How Did Rihanna Become Famous?
How Rihanna became famous depends on whom you ask.
For some, it may have been when she sang about an umbrella. For those who pay more attention to the news than to pop music, she came to light in the midst of the 2009 Chris Brown incident. And some may even know her best as the woman who sings on a song Paul McCartney wrote with Kanye West.
From Barbados to ‘Umbrella’
But there’s no question that Rihanna, is very, very famous indeed. She has a net worth of $260 million, having sold 280 million records worldwide.
For those who have followed her since she released her first record, the beginning was in 2005 when she released her debut album Music of the Sun. She had been discovered by American record producer Evan Rogers in her native Barbados in 2003, securing a contract with Def Jam Records, the chairman of which was Jay-Z.
Her career took off quickly, achieving ever higher levels of success. Good Girl Gone Bad, released 2007 spawned the hits “Umbrella” and “Don’t Stop the Music.” Befitting its title, that was the album that set her image.
“I basically took the attitude of the bad girl and I really got rebellious and just did everything the way I wanted to do it—I didn’t want to listen to anybody. I didn’t consult with anybody. I just want to have a little more fun with my music and be a little more experimental in terms of my image and my sound. I just reinvented myself.”
The albums that followed included Rated R (2009), released after the Chris Brown incident, Loud (2010), which produced three number one singles: “Only Girl in the World,” “What’s My Name,” and “S&M.” Then came Talk that Talk (2011), Unapologetic (2012) and her most recent album Anti in 2016.
All told, she has had 14 No. 1 singles, making her the youngest solo artist to achieve that milestone. She has won nine Grammys, 13 American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards and six Guinness World Records to boot. One of those is being the best-selling digital artist in the U.S., which she achieved in 2013.
An Instagram post this past March, showing a baby wearing headphones, sent fans into high speculation that a new album was on the way, although no formal announcement has yet been made.
More than music
Even when she’s not making music, Rihanna keeps busy with other ventures, not the least of which is her fashion line Fenty, which sends sales soaring when she releases a new product.
In 2017, she debuted Fenty Beauty, a makeup line under LVMH’s Kendo Brands worth $10 million. She has also collaborated with the likes of Puma and Armani, and she became the face of Dior 2015. That same year, her Puma collection sold out in less than three hours.
And beyond that, Rihanna has found time to carve out an acting career. Her first role was in one of the many direct-to-video Bring it On sequels, All or Nothing in 2006. She followed that with roles in 2012’s Battleship, the Dreamworks animated film Home, the TV series Bates Motel, the sci-fi film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and the all-female heist film Ocean’s 8.
Her next venture will be Guava Island, a film with Childish Gambino, which is scheduled to debut on YouTube during the live stream of the music festival Coachella starting April 12. That will only add to the billions of views she has on YouTube, ensuring not just success, but dominance.