Robyn Rihanna Fenty (Rihana) was born on 20 February 1988, St. Michael, Barbados, Nick names: RiRi Caribbean Queen ,The Barbados Babe, Rihana was Born to Monica Braithwaite, a retired accountant, and Ronald Fenty, a warehouse supervisor for a garment factory.Her mother, a native of Guyana, is Afro-Guyanese, and her father is of Barbadian and Irish descent.The eldest of three siblings, Rihanna has two brothers, Rorrey and Rajad Fenty.She also has two half-sisters and a half-brother from her father's side, each born by different mothers before Rihanna's father married her mother.Rihanna grew up listening to reggae music,and began singing at around the age of seven. Her 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. She grew up in a three-bedroom bungalow in Bridgetown and sold clothes with her father on a street stall. 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 that trained with the military of Barbados and fellow Barbadian and singer-songwriter Shontelle was her drill sergeant. Although she initially wanted to graduate from high school, she chose to pursue her musical career instead.
Before signing to Def Jam Recordings, Rihanna was discovered in her home country by American record producer Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers. The two met in December 2003 through mutual friends of Rihanna's and Rogers' wife, while the couple was on vacation in Barbados, because of how Rihanna's friend had told Rogers' wife how the aspiring singer was always singing and performing. After meeting for the first time, Rogers' asked Rihanna to come to his hotel room, where she performed renditions of Destiny's Child's "Emotion" and Mariah Carey's "Hero". Rihanna's renditions impressed Rogers, who then took her to New York, where she was accompanied by her mother, Monica, to record some demo tapes which could be sent to record labels. Production of the demo tapes took about a year, due to Rihanna only being able to record during school holidays. At the age of 16, Rihanna was signed to Rogers' and Carl 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. The first to respond to the demo tape was Jay-Z, who had recently been appointed as president and CEO of Def Jam Recordings. Rihanna auditioned for him and music mogul L.A. Reid, in his office. Looking back on the audition and meeting Jay-Z, Rihanna explained in an interview how she felt before walking into the room, saying:
That's when I really got nervous ... I was like: 'Oh God, he's right there, I can't look, I can't look, I can't look!' I remember being extremely quiet. I was very shy. I was cold the entire time. I had butterflies. I'm sitting across from Jay-Z. Like, Jay-Zee. I was star-struck.
During the audition, Rihanna performed Whitney Houston's cover of "For the Love of You", as well as her first single "Pon de Replay" and "The Last Time", which were written and produced by Rogers and Sturken and would be included on her debut album Music of the Sun. Jay-Z was initially skeptical about signing Rihanna after he felt "Pon de Replay" was too big for her, saying "when a song is that big, it's hard [for a new artist] to come back from. I don't sign songs, I sign artists".The audition resulted in Rihanna signing a six-album record deal with Def Jam Recordings in February 2005, on the same day of the audition, with Jay-Z saying "There's only two ways out. Out the door after you sign this deal. Or through this window ...",meaning that he was not going to let her leave with signing a record deal. After signing to Def Jam Recordings, Rihanna cancelled other meetings with record labels and relocated from Barbados to New York to live with Rogers' and his wife. Rihanna explained the concept behind the title of the album to Kidzworld, saying that the sun is representative of native Caribbean culture, as well as herself, and that the album consists of music from her heritage.