Rihanna established herself big-time in summer 2005 with her debut smash hit, "Pon de Replay," and continued to demonstrate her smash hit potential in subsequent years (e.g., "S.O.S.," 2006; "Umbrella," 2007).
By the time of her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), she was a full-fledged international pop star with a regular presence atop the charts, from Germany to Japan. Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988, in Saint Michael, Barbados, she always exhibited a special quality, winning beauty and talent contests as a schoolchild. But because she lived on the fairly remote island of Barbados in the West Indies, she never foresaw the sort of stardom that would later befall her.
That stardom came courtesy of a fateful meeting with a man named Evan Rogers. The New Yorker was vacationing in Barbados with his wife, a native of the island, when someone turned him on to Rihanna. Since Rogers had spent years producing pop artists -- including superstars like *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Kelly Clarkson, Laura Pausini, and Rod Stewart -- he offered her the opportunity to record some music after he recognized her talent and potential. Along with Rogers' production partner, Carl Sturken (the other half of Syndicated Rhythm Productions), Rihanna recorded some demos that sparked the interest of the Carter Administration -- that is, newly appointed Def Jam president Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. This led to an audition and, in turn, an on-the-spot offer to sign with Def Jam, which Rihanna indeed inked on the spot.