She’s been a musical marvel, on the scene since the early 2000s, but where did Rihanna grow up?
Rihanna was born in the tropical paradise of Barbados, and grew up on and around the island, primarily in Bridgetown. When she was a teenager, she left the country for the first time and went to the United States.
Read on to learn more about Rihanna and her early life in Barbados.
Bad Start, Great Finish
When Rihanna was born in 1988 in Barbados, her family had no idea she’d grow up to become a world-famous performer. She had a very humble beginning, her family being working class, and exhibiting their struggles.
Rihanna’s father, Ronald, suffered from alcoholism and addiction to hard drugs. He would allegedly beat her mother, Monica, forcing Rihanna to get in between them to stop the fights. Their marriage was obviously strained, and this impacted the children.
She didn’t grow up alone, either. As she grew up, she was surrounded by siblings. She has two brothers, two half-sisters and a half-brother. These half-siblings come from her father’s side, from relationships he had prior to his marriage to Monica.
When she was a child, she’d work with her father on the street, selling clothes from a stall. However, the struggles didn’t end there. It wasn’t known why, but Rihanna was plagued with violent and constant headaches as a child and teenager.
The medical professionals she visited were dumbfounded. Nobody could identify why she was experiencing these headaches. She explained later in life that the doctors thought it was a hidden tumor.
As time went on, Rihanna started to gravitate towards music. She’d grown up listening to the reggae music that was prevalent on the island, and it had influenced her. In school, she was fairly academic, but ultimately never graduated.
Instead, she pursued music. When she was around sixteen years of age, she started a small musical group with two of her friends. Her natural talent as a singer shone through, and she was effectively discovered in Barbados shortly after.
The man who ‘discovered’ Rihanna was named Evan Rogers. At the time, he was already an established record producer, and instantly saw her potential. He invited her to the United States, where demo tapes were recorded and subsequently sent out.
Her demo tapes were a success, and ended up in the hands of Jay-Z. He invited Rihanna to New York for an audition, wherein she sang a Whitney Houston track. She was an instant hit with the record label, Def Jam, and was signed almost instantly.
In fact, the executives at the audition were so impressed, they didn’t let her leave the building until the deal was finalized. As a teenager, she relocated to the United States and temporarily resided with Evan Rogers and his wife. One of the songs she performed at the audition was her demo track, Pon De Replay.
You can listen to this song on YouTube below.
After that initial success, Rihanna’s career would blow up. She’d become an instant winner in the industry, and fans loved her. She began to release track after track, and by 2020 would boast a discography of eight full albums.
She headlined a massive list of tours, almost all of which were global. Following her success in the music business, she also transitioned into movies. Between 2006 and 2019, Rihanna starred in seven movies.
The small-island girl with the troubling start had become a global superstar. In 2020, her net worth was reported to be over half a billion dollars. Her experimentation with other ventures furthered her fortune. As the years went on, Rihanna released perfumes, beauty brands, as well as fashion lines.