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Rihanna is a Barbadian R&B recording artist and model. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for then-label head Jay-Z. In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Pon de Replay". Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me (2006), which peaked within the top five of the Billboard albums chart, and produced her first US number one hit single, "SOS", as well as Billboard Hot 100 top ten entries "Unfaithful" and "Break It Off". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, featured five top ten hits including three US number one hit singles—"Umbrella", "Take a Bow" and "Disturbia"—and the worldwide hit "Don't Stop the Music". The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella," which features Jay-Z. Her fourth studio album, Rated R, was released in November 2009. Its first three singles, "Russian Roulette", "Hard" and "Rude Boy" peaked within the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, making Rihanna one of two female artist with the most top-ten hits in the United States since 2000.

About Rihanna

Rihanna has received several accolades, including the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, as well as the 2008 American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. She serves as one of Barbados's honorary cultural ambassadors. In January 2010, Rihanna received two Grammy Awards for Jay-Z's 2009 single "Run This Town", bringing her total number of Grammys won to three.

Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that "Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world." Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall. Peter Coulter of the Antrim Times commented that " Rihanna has an amazing voice which showed during her acoustic set, she just needs to work on her audience engagement during live shows." At the time of her debut, reviewers referred to her as a "bubblegum queen" and her music to "teen pop." Larry Meyler of The Sun stated that "Rihanna going bad is very good" and that she had " shaken off any "teen pop" image as she rocked the stage." While performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Denis Armstrong of Canadian Online Explorer commented on her performance saying "her show was a Disney-esque choreographed fantasy of non-stop hip-swivelling, sassy attitude and personal endearments and a string of funky, sugar-free hits." After revealing a new image while headlining her first tour, she was likely to be criticize for her tight leather outfit during each show. A review in The Times compared Rihanna's stage wardrobe styling to that of Janet Jackson. He described her outfit as "a vision of Ann Summers couture in thigh-high boots and a few scraps of black PVC." Stuart Derdeyn of The Province commented that "even with the whole haute couture B&D clearly firing on all points, she's still got a ways to go to become the new Janet Jackson."

One of Rihanna's major influences and idols is Mariah Carey, whose song "Hero" she covered while performing at a school talent show. She says, "I looked up to Mariah a lot and I still do. I admire her as an artist, and to compete with her was a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life. Rihanna considers Madonna as one of her biggest influences and said that she wants to be the "black Madonna". She mentioned that she respects Madonna's ability to reinvent herself and aspires to be just as successful. Of Janet Jackson, Rihanna has commented that " she was one of the first female pop icons that I could relate to ... She was so vibrant, she had so much energy. She still has power. I’ve seen her on stage, and she can stand there for 20 minutes and have the whole arena scream at her. You have to love Janet." Beyoncé Knowles has been named as a major influence, citing that she was inspired to start her career after watching Knowles on television as part of a Destiny's Child performance. Her other musical influences include Bob Marley, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Celine Dion, Brandy, and Gwen Stefani. Her friend and former Island Def Jam record label artist Fefe Dobson was someone that she admired and looked up to, having a fellow artist writing, singing, and performing the music she truly loves.

Rihanna's music contains strong influences of caribbean music which include reggae and dancehall. In a interview, Rihanna stated that while growing up in Barbados she grew up listening to reggae music and when she came to the United States she was exposed to many different types of music. She also commented that Marilyn Monroe and vintage clothing served for visual inspiration for the music video "Hate That I Love You" and "Rehab"; in contrast, the "dark, creepy" scenes of "Disturbia" have drawn comparison to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music video ranked number five on the "Top Five Most Paranoid Music Videos" published by MTV Buzzworthy. Jon Bream of the Star Tribune commented "in the tradition of Madonna and Janet Jackson, Rihanna has become the video vixen of the '00s ... Rihanna has perfected the pout, the long-legged strut and trend-setting hairdos that keep women and men alike checking her out on YouTube." George Epaminondas of InStyle considers Rihanna's music videos to be "cinematic" due to her "blend of lush island rhythms and swinging pop and ... mischievous sensuality."