Rihanna was born in a county in Barbados called St. Michael. She lived the life of a normal island girl going to Combermere, a top sixth form school. Rihanna won numerous beauty pageants and performed Mariah Carey "Hero" in a school talent show. Her life changed forever when one of her friends introduced her to Evan Rodgers, a producer from New York who was in Barbados for a vacation with his wife, who is a native. Rodgers arranged for her to go to New York to meet Jay-Z, CEO of Def Jam Records. He heard her sing and knew she was going to be incredibly successful. She was 16 when she was signed to Def Jam. Since then, she's amassed phenomenal success.
The wave of popularity that stemmed from Rihanna's impressive debut carried her onto the small screen. She's been on Live with Regis and Kelly, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Today, and has performed at the 2005 Video Music Awards, World Music Awards and MTV Awards. She's also helped kick off sports events, from a performance alongside Kanye West at the start of the NFL season to a show for the start of the 2005 U.S. Lawn Tennis Open Championships.