Nice to have this sit down with you Rihanna. Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way shall we? Everyone knows you as Rihanna, but what is your full name.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
In interviews such as these we like to learn more about the “regular” life of our stars, so to speak. Tell us a bit about your childhood.
I’m the eldest child born to my parents. My father Ronald Fenty is Barbadian and my mother Monica Brathwaite is Guayanese. I grew up in St. Michael and attended the best school in Barbados, the Combermere School. Believe it or now I was a tomboy growing up! I also have two little brothers, Rorrey and Rajad. Growing up was not easy though. Mum and Dad’s marriage was not always the best.
That must have been difficult for you.
Yes it was. My father struggled a lot with substance abuse. But all of that is behind us now. He has now conquered his addictions and we are very close at this point in time. One of the things I love most about him is that he lets me live and learn. Even when I was younger he would allow me to live my life and when I make a mistake he would encourage me to learn from it.
What was school like?
Enjoyable. I was a military cadet during school but I would also help my father sell clothing at a street stall. I think one of my most enjoyable parts of school was when I formed this little singing group with two other girls. It was first a way of escaping all the issues at home but I ended up having a lot of fun doing that. Later on in school I entered the Miss Comberemere Beauty Pageant and won.
What was it like as a teenager having the voice you did?
To be honest, I loved music but I wasn’t focussed on making a career out of it or anything. I started singing since I was 7 but the first time I did it publicly for something serious was when I entered the Colours of Combermere School Talent Show and sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero”.
So what changed?
Well, when I was about 15, this producer Evan Rogers from New York was vacationing in Bim and a mutual friend of ours introduced us and he heard me sing and was immediately impressed. So, he arranged a recording session in the States and from then the rest is history as they say. [Laughs]. A couple years later I met with Jay-Z who signed me at our very first meeting to the Def Jam label.
Tell us about that first meeting with Jay-Z.
I was soooo nervous! I mean this is Jay-Z! The biggest rap star in the world and I’m supposed to perform for him! It was truly nerve-wracking. Then when I saw him I was like “’Oh God, he’s right there, I can’t look, I can’t look, I can’t look!’ I remember being extremely quiet. I was very shy. I was cold the entire time. I had butterflies. I’m sitting across from Jay-Z. Like, Jay-Zee. I was star-struck.” He was so impressed by my first single “Pon de Replay”. When we saw how great it was doing he actually became worried that it would be so big that it would be the only song people would know me and remember me by!
Well I’m sure everyone is glad he was wrong. Who would you say are you biggest musical influences?
Thats easy because it isn’t just one or two people. I would say the ones with the biggest influences are Madonna, Mariah [Carey], Janet Jackson and of course Beyoncé.
Celebrities usually try to give back where they can. What is your cause?
In 2006, I started a Foundation called the Believe Foundation to help terminally ill children. “When I was young and I would watch television and I would see all the children suffering, I always said when I grow up I want to help,”
Give our readers some more insight into your regular life. What are some of the things we don’t know about Rihanna?
Foodwise I’m not a fan of Mexican, Chinese, Japanese or Indian food. And I don’t like vegetables. I know, I know, they’re good for you but I prefer fruits!
Article compiled from NNDB, Kidz World, Bio and BoomsBeat interview
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