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Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in Barbados. After vacationing producer Evan Rogers heard her singing, he helped get her signed to Def Jam Records. She released her first album in 2005. Over the next five years, she earned five number one hit songs and sold eleven million albums.
In 2008, she won a Grammy Award for best rap/sung collaboration, for the song “Umbrella.” She moved to San Diego in 2007.
In late 2010, she parted ways with manager Marc Jordan, to instead be managed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Management. She performed on Saturday Night Live on October 30, with Jon Hamm of Mad Men hosting.
On November 15, 2010, Times Square traffic was all but shut down as Rihanna did a surprise NYC performance of “What’s My Name.” The previous week, she showed up onstage with Bon Jovi at a November 6 gig in Madrid, Spain, performing “Livin’ on a Prayer” with the band.
Loud was released the next day, with the first single being “Only Girl (In the World).” She also recorded a sequel to “Love the Way You Lie,” produced by Alex da Kid, with her taking on the female side of the ongoing musical story with guest star Eminem. “Only Girl (In the World)” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
In early 2011, she appeared on David Guetta’s single “Who’s That Chick,” which sold over 32,000 singles in its first week. The track is from Guetta’s album One More Love (Astralwerks Records), out on January 25.
As of January 10, 2011, she’s the first female solo artist in UK chart history to achieve number one singles in five consecutive years. The feat equals Elvis Presley’s UK chart record, as she dominated England’s Top 10 singles and also stayed at the summit of their albums chart. She also topped the Canadian chart for three weeks.
Around the same time, she spoke out to clear up rumors she fell out with Katy Perry after branding her music generic, insisting the controversial comments were actually aimed at songwriters and producers.
In spring 2011, the Parents Television Council said she promotes “cold, calculated execution of murder” in her “Man Down” video, which depicts gunning down a rapist in a crowded train station. “If Chris Brown shot a woman in his new video and BET premiered it, the world would stop. Rihanna should not get a pass.” The Council was outraged that Rihanna tweeted her fans that the video contained, “a very strong underlying message 4 girls like me.”
In summer 2011, she was sued again over her “S&M” video, with 19-year-old Phillip Paulus accusing her of using staging and sets from his August 2010 Paperworld spread in her video. She also appeared in a NYC courtroom in August, due to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against her by photographer David LaChapelle.
Around the same time, she replaced Lady Gaga as the most popular female artist on Facebook, according to social media statistics site Famecount.com.
She filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court, claiming the two-story Beverly Hills home she bought in 2009 for $6.9 million has numerous waterproofing defects, evidence of water intrusion, and other construction defects. She sued the former owner, the property inspector, the real estate agents involved with the sale, and engineers who worked on the house.
In Autumn 2011, she was a guest judge on Simon Cowell’s X Factor TV show, alongside Antonio L.A. Reid, who signed Rihanna back in 2005.
She cancelled her October 31, 2011 show in Malmö, Sweden, reportedly to be treated for the flu.
Jay-Z guests on the title track to her full-length Talk That Talk, released November 21, 2011. She performed “We Found Love” on The X Factor results show on November 17. She made history when “We Found Love” became her 11th number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and her 20th top ten hit. She collected her twenty Hot 100 top ten singles faster than any other solo artist, six years and four months.
Around the same time, French TV banned her video for “We Found Love” from appearing on French television before 10pm because of its “pronounced suggestive” content. Her new album debuted at #1 on the UK album charts, while the “We Found Love” single returned to #1 on the UK singles chart.
She was named the Most Liked Musician on Facebook for 2011, ahead of Bob Marley (#2), Avril Lavigne (#3), and David Guetta (#4). With almost 48 million followers on her FB page, she also snagged the #1 Most-Listened-To Song on the site that year, with “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris.
In early 2012, a new video for “You Da One” began streaming online, her Loud Tour wrapped, and she became the first female artist to reach over two billion views on video website Vevo. She performed “We Found Love” at the Grammy Awards on February 12, 2012, where she and Coldplay also teamed up to perform their Mylo Xyloto collaboration “Princess of China.”
