It is hard to believe that Rihanna is only 27 years old, yet within the 10 years since the start of her musical career, she’s become the youngest solo artist to score 13 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100—the fastest to do so—she’s sold more than 54 million albums and 210 million tracks worldwide. Rihanna is a eight-time Grammy Award winner who also counts 12 Billboard Music Awards among other countless music accolades. Aside from her musical achievements, Rihanna is bona fide Business Woman with multiple entrepreneurial ventures. However, most importantly, her undeniable cultural influence has forever imprinted her in history as a Global Icon despite her young age.
It all began with an impromptu performance for vacationing New York City music producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken in 2003 which helped jumpstart 15-year-old Rihanna’s multi-faceted career. Born in the Barbados parish of Saint Michael in 1988, Robyn Rihanna Fenty began honing her throaty, arresting vocals at an early age, influenced by such iconic talents as Madonna, Bob Marley, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey. An impressed Rogers brought the newcomer to New York in search of a record deal. An audition for then CEO/ President JAY Z resulted in them signing her on the spot in 2005.
That same year, Def Jam released Rihanna's dynamic debut album, Music of the Sun. Its popularity was propelled by the highly addictive dancehall-flavored lead single, “Pon de Replay.” A year later, Rihanna delivered the platinum-selling sophomore set, A Girl Like Me, featuring the No. 1 singles “SOS” and “Unfaithful.” But it was 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad that catapulted Rihanna into icon status. Leading the charge was the album’s first single, “Umbrella.” The track became the undisputed No. 1 pop song of the summer, dominating the U.S. pop, urban and crossover Billboard charts for 52 weeks in a row, and earning Rihanna her first Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. "Umbrella" was also the No. 1 single on the U.K. singles chart for 11 consecutive weeks and went on to win numerous awards.
That momentum carried over to Rihanna’s next album, the emotionally riveting Rated R. The 2009 set’s first single, “Russian Roulette,” notched chart history as Rihanna’s 12th Billboard Hot 100 hit—placing her second among female Hot 100 artists in the decade since 2000. From there, Rihanna released a new top-selling album each year. With 2010’s Loud, Rihanna became the youngest artist to achieve ten No. 1 singles when "S&M" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2011’s Talk That Talk spawned the global hit "We Found Love" which garnered her second MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year and her sixth Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. Rihanna embarked on the 777 tour in November 2012 where she performed in 7 countries in 7 days leading up to the release of her seventh studio album, Unapologetic. The latter album, in fact, was the singer’s first No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200. That same year found the singer making her acting debut in the theatrical film “Battleship.” Most recently, Rihanna voiced her first animated character, Tip, in the DreamWorks' film "Home." In addition to providing three singles to the film's soundtrack, Rihanna curated the entire compilation.
In addition, Rihanna is an unstoppable force on the worldwide touring front, she is the first female solo artist to sell out ten concerts at London’s O2 arena. Her world tours, including the Diamonds World Tour that wrapped in November 2013, have taken the icon to more than 100 countries each time, selling out arenas and stadiums. Following this tour, Rihanna was honored with the first-ever Icon Award at the 2014 American Music Awards. Rihanna's mother, Monica Braithwaite, presented her with the award in a heartwarming on-screen moment.
Rihanna’s creative muse has also triggered various entrepreneurial and philanthropic pursuits. Her innate sense of style—from cutting-edge hairstyles to immaculate fashion foresight—has earned her over 70 magazine covers. She was named the face of French fashion house Balmain’s spring/summer 2014 campaign and received the prestigious Fashion Icon Award from the 2014 Council of Fashion Designers. In addition to designing collections for Armani and British fashion brand River Island, Rihanna developed and executive-produced both the U.K. and U.S. versions of the television series “Styled to Rock.”
In August 2014 Rihanna premiered Rogue Man, her fifth scent—and first men’s cologne—in Rihanna’s successful fragrance line. Introduced in 2011, the line includes the female fragrances Reb’l Fleur, Rebelle, Nude and Rogue. After a successful creative partnership, MAC continued their relationship with Rihanna by naming her the face of the 2014 Viva Glam campaign. She has helmed two Viva Glam lipstick campaigns with MAC and is on track to reach her target goal of raising $50 million. All proceeds from the Viva Glam Rihanna II lipstick/lip gloss campaign will benefit women and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. At the end of 2014, Rihanna became PUMA's global ambassador for Women's Training and now serves as the Creative Director, bringing her styling sensibilities and innovation to PUMA's collections. In March 2015, Dior announced that Rihanna will be the newest face of their brand starring in their upcoming Secret Gardens campaign.
With over 83 million Facebook fans, 42 million Twitter and 16 million Instagram followers, Rihanna is putting her influence to good use via additional philanthropic efforts. Chief among these is her own Clara Lionel Foundation. Established in 2012 and named after Rihanna’s beloved grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, the foundation works to improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, Education, arts and Culture. This December, Rihanna hosted and performed at the first annual Diamond Ball to benefit her foundation.
Despite all of these distinguished achievements, Rihanna is just getting started. Soon to release her eighth studio album, her first album under her label Westbury Road and distributed by Roc Nation, she is busy adding more credits to her burgeoning resume: executive producer, fashion designer, actress, astute business entrepreneur and philanthropist.