The life of Rihanna is mixed with perseverance, strength and luck. Now shinning as a music icon, she reflects her childhood challenges as the reason behind her ventures today. Her life is not about always getting under the spotlight. On contrary, her dream was not in line with her dad who was a producer and a drug addict. Her dad never thought she could sing.
Living In A Troubled Home
Roby Rihanna Fenty first saw the world on February 20th in 1988 by humble parents in Saint Michael Parish on the Island of Barbados. Her mom was an accountant whiles her father was a warehouse supervisor.
She lived in a small bungalow with two little brothers and the family had very low income during her younger stages. Her dad usually was home drunk and spent half of his paycheck on alcohol and drugs. The addictions induced the family with strains with the mother being the primary target and on an occasion, Rihanna was not left behind when she had wanted to stay 10 minutes on the beach. Things moved from worse to worst when her dad lose her job. Rihanna will walk in on her dad smoking with food being scarce.
Rihanna’s schooling became very tough even though she was a bright student especially in Maths and Chemistry. She wrote numerous exams that gave her an intense headache to an extent she believed she had a tumor. Things weren’t much better or never got better at school as she got bullied because of her complexion and due to her father’s Irish descendence. Her dad’s behavior made her tough and she would usually fight back with fists.
7 years old Rihanna could not get stuck and inhale the deadly venom that was being spit. She will turn on the radio and sing along with her favorite singers, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. Even though in her heart, she felt pain, she enjoyed the short lived moments- she felt she belonged somewhere. She knew within that music was her future but was lost if ever she could make it happen whilst living on the small island.
Her First Freedom Break
Her parents got divorced when she was at age 14. That meant that her mother had to work full time to support she and her little brothers. Rihanna had to also grow fast by helping as a primary assist to her brothers by selling clothes and working a cash register in a stall on the street.
Her love for music got ignited. She got her inspiration from the reggae legend, Bob Marley whom she considered an example to follow.
As time elapsed, there was a feeling that she could become a star only if the right person heard her sing. To lift her chances, she sang at social gatherings and at high school talent shows where she once won by singing Mariah Carey’s “Hero”.
Growing up with her brothers made her tough. She embraced the sense of a tomboy dressing code and became a cadet where she rose to the rank of a Corporal. With the tough bullying experience from her father and from school, even to this day, Rihanna refuses to appear vulnerable to anyone.
Her First Break
Rihanna’s first big break was getting nearer when she formed a musical trio with her classmates. They performed almost everywhere, covering songs by Destiny child. There was a shine when one of her friends revealed that her mom knew someone who was a producer by name, Evan Rogers who was then on a holiday in Barbados with his wife.
She could not meet the chance to be heard so they set up an audition. By then, the trio had no band name neither did they have any formal training. After scheduling a time with Rogers, they met in hotel suite and waited in the lobby. Rihanna fidgeted with her new makeup as her mother had never allowed her to put on a makeup.
As soon as the trio were called in, Evan was instantly taken aback by her Bajan beauty. Her carefully makeup and fierce greened eyes graced her with super beauty that made Evans forget that the other two girls ever existed. Evans from experience suspected the prettiest of “any group” was never a good singer.
That was a perfect mistake! As the group performed the music, Evans opened his mouth widely and it was clear that Rihanna was actually music. As soon as the audition ended, he thanked the girls and sent them on their way. Rihanna hoped she would get a call from him later on.
Soon enough, a request was made for Rihanna and her mother to travel to the United States for a demo recording. It was a happy moment for her as she and her mom moved to Connecticut. to ive with Evan and his wife as they recorded the first album.
“You may never be good enough for everybody, but you will always be the best for somebody.”
The Top Charts
16 year old Rihanna had recorded four tracks. The demos was sent out to various labels and one of them was Def Jam Recordings, where rapper Jay Z was appointed the CEO. Jay Z never thought Rihanna could be the one to record those tracks as it was ‘too big’ for the girl singing it. To clear doubts, Jay Z asked her to audition before he will believe.
While she was over to record her first label at 17 for Jay Z to see, she fumbled at the thought of singing in front of Jay Z. Immediately she begun to sing Whitney Houston’s “For the Love of You”, Jay Z was sold. The looks in her eyes told him that Rihanna was going to become a star whether he supported her or not. A deal was finally reached when Jay Z agreed that she signed with a label.
Rihanna worked happily with various producers to complete her album. Her track, “Pon de Replay” became lead single in 2005 and second on the US Billboard. It also became among the top five hits in the world.
Her second album, A Girl Like Me was released eight months later. She went platinum with er number one single track,”SOS.” Before she fully became a star, Jay Z gave her some words of advice of which she still follows;
Don’t change who you are, never forget where you came from, and always stay humble.
When Rihanna was 19, she continued working with Jay Z as she was living her dreams and topping charts. She won her first Grammy Awards when she released the smash hit, “Umbrella”. Rihanna had an attitude of growing bored of doing the same things so she decided to transform into something sexy. Her music videos became very controversial but her fan base never dropped- it grew stronger with a worldwide acclaim.
She started dating at age 21. Her relationship was with Chris Brown a rapper who also had a turbulent childhood. The relationship was not all good as it grew on rocks. The night before her 51st Grammy awards performance, Rihanna found suspicious text messages on Chris Brown’s phone. She interrogated Chris Brown about the message as they drove home. She found out Chris had cheated on her with a former employee. A generated argument led to fists exchange with Chris throwing the first punch. As before said, Rihanna being a tough lady with military training, fought back. She was severely bruised with cuts and with marks of strangulation around her neck.
Once again, just as in her teens when she refused to show herself as vulnerable, she took different step but in a form of success story. She collaborated with Eminem and Kanye West to sing songs about domestic violence
However, because of the abuse she suffered from childhood, she could not leave the relationship. They came together again but it was not long enough when she decided to leave Chris for good.
Sure, you wish you did some things differently. But there is no sense in becoming burdened with regret over things you have no power to change.
Her Influence To Generations
Within decades, Rihanna became the best- selling songwriter, a singer and an actress. She won countless awards and is the youngest solo artiste to have score 14 Billboard music hits. She has never taken a breadth. She is an edgy entrepreneur in the realms of fashion and beauty.
At age 18, she established Believe foundation to help ill children. Ever since, she has various charity ventures ranging from Cancer research to medical supplies. She received praised from former US President, Barack Obama stating, “You’ve become a powerful force in the fight to give people dignity.”
Rihanna has her league of her own. She lives life of her own terms by helping others and inspiring the younger ones. Regardless of the challenges, she persisted to win and she also does not want you to give up.
When you follow the things that feel great to you, you can never lose.
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