawa Bluesfest, saying "her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swiveling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits." Her performance of "Disturbia" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards was ranked tenth best on the MTV Video Music Awards, according to a Billboard poll. Her revealing leather costumes during her Good Girl Gone Bad Tour were highly criticized by Malaysia's conservative Islamic party, who recommended that her concert tour should be banned. Whilst commenting on her third album's accompanying tour, The Times compared Rihanna's stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson and called her "a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC." In the October 2011 issue of British Vogue, Rihanna said her performance outfits and appearances are all an act; "[t]hat's not me. That's a part I play. You know, like it's a piece of art, with all these toys and textures to play with".
Known for reinventing her style and image, Rihanna's music and fashion sense are noted by the media. In 2009, New York magazine described Rihanna's early look as that of a cookie-cutter teen queen, noting she has the ability to shift looks dramatically and with great ease. Around the time of the release of her second studio album, A Girl like Me (2006), many critics felt that Rihanna's style, sound, and musical material were too similar to those of Beyoncé. In an interview with Look magazine, Rihanna spoke about comparisons to Beyonce: "Beyoncé is a great artist and I feel honored to be mentioned in the same sentence, but we're different performers with different styles". She revealed during Oprah's Next Chapter that Def Jam's pop-princess blueprint made her feel claustrophobic during her early years with the label. According to Rihanna, "I felt like they were giving me a blueprint. [...] They had a brand, they had an idea of what they wanted me to be without figuring out who I was." With the release of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), Rihanna dismissed her innocent image for an edgier look with a new hairstyle, which was inspired by Charlize Theron's bob cut in the science fiction thriller Æon Flux (2005). She followed the likes of recording artists Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera who also shed their innocent image for an edgier look and sound.
Nico Amarca of Highsnobiety magazine wrote "over the course of her now 10-year career, [Rihanna] has undergone one of the most significant aesthetic metamorphoses the world has ever seen". Her image and fashion has changed several times with different hairstyles since the release of her third album. She commented that as a child she "used to watch her [mother] get dressed" and that her love and admiration for fashion started with her mom. When putting together her own wardrobe she stated, "It's become more about taking a risk ... I always look for the most interesting silhouette or something that's a little off." Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian wrote that "Rihanna's wardrobe is the most talked-about, influential and dissected in pop right now" and that whatever she wears "is immediately reproduced on the high street, because it sells". Country singer Miranda Lambert admires Rihanna's fashion and style stating, "I don't necessarily get inspired by the whole no-bra thing, but I love that you never know what she's going to wear. It always keeps you guessing, which makes her sassy and interesting."
In an interview with Alexa Chung during Vogue Festival 2015, Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing praised Rihanna by stylistically comparing her to some of the biggest fashion icons in music history, such as Madonna, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and Prince. Commenting on the cultural expectation for pop stars to be role models, she said "[being a role model] became more of my job than I wanted it to be. But no, I just want to make music. That's it". In a May 2013 interview with MTV, The Vagina Monologues writer and feminist Eve Ensler praised the singer, saying, "I'm a huge Rihanna fan, I think she has a kind of agency over her sexuality and she's open about her sexuality, she has enormous grace and she's immensely talented."
Described as one of the sexiest women of her generation, she revealed that being a sex symbol is not a priority and that "it's definitely flattering, but also uncomfortable." Emily Hewett from Metro wrote, "Rihanna is quite possibly [the] most sexiest woman in the world. The 25-year-old songbird can grind like no other, pull off a provocative pose better than a Playboy pro." Her appearance has landed her on the cover of magazines such as Maxim, FHM, Rolling Stone and GQ. She has appeared in the top ten on Maxim's Hot 100 list and on FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World" several times. In 2007, she was tagged Venus Breeze's "Celebrity Legs of a Goddess" by Gillette, and was ranked second on People magazine's list of "10 Best Dressed Stars" the following year.
