WITH TALK OF movie roles lurking in the background, Rihanna, now one of America’s music superstars, is set to strut her stuff on the global stage.
The Bajan singer whose latest single Umbrella has debuted in England as the top downloaded tune before it hit stores, is now in Germany doing television appearances before flying by private jet to Prague to shoot a US$600 000 Def-Jam financed music video of her next single, Shut Up And Drive.
Early next month, the 19-year-old is to appear on three American TV shows with worldwide audiences: MTV Movie Awards on June 3 with Jay-Z, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 5, and the Today Show on June 8 as part of the network’s concert series. She is also expected to appear on BET and other shows in the United States in June and July.
“She is really on a roll,” said Evan Rogers, the composer and producer who spotted her talent in Barbados less than three years ago and encouraged her parents to allow her to go to the United States.
“She is really one of the hottest young music talents to be found anywhere and that is reflected in the sales of her music, her appeal on TV and the interest shown in her by movie producers.
“Her song, Umbrella, has opened as a smash hit in Europe, indeed worldwide,” added Rogers.
“She is the first female artist ever in Britain to enter as No. 1 based on digital downloads alone. In other words, they put it on i-Tunes the first week and the second week they put it in stores.
“Normally, a big hit record would enter in the top 10 and once it’s available in stores it would go to No. 1. But hers went straight to No. 1 and that made digital history in Britain.”
She has already filmed Cover Girl commercials as the new face of that cosmetic line, and has signed a contract to endorse Gillette shavers for women. She is also to participate in the global Earth Day campaign to “save the planet” with an appearance in Japan.
Next stops will be Australia and southeast Asia.
“She is also scheduled to go on tour across the United States in the summer,” said Rogers who, along with Carl Sturken, is writing and producing much of her music.
“So you can see it’s rather hectic.”
He added that print media attention was coming Rihanna’s way from People, Maxim and Essence magazines, while those guiding her career were talking with movie producers.
“We expect that something would gel by next year. In the meantime she is taking acting lessons,” he said, noting the Bajan sensation was assisting in making production decisions about her music.
“She is a hardworking young woman who loves what she does,” he stated.
“You have to love it to work as hard as she does. She is really one of those persons who was born to do what she is doing. Of course, she gets tired and needs a break here and there and we try to make sure that it happens when it needs to. It is a great thing to be in demand all over the world at the same time. Not many artistes achieve that international simultaneous success.”
What has confounded music critics and others is Rihanna’s meteoric success and staying power – moving from Pon de Replay as an unknown talent to the Billboard chart-topping SOS and other songs and albums, into a now established star.
“Def Jam and Jay-Z are very happy that they took the step in signing her when they did,” Rogers