Rihanna Biography

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in the parish of Saint Michael, Barbados, on February 20, 1988. Growing up, Rihanna led a relatively simple, average life on her island home. She attended Combermere, a kind of technical high school, and, despite having a natural singing talent, she didn't give much thought to performing -- aside from singing with her friends for fun.

At one point, though, Rihanna did enter a beauty and talent pageant at her school. Singing Mariah Carey's "Hero" as part of the talent component, Rihanna went on to win the competition. But that performance -- and singing in the shower or in front of the mirror -- was the extent of her musical experience before 2004.

def jam discovers rihanna
During Christmas 2003, a series of chance events unfolded that would change Rihanna's life forever. A New York City record producer, Evan Rogers, was vacationing with his wife near Rihanna's home. A mutual friend introduced them, and after Rihanna belted out a few tunes for Rogers, he realized her potential and invited her to New York to record some demo songs. Rihanna jumped at the opportunity to sing professionally, and she took Rogers up on his offer the following spring.

It wasn't long before Rihanna was auditioning for Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, head of Def Jam Recordings. Despite her nervousness, Rihanna wowed the Def Jam record execs and signed a deal before she walked out the door. Work immediately began on her singles, starting with "Pon de Replay," one of the punchy dance numbers that had first impressed Jay-Z.

rihanna releases pon de replay
The faith Def Jam placed in Rihanna's talent paid off when "Pon de Replay" became a summer smash in 2005. The song hit the third slot on the Billboard charts, and by late August, Rihanna released a second single, "If It's Lovin' That You Want," and her debut album Music of the Sun was out in stores.

The wave of popularity that stemmed from Rihanna's impressive debut carried her onto the small screen. She's been on Live with Regis and Kelly, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Today, and has performed at the 2005 Video Music Awards, World Music Awards and MTV Awards. She's also helped kick off sports events, from a performance alongside Kanye West at the start of the NFL season to a show for the start of the 2005 U.S. Lawn Tennis Open Championships.

rihanna has a hit single with sos

In 2006, Rihanna released her second album, A Girl Like Me, which boasted the hit singles "SOS," "Unfaithful," "We Ride," and "Break It Off" featuring Sean Paul. All of the songs spent some time on the U.S. Billboard charts except "We Ride."

That same year, Rihanna recorded a song called "Winning Women" with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger for P&G’s female deodorant Secret. She also made her acting debut with a role in Bring It On: All or Nothing, which was released on August 8, 2006. To top it off, Rihanna appeared on an episode of the long-running soap opera All My Children and the drama Las Vegas.

rihanna releases umbrella and don't stop the music

2007 was another successful year for the budding talent. Rihanna released her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad. A number of hits also resulted from this album including "Umbrella," which featured Jay-Z. This song was the longest running No. 1 single since Wet Wet Wet's' single "Love Is All Around" back in 1994, and the longest running No. 1 by a female artist since Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You."

Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad also included the hits "Shut Up And Drive" and "Don't Stop The Music." At the 2007 American Music Awards Rihanna won for Favorite Female Artist in the Soul/Rhythm & Blues category.

rihanna is named no. 8 in 2008 & 2009 top 99

Bursting onto the music scene with panache, Rihanna made a name for herself in the music world in a very short time. Her talent, along with her gorgeous face and figure, make it evident why she was voted No. 8 on AskMen.com's Top 99 of 2008. That same year, she also appeared on several episodes of Dancing with the Stars.

It seemed nothing could bring this shining star down, especially after maintaining her No. 8 position for our Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2009, but while Rihanna was scheduled to perform at the 2009 Grammy Awards show, an incident of physical abuse from boyfriend Chris Brown kept the two from performing together on stage. Photos of battered Rihanna circulated the internet days after the incident, and Chris Brown released a statement to the public claiming he was finding the guidance he needed with friends and family, away from Rihanna. After the courts agreed to a plea bargain with Brown, Rihanna fans will be happy to know that part of the plea bargain requires Brown to stay far away from Rihanna. Phew.