Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), better known as simply Rihanna, is a Barbadian recording artist. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings.
In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Pon de Replay." Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first Hot 100 number one single, "SOS". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), spawned four chart-topping singles "Umbrella", "Take a Bow", "Disturbia" and "Don't Stop the Music", and was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, just winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella," which features Jay-Z.
Her fourth studio album Rated R, released in November 2009, produced the top 10 singles "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy", which achieved the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Loud (2010), her fifth studio album, contains the number-one hits "Only Girl (In the World)", "What's My Name?" and "S&M". "We Found Love" was released in September 2011 as the lead single from her sixth studio album and has topped the charts in over ten countries. Talk That Talk, Rihanna's sixth album, was released in November 2011.
Rihanna has sold more than 20 million albums and 60 million singles which makes her one of the best selling artists of all time. She is the youngest solo artist in Billboard charts history to achieve eleven number-one singles on the Hot 100. As of January 2012, Rihanna had sold approximately 47.6 million digital singles in the United States, making her the highest-selling digital artist in the US since 2004. By September 2011 she had shipped 7.3 million album units in the US.
Billboard named Rihanna the Digital Songs Artist of the 2000s decade, and ranked her as the 17th Artist of the 2000s decade. She has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, and the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Female Solo Artist.
She has also amassed a total of four Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and eighteen Billboard Music Awards. Rihanna has also been appointed the official ambassador of youth and culture for Barbados.
Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados, to Monica Braithwaite, a retired accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor for a garment factory.
Her mother, a native of Guyana, is Afro-Guyanese, and her father is of Barbadian and Irish descent. The eldest of three siblings, she has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty. She also has two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born by different mothers before Rihanna's father married her mother. She grew up listening to reggae music, and began singing at around the age of seven. Her childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana, and her parents' rocky marriage ended when she was 14, although he remained a part of her life.
During her parents' marriage, she suffered from excruciating headaches leading doctors to think she had a brain tumor and underwent several CAT scans from the age of eight until her parents separated. She grew up in a modest three-bed bungalow in Bridgetown and would sell clothes with her father on a street stall. She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial School, a primary school in Barbados, and then the Combermere School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates.
She was an army cadet in a sub-military programme that trained with the military of Barbados and Shontelle was her drill sergeant. Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue her musical career instead.
In December 2003, Rihanna met American music producer Evan Rogers through a mutual friend who knew Rogers' wife. When Rogers and his Bajan-born wife were in Barbados for the holidays, Rihanna and her two bandmates auditioned for him in his hotel room, who said that "the minute Rihanna walked into the room, it was like the other two girls didn't exist." While auditioning for Rogers, she sang Destiny's Child's cover of "Emotion". Impressed, Rogers set up a second meeting, and, with her mom present, invited her to do some recording and write with him and Carl Sturken at their studio in New York.
Shortly after turning 16, she won the Miss Combermere school beauty pageant, as well as her high school talent show with a performance of Mariah Carey's "Hero". Over the next year, Rihanna and her mom shuttled back and forth to Rogers' home in Stamford, Connecticut. With the help of Sturken, she recorded a four-song demo, which included the ballad "Last Time", a cover of Whitney Houston's "For the Love of You", and what would become her first hit, "Pon de Replay". It took a year to record the demos, as Rihanna was still going to school and therefore would only record during her summer and Christmas school breaks.
In January 2005, Rogers began shopping Rihanna's four-song demo to various recording companies. A copy of the demo was sent to Def Jam Recordings, where Jay Brown, an A&R executive, overheard it and played it for the label's then-president, Jay-Z. When he heard "Pon de Replay", Jay-Z was skeptical about Rihanna at first because he felt that the song was too big for her, stating that "when a song is that big, it's hard [for a new artist] to come back from. I don't sign songs, I sign artists". Def Jam was the first label to respond and invited her to audition where she sang "For the Love of You" for Jay-Z and L.A. Reid of Island Def Jam Music Group. She was signed the same day and canceled a set of meetings with other labels. After signing with Def Jam in February 2005, she relocated to the United States and moved in with Rogers and his wife. Although she still thinks of herself as Robyn, she chose her middle name as her stage name because, to her, the name Rihanna is just a stage that started in a recording studio in 2005.