Rihanna Soars to the Top of the International Charts
by Ayesha Lett
In spite of her meteoric rise to fame and wealth, Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty still has a strong Bajan accent and a down-to-earth attitude that would immediately put any fan at ease.
Seventeen year old Rihanna is the latest R & B sensation to take the world by storm and she is a proud Barbadian. Her debut song, “Pon De Replay” reached number 2 on the Billboard Charts in September 2005 and her new-found fame driven by her smash hit has taken her from these shores to countries she could only dream about a few months ago.
Now based in Connecticut, United States, the soft-spoken Rihanna is finally living her dream life and she’s loving it. “I always dreamed about recording and putting out an album. To reach the Billboard is something I never even thought about.”
However, the Def-Jam recording artiste is continuing what started right here in Barbados. “I studied music during my first year at Combermere School, but I dropped it after that,” Rihanna admitted. Combermere is one of the oldest secondary schools on the island and is renowned for its vibrant music programme. But her passion for music and singing did not die there. She sang at every opportunity she could.
“I sang in the shower, in front of the mirror. Even the neighbour told me I was too loud,” Rihanna laughingly recalled. And even though she did not enter many singing competitions and failed to gain national attention, she did appear before a few audiences, strutting her stuff and winning the Mr. and Ms. Combermere Pageant last year. She also was a guest performer four years ago at the Ms. Teen Caribbean Pageant.
Apart from those two occasions, the singer did not get any real experience performing live. Somehow that did not matter though when she got a chance meeting with American producer Evan Rogers, who is married to a Barbadian. He was on holiday here when he met Rihanna. She was part of a group who auditioned for him, but it was her talent and image that immediately got the producer’s attention. The next step – a trip to New York to audition and then, in a whirlwind, she landed the recording contract of her dreams with top record label Def-Jam and suddenly, she’s a star.
And what a ride it has been so far! In a few short months, the Bajan beauty has performed in Germany, London, Toronto and all over the US promoting her debut album, “Music of the Sun“, which was launched on August 30, 2005. She has also appeared on all the major American talk shows, including the popular “106 & Park” on BET, “Total Request Live” on MTV, “The Today Show” on NBC and “The Late, Late Show” on CBS. Rihanna has also appeared on the number 1-rated “Top of the Pops” show in the UK.
In spite of the hectic lifestyle she now leads, Rihanna stays focused and humble thanks to the firm upbringing of her family. “They are incredibly supportive – my mum, dad, aunts and uncles. They call me every time an article on me appears in the newspapers at home. They encourage me to stay grounded and humble. I have a great team,” Rihanna proudly declared.
Although she is enjoying her new life in the US, touring, recording and performing, Rihanna said she still misses some of her favourite things from home. “I miss the beach, the Boatyard, my favourite club, hanging out with my girlfriends and oh, the beach,” she groaned.
“But I know I have to be here in the States if I want to live my dream. I am working to get to the top. I have to work to be successful because success is a journey, not a destination. I will keep aiming for the top,” Rihanna asserted, with a wisdom far beyond her 17 years.
If the current buzz about Rihanna continues around the world, there is no doubt that she will reach the top very soon, proudly showcasing her music of the sun, while flying the Barbadian flag very high.
Rihanna Wins at MuchMusic Video Awards in Canada!
June 19, 2006
Congratulations to Rihanna for taking home the “Best International Video” award at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Canada!
Rihanna beat out superstars such as Mariah Carey and Madonna who were also nominated in the category. We told you she was going to be a Barbadian superstar!!!
July 26th, 2006