She’s the most famous female Caribbean musician in the world and now certainly the wealthiest but Rihanna has revealed how much of her success is linked to Scotland.
A decade after she sang on Calvin Harris’s track We Found Love and was propelled to superstardom, she told how the song changed her life and why she’s now determined to find out more about her own Scottish roots.
The 33-year-old, born Robyn Fenty in Saint Michael, Barbados, is one of the world’s biggest stars with a £1.2billion fortune, mostly thanks to her Fenty Beauty brand.
We Found Love – released in September 2011 – was written and produced by Harris. The song topped the charts in 25 countries including the UK, where it has sold 1.13million copies.
With total sales of more than 10million, it is one of the bestselling singles of all time.
Rihanna said: “It was a huge moment for my career – the track just took off.
“Calvin did an incredible job with the music but I think the lyrics really resonated with people as well – that you can find love, even when all seems hopeless.
“It’s mad to think it’s nearly 10 years old – it doesn’t feel it at all.
“Working with Calvin is something I would do again for sure. He is one of the best in the world at what he does. He can work a crowd and get a club going as good as anybody I have ever seen – who wouldn’t want to collaborate with somebody as talented as him again?”
Rihanna is also hoping to research her own Scottish ancestry.
Her Celtic roots possibly come from father Ronald Fenty, 67.
His ancestors were indentured servants transported to Barbados to work on sugar plantations in the 17th century. They were part of the Caribbean’s poor white community known as Redlegs.
Rihanna said: “Apparently I have Scottish and Irish roots. I think it’s really interesting to explore your roots and I would love to know more.”
For now, though, the billionaire seems happy to have spread her wings beyond the charts.
While she hasn’t released an album for five years – since 2016’s Anti – she has been focusing on her beauty, lingerie and skincare Fenty brand as well as acting.
But Rihanna said her new album, R9, will be on a “different level” and “worth the wait”. She has been seen heading to a recording studio with boyfriend A$AP Rocky, 31. The pair also filmed a video in New York last month.
Both are reportedly for his new album All Smiles, which he wrote on a road trip with his girlfriend.
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Rihanna remains the top-earning female musician and is second only to Oprah Winfrey as the world’s richest female entertainer.
Her Fenty brand has been a success because it’s always been about diversity. Her skin range had tones in 40 shades, where many major brands do less than 20.
And her Savage X Fenty collection of lingerie offered sexy styles for every shape. The Savage X Fenty Show on Amazon Prime showed models of all shapes walking down the runway in 2019.
For Rihanna, showing our differences is the key to her success.
She said: “Diversity is about so much more than colour. As women, we are different shapes, different sizes and inclusivity is so important – we don’t want anybody feeling left out.
“Diversity is something that should be celebrated and I hope that is what we are doing.”
Last year, the world was shocked at Adele’s transformation. The singer reportedly lost 100lb (about 7st) on a plant-based diet and revealed her new look via Instagram.
Many fans were upset, claiming she’d conformed to society’s pressure on women to be thin, especially if they are in the public eye.
But Rihanna refutes any such suggestion and claims her friend lost weight for herself.
She said: “Adele looked incredible before the transformation and she looks incredible now – but you can see how happy she looks. It’s obvious that the transformation was for her and not to impress anybody – and I am just happy that my friend looks so confident and content.”
Health is of huge importance to Rihanna. But she doesn’t guilt trip herself if she wants something with calories.
She said: “I do eat healthily – I love the food from my Barbadian roots and eat a lot of fresh fish.
“On a day-to-day basis, I will eat well – but at the same time, I won’t deprive myself. If I want a cheeseburger, I am going to have one. I will exercise three or four times a week as well – feeling healthy is important to me.”
While Rihanna may be wealthier than Adele and in the same rarified top female singers in the world club with the likes of Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Madonna and Katy Perry, she goes all fangirl at the mention of the Someone Like You singer.
Rihanna said: “I don’t think Adele even knows the love and admiration I have for her.
“The way she tells such powerful stories in her songs is such a talent.
“There came a point I had to stop listening to her stuff because it was making me so emotional.”
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