Robyn Rihanna Fenty

Introduction: Why did I choose Rihanna?

Rihanna is one of the most innovational artists of all time. She is constantly changing her musical style, investing in new projects, and finding one way or another to remain a progressive artist. Her ability to stay ahead of the times is absolutely fascinating to me. She is a woman of many talents which is evident in her music, entrepreneurship, acting career, philanthropy, and numerous awards. She is one of the few people to be successful in anything she does despite if it is popular at the time or not. Conducting research on this pop, R&B, reggae, and business woman legend, was truly fulfilling.

Early Life

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados. Her mother is native Guyanese and her father is native Barbadian. Due to Rihanna’s Caribbean heritage and significant influence of American hip hop in the Caribbean, she grew up listening to reggae and other Caribbean music, hip-hop, and R&B. Her love for singing began at a very early age. In 2004, Rihanna began a girl group with two other girls. The girl group attracted the attention of record producer Evan Rogers. Upon meeting Rogers and auditioning for him, Rihanna moved from the Barbados to the United States in 2005 to pursue her singing career.

Transitioning from Robyn to Rihanna

The beginning of Rihanna’s career was heavily influenced by American record producer Evan Rogers and hip-hop legend Jay-Z. When Evan Rogers heard the girl group Rihanna began with two of her classmates, his interest was immediately sparked with the star. He flew her to the United States to audition for the record label and put her in contact with Jay-Z. During her audition, she recorded a demo tape one in which was her well-known hit “Pon de Replay”. Shortly after she was signed to Rogers’ record company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions. Syndicated Rhythm Productions had some competition because Rihanna caught the attention of other prominent record labels. Her demo tape arrived at Def Jam Recordings where Jay-Z was president and CEO. Jay-Z heard the demo tape, he invited Rihanna to audition for Def Jam. Jay-Z also introduced Rihanna’s music to L.A. Reid. Both Jay-Z and L.A. Reid decided that they would sign Rihanna to Def Jam Recordings in New York City where she released her first single “Pon de Replay”. Not only was this debut single the spark of Rihanna’s career, it was also the time in which she dropped her first name and used her middle name “Rihanna” as her career name. “Pon de Replay” was extremely successful internationally. A few short months later, Rihanna released her debut album Music of the Sun. Like her debut single, her debut album was also very successful. Music of the Sun became gold certified and sold over two million copies worldwide. In April 2006, Rihanna released her second album A Girl like Me. The album reached number 1 in several different countries and was certified Platinum. Her well-known single “Unfaithful” was on this album and reached the top 10 in 18 countries alone. Although Rihanna released two successful albums in just a little over a year, she continued to work hard and prepare for what was to come next.

Discography and Music Career

After releasing two successful albums, Rihanna decided to make her first change in the Rihanna brand. The change primarily focused on her look and how others perceived her. With the release of her third album Good Girl Gone Bad, she let go of her youthful look and embraced a more sexual, adult look. This album was significantly more provocative then her first two albums. She also made a change in her style of music. Her Caribbean roots were demonstrated significantly through the songs on her first two albums; however, her music style in Good Girl Gone Bad leaned more toward R&B and pop. Not only did this album top the charts in several countries, but it also contains many of Rihanna’s most prominent hits: “Don’t Stop the Music”, “Hate That I love You (feat. Ne-Yo)”, “Take a Bow”, “Disturbia”, and the most popular hit “Umbrella”. “Umbrella” topped and remained number 1 in over 13 different countries. Due to the album’s huge success Rihanna headlined her second tour, the Good Girl Gone Bad Tour in September 2007. The album was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards. In November 2009, her first album Rated R was released. “Rude Boy” was the most successful single on the album topping the US Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. Around this time, Rihanna was featured on several well-known singles such as Nicki Minaj’s “Fly”, David Guetta’s “Who’s That Chick?”, Kanye West’s “All of the Lights”, and one of her most well-known features, Eminem’s “Love the Way you Lie”. “Love the Way You Lie” earned Rihanna the first of her singles to sell over one million copies in the United States. Up until 2012, Rihanna was releasing an album every year. She released Loud in 2010, Talk That Talk in 2011, and Unapologetic in 2012.In her 2010 Album, Rihanna returned to combining her Caribbean roots with American pop and R&B. This combination of the two cultures is prominently demonstrated in her hit single “Work” feat. Drake and her feature on DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts”. She also entered the techno/house music genre with her collaborations with David Guetta on “This is What You Came For” and with Calvin Harris on her single “We Found Love”. After a four-year break, she finally released her latest album Anti in 2016. Each album reached gold, platinum or both gold and platinum status. Her style of music and image also changed as her music career progressed. Rihanna established herself as the sex symbol she is known as today on Rated R.She continued this through her other three albums; however, Loud and Talk That Talk had several serious and heartbreak songs. Several singles on all of her albums reached the top ten billboards and stayed number 1 for several weeks.  She has not released any albums since Anti; however, Rihanna has confirmed that her 9thstudio album will be released in 2019.

