Robyn Rihanna Fenty, or simply “Rihanna”, has come a long way from “Pon De Replay.” Now granted, Rihanna’s first single eventually would climb up the Billboard Hot 100 and reach the number 2 position, but that was just the beginning of Rihanna’s global stardom. However, not many would have guessed that the Bajan princess-turned-worldwide phenomenon would go on to run her own empire and become a certified billionaire.
Perhaps one of the most consistent things to be said about Rihanna is that she has a certain je ne sais quoi about her. Those who have encountered and worked with her from the early days could very well be a testament to this as they saw it in her from an early age. Producer and Syndicated Rhythm Productions label head Evan Rogers, who is one of the people that discovered the young talented singer at age 15 recalled not being able to take his eyes off of her upon their first meeting. After recording a few demos with him and his production partner, Carl Sturken, Rihanna’s rise was about to begin.
After her demo tape landed in the hands of Def Jam executives L.A. Reid and then newly appointed President Jay-Z, which included her soon-to-be first single “Pon De Replay”, the wheels were switfly set in motion. Although, Jay-Z wasn’t the biggest fan of her demo, the singer went on to audition. Both L.A. Reid and Jay-Z were both incredibly impressed. “You have to see this girl,” Jay-Z told Reid according to his memoir Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next. When Reid encountered Rihanna and she auditioned for the executive, he recalls noticing her “determination” and “commitment.” “I saw someone who was going to be a big star someday,” Reid added about Rihanna. With her audition complete, Reid states that he looked at Jay-Z and uttered six words that changed everything: “Don’t let her leave the building.”
According to The Blast, Rihanna discussed her infamous meeting with Jay-Z with the Observer. The singer recalled Jay-Z jokingly telling her there’s only two ways out of the meeting. Through the door after signing the contract or through the window. The meeting would last until 3am until the perfect contract was signed.
What would follow for Rihanna was immense success as an entertainer. The singer’s first album and “Pon De Replay’s” parent album Music Of The Sun was certified platinum while the single and its follow up achieved platinum and gold status, respectively. Rihanna’s second album dropped not even a year after the first, with its first single “SOS” becoming her first number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. A Girl Like Me went on to achieve bigger success than the first album, being certified double platinum and bringing bigger singles as well.
But Rihanna’s third album stamped her as a global sensation. The first single to Good Girl Gone Bad, “Umbrella”, skyrocketed Rihanna into the straosphere, hitting number 1 in multiple countries. Rihanna went on to receive multiple award nominations and wins for the massive success that both the album and its singles went on to receive, including Grammy nominations for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year.”
Multiple mult-platinum singles and albums would only follow Rihanna as she continued the trend of hit singles. But after the release of her eighth studio album Anti, as well as a few movie roles, Rihanna took her reign a step further. In 2017, she launched her company Fenty Beauty, which was aimed at provigind the best possible makeup for all different shades of women, especially women of color. She currently owns a 50% stake in the company and within its first full year, Fenty Beauty reportedly earned over $500 million in revenue.
Shannon Coyne, cofounder of Bluestock Advisors, spoke on Rihanna’s and Fenty Beauty’s growing success. “A lot of women felt there were no lines out there that catered to their skin tone. It was light, medium, medium dark, dark,” Coyne explained. “We all know that’s not reality. She was one of the first brands that came out and said, ‘I want to speak to all of those different people.’” According to Forbes, Rihanna has amassed a net worth of $1.7 billion, thanks to her increasing success with the company along with her success in music, television, and film.
That Rihanna reign just won’t let up!