A online video series launched in early 2012, The Road to Talk That Talk, provides insight into the making of Talk That Talk. In part one, Rihanna takes viewers backstage on the last day of her Loud Tour, to the studio, and to Barbados with her family.
The movie Battleship, based on the Hasbro game and in theaters in May 2012, features Rihanna portraying Petty Officer Raikes. The movie also stars Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) and Liam Neeson.
Gene Simmons took a shot at Rihanna while announcing the 2012 Kiss/Motley Crue tour: “No karaoke singers allowed. No fake bulls**t. Leave that to the Rihanna, Shmianna and anyone who ends their name with an A. This is real stuff.”
Her Saturday Night Live set on May 5, 2012, was mocked online as the show’s worst ever. She next appeared in the film Battleship, based on the Hasbro game and released May 18. Around the same time, she released her third signature perfume fragrance, Nude, following the 2011 debuts of her Reb’l Fleur and Rebelle perfumes.
She cancelled her June 15, 2012 UK appearance on the risque Graham Norton Show, tweeting “I’m not sick! I pushed my trip to London back to go spend time with my family! Sorry kiddos.” Late that summer, she scored five nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards.
She made a surprise appearance with Coldplay at the Stade De France in Paris on September 2, 2012, performing “Princess Of China” from the band’s album Mylo Xyloto. She returned later in the show for a stripped down version of her hit “Umbrella,” accompanied by Coldplay’s Chris Martin on piano.
She’ll reportedly cover Cinderella’s 1988 hard rock song “Don’t Know What You Got Until It’s Gone” on her seventh full-length Unapologetic, produced by Norwegian hit makers Stargate. Her advance single from the album, “Diamonds,” was co-produced by Sean Garrett and Swedish House Mafia. She’s also teaming up with UK clothing line River Island to design her own collection, which will launch in Spring 2013.
The “Diamonds” single topped the UK singles chart, beating One Direction’s “Live While We’re Young,” Adele’s “Skyfall,” and the novelty dance hit “Gangnam Style,” though it only entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 18. A video for the song was directed by Anthony Mandler.
In November 2012, Rihanna revealed that a limited edition version of Unapologetic, the Diamonds Executive Platinum Box, will be available starting December 11 as a limited edition art piece featuring a colored "Diamonds" remixes vinyl, 2GB credit card-style USB stick, a unisex shirt featuring a photo from her album photo shoot with Michael Muller, seven art print lithographs and other artwork, view master, poster and laptop sticker, a note from the singer to the Rihanna Navy, and more, selling for $250.
Her full-length Unapologetic debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 238,000 copies during its first week of release and breaking her streak of having the most number one songs on the Hot 100 without ever having a number one album.
The subsequent 777 Tour saw Rihanna playing 7 shows in 7 countries in 7 days, starting November 14.
For the trip, she was joined on a Boeing 777 twinjet by a group of die-hard fans from the Rihanna Navy, as well as a traveling international press corps of over 150 journalists representing 82 countries.
She sang her latest single “Diamonds” on the two-hour season three finale of The Voice, just as the single was bumped out of the number one slot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars (who performed on the same TV show).
She launched her fashion collection, Rihanna For River Island, at London Fashion Week on February 16, 2013, and then went on her Diamonds World Tour. However, she soon cancelled concerts in Baltimore and Boston as she reportedly battled with the flu and laryngitis.
On May 6, 2013, the Fox TV network aired Rihanna 777, a concert documentary about her 2012 tour, performing seven shows over seven days in seven countries, with concerts in Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London, and New York City.
She cancelled her April 15 Houston show, announcing via Instagram “I was sick since San Diego! I kept working because I thought two days off after the Vegas show would be enough time to recover and I f**ked up, those were two days off from hell and today is not different.” Earlier, she cancelled concerts in Baltimore and Boston while reportedly battling with the flu and laryngitis.
Eminem's 2013 album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, features a track recorded with Rihanna, who sang on Em's hit “Love the Way You Lie,” written by Skylar Grey (who also appears on the 16-song record).