Born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty in 1988 in Barbados, Rihanna was like any other teenage girls of her age who attended high school and loved to sing for fun together with some friends. It all began to change drastically after she was introduced to Evan Rogers, a New York City music producer who is also the owner of Syndicated Rhythm Productions. Rogers and his Barbadian wife named Jackie happened to be in Barbados to spend their 2003 Christmas vacation near St. Michael, Rihanna's hometown. Impressed with her amazing voice, Rogers offered Rihanna to record some tracks in New York by spring.
Together with Rogers and his partner, Carl Sturken, Rihanna composed almost a dozen songs, taking inspiration from dancehall and ragamuffin which are the musical culture of her origin and blended them with R&B tunes. "My music is mostly Caribbean beats mixed with R&B," she described eagerly. "I don't want to be pigeon holed into being just a dance artist because I can sing too. I have ballads on the album as well as upbeat tracks."
Looking for a label, Rihanna landed her feet at Def Jam Recordings in which Shawn Carter or popularly known as Jay-Z has become the president as well as its CEO. Upon witnessing her performance, the acclaimed rapper quickly offered her a recording contract on the spot. She afterwards set out to collect materials for her debut album, co-writing most of its tracks. "Pon De Replay" eventually was released on May 25, 2005. The single turned out to be a great piece of music as it was labeled one of the summer's hottest jams in U.S..
Achieving success with "Pon De Replay," Rihanna put her hopes to repeat the same attainment on her first album "Music of the Sun" which was launched on August 30, 2005. With tracks featuring both Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel, it provided some serious heat to burn either radio stations or clubs throughout the country. It was truly like a dream coming true for the enchanting performer. "If I hadn't met Evan and Carl I might have just been dreaming forever. I am so thankful for everything they've done for me," Rihanna said gratefully. Dream or no dream, her debut album, recorded by RIAA, received Gold in U.S. and Platinum in several other countries. She was soon the highly anticipated act that Gwen Stefani tapped her to open her tour.
This success was relayed by Rihanna's sophomore set titled "A Girl Like Me" that was out in April 2006, only eight months after the first album's release. Instead of crushing her career, the rush actually brought a greater triumph for her. The lead single "SOS" entered Billboard Hot 100 chart at #1 and therefore marked her first No.1 song. The same song gained popularity in U.K. and Australia followed by equally strong "Unfaithful". The third single released "We Ride" however, didn't meet the same fate as it failed to enter the Hot 100 chart but was good enough to send the album to 2x platinum sale.
Having a good rhythm, Rihanna released the third album 'Good Girl Gone Bad' the next year. Before the package arrived on the shelves, first single "Umbrella" featuring Jay-Z had a slow start in Billboard Hot 100 by entering the chart under Top 40. However, the catchy chorus and fresh beat quickly won the single a much better luck by peaking at no.1 in U.K. single chart and a ten consecutive weeks reign at the same position. Receiving mostly favorable reviews, the third studio effort topped the charts in multiple countries including the U.K., Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Russia and at number two in the U.S. and Australia. A headlining tour was kicked off in September 2007 to support the album. She was then a frequent nominated artist and winner of awards events including Teen Choice Awards, Grammy Awards and MTV Video Music Awards in 2007.
So successful was "Good Girl Gone Bad" that it was re-released in June 2008 under the title "Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded". Three new songs, "Disturbia", "Take a Bow" and "If I Never See Your Face Again", were added as bonus. All three amazingly went well on the chart and boosted the sale of the remix album "Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes", which was released in January 2009.
In the peak of her success, a tragedy struck Rihanna's personal life. On the eve she was supposed to perform at the 51st Grammy Awards, Rihanna got into a physical altercation with then-boyfriend Chris Brown. It quickly became hot news as Rihanna and Brown's romance had been under the spotlight all that year. Brown was arrested for assaulting Rihanna and making criminal threats. Photo of Rihanna's battered and bruised face surfaced online, leading to many protests and hatred for Brown. In June 2009, Brown pled guilty to the felony assault and received five years probation in exchange of his plea. He was also ordered to stay fifty yards away from Rihanna.
Rihanna was back to record music in July 2009, collaborating with Kanye West and her mentor Jay-Z in "Run This Town". Several months later, her fourth studio album "Rated R" was released with "Russian Roulette" as the first single. However, it was third single "Rude Boy" that became the album's juggernaut, peaking at number 1 on Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. She went on Last Girl on Earth Tour to support the album, traveling worldwide. Rihanna also made a successful collaboration with Eminem on "Love the Way You Lie", which touched the subject very sensitive to her heart; domestic violence. The song went number 1 in more than 20 countries.
Rihanna announced in October 2010 that she had parted ways with manager Marc Jordan and joined Jay-Z's Roc Nation. She released new single "Only Girl (In the World)" that year as the first offering from her fifth studio album, "Loud". The song was followed by "What's My Name?", featuring Drake, that reached number one on several charts even before its predecessor. "Only Girl" went on winning a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Dance Recording and Rihanna embarked on another headlining tour which was sold out in most dates.
A year after "Loud" hit the market, a new studio album called "Talk That Talk" was released in November 2011. The lead single, "We Found Love", topped charts in eighteen countries worldwide, peaking on the top ten in thirty countries and breaking a string of records worldwide. Rihanna won Video of the Year award at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards. Surprisingly, Rihanna reconciled with Brown to record a remix of her songs called "Birthday Cake" and "Turn Up the Music" for the new album. In fact, she would be seen on the same scenes with Brown from then on.
Rihanna starred in her first theatrical feature film "Battleship", which was released on May 18, 2012. Her acting was labeled mediocre by many critics. Rihanna was soon back in the studio to record her seventh studio album, "Unapologetic", featuring another collaboration with Brown called "Nobody's Business". The album's lead single "Diamonds" peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. On top of releasing the album on November 19, 2012, Rihanna had scheduled a worldwide tour that begins in March 2013.
Following the success of "Unapologetic", which became her first No. 1 set on Billboard 200, Rihanna joined Eminem for another chart-topping single. They collaborated again on "The Monster" off the rapper's 2014 album, "MMLP2".
Rumors about Rihanna's new album began swirling in late 2014. In the following year, she joined "The Voice" as the key adviser for the ninth season, released the hit "FourFiveSeconds" with Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney, and another single "B**ch Better Have My Money". She announced the album's title, "Anti", and unveiled its cover art in late 2015, but the year ended with no R8 in sight.
The long wait was finally over in late January 2016, when she released the album on Jay-Z's Tidal. It was made available exclusively on the service for a few days before hitting iTunes and other retailers. As part of her partnership with Samsung, she also gave away a million copies of the album to Samsung users. Because of that, the record was immediately certified Platinum by the RIAA, though Nielsen wouldn't count the free copies for the Billboard 200 chart.
"Anti" missed the chart's top 10 in its first week, but soared to No. 1 in the second week. Its lead single, the Drake-assisted "Work", was an instant hit, currently sitting at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100.