In 2009, Glamour ranked her at number 17 on the 50 Most Glamorous Women and Esquire named her the Sexiest Woman Alive of 2011. In December 2012, Rihanna became the first woman to be featured on the cover of GQ magazine's "Men of the Year" issue and ranked fifth on Complex list of "100 Hottest Female Singers of All Time". The following year, VH1 placed Rihanna second on their list of "100 Sexiest Artists".
Rihanna is well known for having a wide collection of small tattoos around her body. The 21 in total include two musical notes on the front of her ankle (now covered), a skull with a pink hair bow on the back of her ankle, a Pisces sign behind her right ear, a Sanskrit prayer going down her hip, a star in her left ear, the word "love" on her left middle finger, an Arabic phrase meaning "Freedom in Christ" on her ribcage area, a trail of stars going down the back of her neck, the phrase "shhh..." on her right index finger, the date 11.4.86 in Roman numerals on top of her left shoulder, a henna-style tribal dragon claw including hibiscus flowers inside her right hand/wrist, and a handgun under her right armpit. A gun tattoo was planned to be placed just below her shoulders but was ultimately located on her rib cage.
In late 2009, Rihanna had the phrase, "Never a failure, always a lesson" inked onto her chest backwards as she wanted to be able to read it in the mirror; it is her "motto in life for everything". In mid-2010, the phrase "rebelle fleur" was tattooed onto the singer's neck. In 2012, a Christian cross was tattooed on her collarbone, the word "lover" in Tibetan above her left buttock. Rihanna covered the music notes on her ankle with a gun-shaped Egyptian falcon design. As a tribute to her late grandmother, Dolly, the singer had the Egyptian goddess, Isis, inked on her chest. In 2013, she had the Ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti tattooed on the side of her left rib cage. In 2015, Rihanna had "1988" (her year of birth) inked above her right ankle. In 2016, whilst with Drake in Miami, she had a shark inked above her left ankle. Drake had the same tattoo inked on his right forearm.
Rihanna's first albums established her as a "Pop/R&B Princess" by media outlets. Nick Levine of Digital Spy described her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad, as "the closest thing to a Thriller that 2007/08 is likely to produce". Her single "Umbrella", famous for its "ella ella" hook, is considered by Rolling Stone to be one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Her 2011 single "We Found Love" was ranked by Billboard as the 24th biggest US Billboard Hot 100 hit of all time. The music video won a Grammy as Best Short Form Music Video and MTV's Video of the Year.
Time magazine included Rihanna on its 100 Most Influential People in the World issue in 2012. Stella McCartney writes "She's one of the coolest, hottest, most talented, most liked, most listened to, most followed, most impressive artists at work today, but she does it in her own stride. She works hard, very hard. She gives to her fans, friends and foundation not just herself but her energy and spirit." On June 2, 2014, Rihanna was presented with Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a special prize reserved for "an individual whose style has made a significant impact on popular culture on an international stage". In August 2013, Rihanna is placed at number 13 on Billboard's "Greatest Of All Time Hot 100 Artists" list, being its highest ranking newcomer. Billboard also ranked Rihanna the top Hot 100 artist of the 2010s decade. In 2014, Time magazine's pop stardom ranking metric, ranked Rihanna second in history, based on all-time chart performance and contemporary significance.
Rihanna's work has directly influenced a number of contemporary artists such as Little Mix, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Ellie Goulding, Tegan and Sara, Jessie J, Cover Drive, Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Alexandra Stan, Grimes, Cher Lloyd and Willow Smith. Rihanna has an honorary title of Ambassador for Culture and Youth in Barbados. Additionally, Rihanna has become a dominating figure in social media and internet streaming, ranking at number one on Forbes' 2012 list of Social Networking Superstars. In 2013, Rihanna was also named the most influential pop star in the United Kingdom by UK channel 4Music.
In February 22, 2008, former Barbados Prime Minister, David Thompson, launched the national "Rihanna Day" in their country. Although it is not a bank holiday, Barbadians celebrate it every year to honor Rihanna's success in the music industry.
Rihanna has received numerous awards throughout her career such as 8 Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, 12 American Music Awards, 8 People's Choice Awards, among others. Rihanna received the "Icon Award" at the 2013 American Music Awards and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. She has sold over 230 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the United States, Rihanna has sold over 10 million albums, while Nielsen SoundScan ranked her as the best-selling digital artist in the country, breaking a Guinness World Record for digital single sales of over 58 million as of 2012. On July 1, 2015 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that Rihanna had surpassed more than 100 million Gold & Platinum song certifications. In doing so Rihanna has the most digital single awards and is the first and only artist to surpass RIAA’s 100 million cumulative singles award threshold. In the United Kingdom, she has sold over seven million albums, making her the third best selling female artist this century.
Rihanna has accumulated fourteen number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for the third most number ones in the chart's history. She has been named the top Mainstream Top 40 chart artist of the past twenty years by Billboard; she ranks first with most entries (36), most top tens (23), and most number ones (10). As of March 2014, Rihanna has sold over 18 million singles and six million albums in the United Kingdom. She is the tenth best-selling and the second best-selling female singles artist in the country, only behind Madonna and is second only to The Beatles for the most million-selling singles in the UK of all time. Her collaboration with Eminem, "Love the Way You Lie", together with "Umbrella", "Disturbia", "Only Girl (In the World)", "We Found Love", and "Diamonds", are some of the best-selling singles of all time worldwide. According to Billboard, her total album sales stand at 54 million copies sold worldwide. In February 2017, Rihanna surpassed Elvis Presley as the best-selling solo artist of all time in certified units.
Rihanna has ventured into other businesses and industries. In October 2005, Rihanna struck an endorsement deal (her first of many) with Secret Body Spray. In 2010, Rihanna featured in the Optus commercial, in conjunction with Optus supporting Rihanna's Last Girl on Earth Tour. The same year Rihanna also featured in the Kodak commercial along with rapper Pitbull. In October 2010, the singer released an eponymous book. The book, featured photos from Rihanna's Last Girl on Earth Tour and served as an accompaniment to her fourth studio album Rated R (2009). Rihanna's first fragrance, "Reb'l Fleur", was released in January 2011. The product became highly successful, according to Rolling Stone, Reb'l Fleur was a financial success and was expected to gross US$80 million at retail by the end of 2011. In 2011, Nivea celebrated its "100 Years of Skincare" festivities which featured several performances from Rihanna. Rihanna's song "California King Bed" was featured as a part of the "100 Years of Skincare" commercial campaign. Rihanna also became the face of Vita Coco in 2011.
Rihanna's second fragrance, "Rebelle", was released in February 2012. The promotional campaign for Rebelle, was shot by director, Anthony Mandler, who also shot the promotional campaign for Reb'l Fleur. In November 2012, Rihanna released her third fragrance, "Nude". In 2013, the singer collaborated with MAC Cosmetics and released her own summer, fall and holiday lines of makeup called "RiRi hearts MAC". In July 2013, lager production company Budweiser announced that Rihanna had become a part of their global "Made For Music" campaign, also co-starring Jay Z. A commercial video was released featuring the singer and song "Right Now". Rihanna's fourth women's fragrance, titled Rogue was released on September 14, 2013. The singer announces to release a men's version the following year. It was announced on August 1, 2014 that September 2014 will see the release Rihanna's first fragrance for men, "Rogue Man". Also in July 2015, she announced her latest fragrance, RiRi by Rihanna. The scent features notes of passion fruit extract, rum absolute, sparkling cassis, and Italian mandarin and arrive at retailers in September 2015.
On March 30, 2015, it was announced that Rihanna is a co-owner, with various other music artists, in the music streaming service Tidal. The service specialises in lossless audio and high definition music videos. Jay Z acquired the parent company of Tidal, Aspiro, in the first quarter of 2015. Including Beyoncé and Jay Z, sixteen artist stakeholders (such as Kanye West, Beyoncé, Madonna, Chris Martin, Nicki Minaj and more) co-own Tidal, with the majority owning a 3% equity stake. "The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value", stated Jay Z on the release of Tidal.
