Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as simply Rihanna, has created a significant mark in the entertainment industry as a mega force in singing, fashion design, and acting. With a lengthy list of major achievements, including record-breaking album sales, successful collaborations with top brands, and formidable roles in high-grossing films, it’s hard to imagine Rihanna was once just a talented 16-year-old Barbadian girl with a dream – a dream that was waiting to be realized until public relations guru, Jonathan Hay heard the superstar potential with her debut single, “Pon de Replay.” And now there’s a new cover version by Hay for the ‘House Invasion’ soundtrack, the sister album to ‘Wish You Were Brooklyn’ that’s released on the same day.
The Launch of Her Career:
In 2005, an aspiring and unknown Rihanna showcased her talent and audacity with her single,” Pon de Replay.” This song was among three tracks on her demo tape, which ended up impressively enough on the desk of rapper-turned-music mogul Jay Z, as indicated by Popdust. According to Hay, “The magic of the song is in the drums and the way she rides the track with her cadence.” He added, “It was the perfect first single for a new artist. It perfectly set her career up and was a great first impression.”
The song eventually landed Rihanna her recording contract with Def Jam Records, not without vast amounts of determination and doggedness. After gaining approval from legendary music industry figure Bruce Swedien, Hay began promoting “Pon de Replay,” facing substantial hurdles along the way.
But as Hay mused, “No matter the marketing, a song needs to have its legs – and it certainly did.” His initial efforts were met with rejection from nearly every outlet. The tide, however, turned when Jennifer Vineyard, then working with MTV, decided to take a leap of faith and published a short piece about the promising young talent. Hay attributes a significant portion of Rihanna’s initial rise to fame to Vineyard’s timely intervention.
The Secret to Her Success:
“Rihanna is cutting-edge and risky. Her look is entirely unique. I love the fact that she seems fearless and unafraid to express who she is,” Hay said about Rihanna’s transformation over the years. “Obviously, her imagery is a huge part of her brand, and everything she has done has been spot on.”
Throughout her career, Rihanna transitioned from a bona fide up-and-coming artist to an unstoppable force spanning multiple industries.
Reflecting on her impact, Hay said, “It’s crazy to think about her influence on pop culture for over a decade now.” He added, “The fact that she ventures so much outside of music is staggering. You can see that she works exceptionally hard. She has noticeable visibility without being overexposed, which is impressively hard to accomplish.”
Regardless of the changes in both persona and musical style, Rihanna has managed to keep her fans, known for their unwavering loyalty, beside her. Even a decade later, many of her earliest tracks are regularly played across radio stations, with listeners enthusiastically belting out the lyrics, just like when the songs were first introduced. Hay attributes this enduring adoration to her remarkable ability to deliver just what her fans want, adding, “She seems to genuinely give the people everything she has.”
From her debut single, “Pon de Replay,” to today, Rihanna’s journey has been more than just a successful career trajectory. It is the story of an artist who dared to challenge the status quo and built her remarkable empire along the way. Her journey serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us all that great dreams, coupled with perseverance, creativity, and fearlessness, can indeed become reality. Rihanna is not done yet, and the world eagerly anticipates where her unique brand of braveness and talent will lead her next.
Now there is a new version of the classic single, “Pon de Replay (House Mix)” by Jonathan Hay, for the ‘House Invasion’ soundtrack that is executive produced by JT Barnett and Joe Exotic, star of ‘Tiger King.’ The album was released by R.U.S.H. Music, Kingmaker Music and Fat Beats Records on the same day as ‘Wish You Were Brooklyn.’