Barbados’ princess of pop has been riding high on a sea of success since record producer Evan Rogers discovered her at the tender age of 16 in Barbados.
As of August 2011, she has sold more than 20 million albums and 60 million singles, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Having grown up in the parish of St. Michael, on her little island rock that is Barbados, she moved to the USA and was snapped up by hip-hop record label Def Jam Recordings.
Rihanna now rocks the world with her panache, tenacity, sexuality, and power; however, it never used to be this way for Rhianna.
Underneath her signature red hot hair, Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, is a Bajan girl who grew up in Bridgetown in a three-bedroom bungalow and helped her father sell clothes on a stall.
Her mother is a retired Afro-Guyanese accountant, and her father was an Irish warehouse supervisor who suffered from heart-breaking crack cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol addiction.
Rihanna’s parents separated when she was just 14. However, she did not let this upset stop her from following her musical dream, and while at Combermere school, Rhianna started a band with two friends.
It soon became apparent that Rihanna was a budding starlet; she just needed to find a way to prove it to the world.
Fortunately, Rihanna received the break she had been looking for – a friend of hers knew the wife of record producer Evan Rogers, and through this connection, she was allowed to audition for him.
Evan Rogers saw that she had talent straight away, and in her school holidays, he flew Rihanna to New York to record her first demo.
At 17, Rihanna released her first album in 2005, ‘Music of the sun‘ which reflected her Barbadian ‘dancehall’ roots.
Her album got into the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and featured her hit song, ‘Pon de Replay,’ but it didn’t stop there.
Rihanna went from strength to strength, and her second album, ‘A Girl Like Me,‘ got into the top five of the Billboard albums chart.
Then in 2007, Rihanna released her third album, ‘Good Girl Gone Bad,’ for which she won a Grammy Award for the featured hit ‘Umbrella,’ which she sang alongside Jay-Z, the owner of her record label Def Jam recordings.
Rihanna has been catapulted onto the worldwide stage, her image and persona have risen into the stratosphere, and she, the Barbadian pop star, has been born.
Rihanna continues to light up the stars and is now an icon with multi-million dollar advertising contracts, and she is the face of the Barbados Tourism Authority.
She is now also branching out into cinema. She is working on her first film, ‘Battleship,’ which is based on Hasbro’s classic novel ‘Combat Game,’ and is about our planet’s survival against a superior force.
Rihanna’s albums are still a sellout, and her latest single ‘Loud,’ released in 2010, features the number-one hits ‘Only girl in the world,’ ‘What’s my name?‘ and ‘S&M.’
Following Rihanna’s incredible success, The Barbados Tourism Authority has employed her as The ‘Ambassador of Barbados.’
She included performing in Barbados as part of her worldwide ‘LOUD‘ tour, where 25,000 people watched her play at the Kensington Oval cricket ground.
She made numerous appearances in Barbados, including the famous annual Crop Over Festival, where she danced on a float to help promote her beautiful Barbados home.
This Barbadian princess of pop continues to spread stardust wherever she goes.
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.