In November 2015, Rihanna and Benoit Demouy launched a beauty and stylist agency named Fr8me. The business based in Los Angeles was set up in order to assist artists in booking commercials, editorial shoots, ad campaigns, and red-carpet appearances. Speaking on the venture Rihanna stated "Hair, makeup and styling play an important role in creativity, I am very involved with that part of my process, so this agency was an organic thing for me to do." The roster includes Rihanna’s makeup artist Mylah Morales, wardrobe stylist Jason Bolden, hairstylist Patricia Morales, and Marcia Hamilton. In addition to Fr8me, Rihanna opened a photo agency called "A Dog Ate My Homework", which represents photographers Erik Asla and Deborah Anderson.
Early in her career, Rihanna made clear her interest in fashion and desire to work in the clothing design industry. In November 2011, Rihanna announced her first fashion venture with Armani. In February 2013, Rihanna presented her first women's spring fashion collection at London Fashion Week for British street fashion brand River Island, collaborating with her personal stylist Adam Selman. They published two more collections for the brand, a summer edition released on May 25, 2013 and an autumn edition released on September 10, 2013. The fourth and last collection for River Island, the winter edition was released on November 7, 2013. Rihanna went on to collaborate with numerous fashion house's including Dior, Stance and Manolo Blahnik.
In December 2014, it was confirmed that Rihanna would become the creative director of the fashion sportswear Puma, overseeing the brand’s women’s line which will include collaborations in apparel and footwear. In the fall of 2015, Rihanna released her first trainer with Puma, the sneaker sold out online with three hours of its pre-sale launch. Over the next two years Rihanna released various other footwear in different colour ways and styles which were all met to positively by both critics and buyers. 2016 saw Rihanna debut her first clothing line in collaboration with Puma at New York Fashion Week, the collection was met with rave reviews from fashion critics. In the spring of that year, Rihanna debuted her second collection at Paris Fashion Week and was met with critical acclaim. Vogue Magazine praised the collection and Rihanna stating "Sometimes when a famous person tries his or her hand at another discipline, the results can be uneven. And yet there are those special cases when making the switch leads to a good surprise. Judging by the collection she showed today, we can add Rihanna to that list."
Rihanna herself has become an fashion icon her. On June 2, 2014, Rihanna "will receive the Fashion Icon Award at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards" at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. and said regarding it "Fashion has always been my defense mechanism". Mexican singer Becky G has stated Rihanna is one of style icons to Latina magazine. In March 2015, it was announced that Rihanna was chosen as the new face of Dior; this makes her the first black woman to be the face of Dior. She has also branded into other fashion ventures. Her first television program, Styled to Rock, premiered in the UK in August 2012 on Sky Living. In the ten-week series, Rihanna, Nicola Roberts, Lysa Cooper, and Henry Holland assist up-and-coming British designers with their clothing lines. Meanwhile, the US version of Styled to Rock premiered on October 25, 2013 on Bravo.
In 2006, she created her Believe Foundation to help terminally ill children. In 2007, Rihanna was named as one of the Cartier Love Charity Bracelet Ambassadors, with each celebrity representing a different global charity. To help raise awareness and combat HIV/AIDS, Rihanna and other public figures designed clothing for the February 2008 H&M Fashion Against AIDS line.
In 2008, Rihanna performed a series of charity concerts entitled A Girl's Night Out to benefit the Believe Foundation. The concerts were made free for the public. Money from sponsors and advertisers were to be donated to provide medical supplies, school supplies and toys to children in need. In September 2008, Rihanna contributed to the song "Just Stand Up!" with fifteen other female artists, who shared the stage to perform the song live on September 5, 2008, during the "Stand Up to Cancer" television special. The proceeds from the single were given to the fundraiser. The television special helped raise $100 million for cancer research.
Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012, in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. Current programs include the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, and education programs. The CLF host an annual Diamond Ball—charity fundraiser event. The inaugural event in 2014 raised over $2 million, with the second raising over $3 million.
On February 12, 2012, Rihanna performed a benefit show at the House of Blues to raise money for the Children's Orthopaedic Center and The Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program at Children's Hospital. In November 2012, Rihanna gave $100,000 to food bank donation for Hurricane Sandy, On January 3, 2014 Rihanna was part of the MAC Viva Glam campaign, which benefits women, men, and children living with HIV/AIDS.
In February 2017, Rihanna was named Harvard University's "Humanitarian of the Year" by the Harvard Foundation.
On February 8, 2009, Rihanna's scheduled performance at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards was cancelled. Reports surfaced that then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown had physically assaulted her. He 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 police department obtained by TMZ.com—which revealed that Rihanna had sustained visible injuries—an organization known as STOParazzi proposed "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 discussed the controversial distribution of the leaked photograph. Rihanna was subpoenaed to testify during a preliminary hearing in Los Angeles on June 22, 2009. On June 22, 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault. Brown received five years probation and was ordered to stay fifty yards (46 meters) away from Rihanna, unless at public events, which then would be reduced to ten yards (nine meters). In February 2011, at the request of Brown's lawyer and with Rihanna's consent, Judge Patricia Schnegg modified the restraining order to a "level one order", which allows the singers to appear at awards shows together in the future.
From December 2009 to 2010, Rihanna dated Dodgers baseball player Matt Kemp. Canadian rapper Drake has also dated the singer. In a January 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Rihanna confirmed that she had rekindled her relationship with Chris Brown, though he remained under probation for the 2009 domestic violence incident. The confirmation followed persistent media speculation throughout 2012 regarding the pair's reunion. In a May 2013 interview, Brown stated that he and Rihanna had broken up again. In 2015, Rihanna briefly dated Travis Scott, a rapper from Missouri City, Texas.
Rihanna has stated that she believes in God and that she focuses on obeying God and reading her Bible. She is a fan of Protestant charismatic minister Joyce Meyer. In 2015, Rihanna told Harper's Bazaar that her faith in God has helped her throughout her career.
During her performance at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival, Rihanna expressed her disagreement with Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act that allows companies and individuals to use their religious beliefs as protection, in case of being accused of discrimination against LGBT people. Rihanna along with numerous other high-profile celebrities featured in an online video entitled "23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You Are Black in America". The video was released in partnership with the We Are Here Movement and called for action against police brutality.
According to the New York Post, Rihanna filed a lawsuit against Peter Gunis and the firm Berdon LLP for $35 million but settled out of court for more than $10 million. Forbes began reporting on Rihanna's earnings in 2012, calculating that she earned $53 million between May 2011 and May 2012, for her music, tour, and endorsements. In 2013, Rihanna came in at number 13 on the list with a total earning of $43 million due to endorsements such as vita coco. In 2015 Rihanna earned $26 million, which resulted in her net worth rising to $160 million by 2016. In July 2016, Forbes magazine placed Rihanna at number 13 on their list of highest paid celebrities, earning $75 million between 2015 and 2016. Rihanna currently lives in Manhattan, New York City and owns a penthouse there that is worth $14 million.
- Music of the Sun (2005)
- A Girl like Me (2006)
- Good Girl Gone Bad (2007)
- Rated R (2009)
- Loud (2010)
- Talk That Talk (2011)
- Unapologetic (2012)
- Anti (2016)
- Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006)
- Battleship (2012)
- Coldplay Live 2012 (2012)
- Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)
- This Is the End (2013)
- Annie (2014)
- Home (2015)
- Bates Motel (2017)
- Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
- Ocean's Eight (2018)
- Rihanna: Live in Concert Tour (2006)
- Good Girl Gone Bad Tour (2007–2009)
- Last Girl on Earth Tour (2010–2011)
- Loud Tour (2011)
- Diamonds World Tour (2013)
- The Monster Tour (with Eminem) (2014)
- Anti World Tour (2016)