MALIBU, California — She first scorched up dancehalls with her summer club anthem “Pon De Replay,” and for her second act, Barbados-born Rihanna is taking it back to her roots.
Filmed entirely on a beautiful stretch of beach along the California coast, the video for “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” placed the songstress in her natural element.
“This video is about having fun, giving off the vibe of the Caribbean,” Rihanna said on the set of the clip. “We did some mermaid-looking stuff down on the sand … and I’m just [performing] to the camera as if it were my boyfriend. Now we’re going to do [some scenes with] the Tiki torches. It’s going to be incredible.
“The song is basically telling a guy, ‘If it’s lovin’ that you want, you should make me your girl because I’ve got what you need,’ ” she explained.
Donning a short, flowing white skirt and a cropped tee, the singer croons in the video for the mid-tempo track while pulling off a few saucy dance moves choreographed by Fatima Robinson (Aaliyah, Backstreet Boys).
Directed by Marcus Raboy (Santana’s “Smooth,” Mary J. Blige’s “Deep Inside”), the clip tracks the island-born beauty on an outdoor excursion, and for one scene, Rihanna even had to learn how to ride a Jet Ski.
“The water was so cold … but oh my gosh, we had so much fun,” she said. “We were bumping each other off the Jet Skis and just had a ball.”
Though she has a new single on deck, Rihanna is still riding the wave of success from her lead track.
“[We just did] an official remix [of 'Pon De Replay'] by Elephant Man, and he did his thing,” the singer said. “We used him because it’s such an energetic song and we needed a hype man — and Elephant Man, he’s the energy king!”
For her forthcoming debut LP, Music of the Sun, out August 30, Rihanna also recruited the talents of Carl Sturken, who has produced beats for Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson. “The album is crazy,” she said.
Her recent trajectory of success is just hitting the 17-year-old, who remains surprised by her newfound fame.
“I was at [an ice cream shop] one day and there was this flock of children, maybe 16 of them, and they all started grabbing napkins and they were like, ‘Can I have an autograph pleeease?’ ” the singer recalled.
“That was a moment for me because I used to be in that position. I would see a star and just beg for their autograph. And then for people to be asking me, I felt honored.”
You can catch Rihanna performing “Pon De Replay” when she takes the stage for the 2005 Video Music Awards Pre-Show on August 28. (see “Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, Mike Jones To Play During VMA Pre-Show” ).
Catch all the sizzlin’, star-packed VMA action direct from Miami on August 28. MTV News’ preshow kicks things off at 6 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the big show at 8 p.m.