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Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados. Her mother is Monica Braithwaite, a retired Afro-Guyanese accountant, and her father is Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor of Barbadian and Irish descent.Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty, and two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born by different mothers from his previous relationships.Growing up in a three-bedroom bungalow in Bridgetown and selling clothes with her father on a street stall, Rihanna's childhood was deeply affected by her father's addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana, and her parents' turbulent marriage ended when she was 14.Rihanna grew up listening to reggae music and began singing at around the age of seven. She attended Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary School and then the Combermere High School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates.Rihanna was an army cadet in a sub-military programme; the singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant. Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue a musical career instead.
Rihanna's career began through her association with American record producer Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers; she met Rogers through mutual friends in Barbados in December 2003.Rogers soon asked Rihanna to come to his hotel room, where she performed renditions of the songs "Emotion" and "Hero". This impressed Rogers, who then took her on various trips to New York, where she was accompanied by her mother, Monica, to record some demo tapes which could be sent to record labels. Rihanna was signed to Rogers' and Sturken's production company, Syndicated Rhythm Productions, who assigned her a lawyer and manager before the completed demo tape was distributed to various record labels around the world in late 2004. In February 2005, the president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings Jay-Z requested to meet Rihanna and she auditioned for him and industry executive L.A. Reid, performing Whitney Houston's version of "For the Love of You" as well as the original songs "Pon de Replay" and "The Last Time".On the same day of the audition, Rihanna signed a six-album record deal with Def Jam Recordings, later relocating from Barbados to New York to live with Rogers and his wife.
Rihanna possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range, that spans nearly three octaves. (C#3-B5) Volume 65 of the Contemporary Black Biography book series notes that "Rihanna is the rare rhythm and blues (R&B) diva to emerge from the Caribbean world." Becoming an international sensation, Rihanna is known for blending R&B with Caribbean music, such as reggae and dancehall.
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