Entrepreneurship, Fashion, and Filmography

Rihanna is one of the best-selling artists of the 21stCentury and a woman of many talents. Her innovative aurora and creativity distinguish her from many other artists that she competes with. In addition to being a music artist, she is also an actress and businesswoman. Rihanna’s first debut in the film industry was in the Bring It On: All or Nothing released in August 2006 where she starred as herself. In the 2012 film Battleship Rihanna had her first significant role as Officer Cora Raikes. In 2015, she was the voice of Tip in the animated film Home. She held her first recurring role as Marion Crane in the final season of Bates Motel. Although Rihanna received mediocre reviews for her performances, that did not stop her from continuing her acting career. In the all-female cast film Ocean’s 8, Rihanna held a role in the grossing $300 million international film. Rihanna has had many lines of fragrances; however, none of her beauty lines took off until she released her makeup line “Fenty Beauty”. She launched “Fenty Beauty” in 2017 under LVMH’s Kendo Brands. The makeup line has been and is still very popular especially in the makeup giant Sephora. The makeup line is praised for the diverse range of colored foundations, highlighters, and lipsticks. Rihanna was always known to be a fashion icon in addition to her many other talents. She constantly switched up her image including her hair and wardrobe. One of her many awards includes the Fashion Icon Award that she won at the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA) Awards. In 2016, Rihanna began her first clothing line in collaboration with Puma: “Fenty X Puma”. In September 2018, she released her lingerie fashion line : “Savage X Fenty”.

Philanthrophy

In between making music, being a business woman, and releasing new fashion lines, Rihanna still makes time to give back to her community. She began the Believe Foundation in 2006 which was created to help with terminally ill children. She participated in the Fashion Against AIDS line alongside H&M in 2008. She also started another foundation called the Clara Lionel Foundation (named after her grandparents) which has Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Centers in the Barbados. She also does work in Children’s hospitals and participates as much as she can in programs that benefit people living with HIV and AIDS. She is very vocal about her political and moral beliefs. She describes herself to be more spiritual than religious, but she does believe in God. She was a supporter of former President Obama and has vocalized her intense disagreement with the Trump Administration on multiple occasions.

Headlining Tours

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)

Awards

Rihanna has won over 200 awards and has been nominated for almost 600. Her highest awards include:

  • 13 American Music Awards
  • 9 Barbados Music Awards
  • 6 BET Awards
  • 12 Billboard Awards
  • 9 Grammy Awards
  • 6 Guinness World Records
  • 7 MTV Video Music Awards (Including the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award)
  • 1 NAACP Image Awards
  • 3 Soul Train Music Awards

Rihanna receiving the MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award

Sources

Jansen, L., & Westphal, M. (2017). Rihanna Works Her Multivocal Pop Persona: A Morpho-syntactic and Accent Analysis of Rihanna’s Singing Style: Pop culture provides rich data that demonstrate the complex interplay of World Englishes. English Today, 33(2), 46-55. doi:10.1017/S0266078416000651

“Bio.” Rihanna, www.rihannanow.com/bio/.

“Rihanna.” Biography, www.biography.com/musician/rihanna.

“Rihanna.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/biography/Rihanna.

“Rihanna.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 25 June 2005, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rihanna. Accessed 5 May 2019.

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