Artist

Rihanna

Biography

Not to be confused with "Umbrella" hitmaker Rihanna, Leeds-born Rhianna briefly attracted attention in the early noughties thanks to her stylish retro Afro and blend of jazz-funk and soul-pop. Born Rhianna Hannah Louise Kenny in 1983, she grew up in a musical family with her Cuban mother and English father often taking her to gigs, with her first being Squeeze at the age of nine. Displaying a talent for performing at a young age, she attended drama school before taking on various jobs, including narrating in a production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and working as a backing singer for her older brother's band, LSK. After sending out demos to various record companies, she signed with Sony and began recording her debut album, Get On. Influenced by acts as diverse as Billie Holiday and Kate Bush, it featured the Top 20 hit "Oh Baby" and further singles "Word Love" and the Stevie Wonder cover "I Love Every Little Thing About You." After Rhianna performed in support slots with Beverley Knight, Destiny's Child, and Jamiroquai, the album was released at the end of 2002 but failed to reach the Top 75, and she was later dropped from her label. Since then, she has regularly toured with Faithless as a backing singer, provided vocals for tracks on Ian Brown's The World Is Yours album, and was briefly part of five-piece R&B band Love Blackout. Despite arriving on the music scene years before the similarly monikered Rihanna became a household name, Kenny now performs under the pseudonym Fleurona to avoid confusion. In 2008 she traveled to New York, where she performed in several showcases and started work on new material. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi