Rihanna may be a superstar now, but even RiRi had her doubters early on. One of those doubters included famed label executive, L.A. Reid, detailed his early encounters with Rihanna in his memoir, “Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next.”
“I first laid eyes on her in the hallway,” Reid said in a Billboard-published excerpt from the book. “I didn’t know she was a singer or anything, just a pretty girl standing outside somebody’s office.”
According to Reid, Jay Z pushed for Rihanna to be heard. Afterwards, Reid asked Hov to sign the singer on the spot. But even after the signing, Reid said the label didn’t exactly believe in Rihanna’s star power.
“At the label, we thought Teairra Mari would be the big star,” he explained. “We spent more time on her, did more work on her, paid more attention to her. Rihanna already had a hit with ’Pon De Replay,’ but we still thought it was the other girl.”
However, everything changed for Reid, he said, because of something Beyoncé told him after a showcase.
“Beyoncé came up to me,” Reid wrote. “’That Rihanna girl,’ she said, ’she’s a beast.’”