NEW YORK (March 29, 2007) — Some singers take two-year breaks between albums. Rihanna is working on her third disc, just two years after releasing her first.
“It’s a nonstop pace, very speedily, and Def Jam does not play, that’s all I can tell you,” she joked of her record label in an interview with The Associated Press. “We just keep going and going — it’s fun, we make sure that we have fun while we do it.”
The hits are likely to keep coming and coming for the 19-year-old Barbados beauty, who has had success with “S.O.S.,” “Unfaithful” and “Break It Off.” Her new single, “Umbrella,” was due out Thursday, the first song from her upcoming, not-yet-titled album, set for release June 5.
“It shows such growth for her as an artist,” Def Jam President Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, told the AP. “If you listen to the lyrics to that song, you know the depth and how far she’s come.”
Jay-Z delivers the opening salvo on the dramatic song, about the strength of a relationship.
Rihanna said the song can be about a romantic or platonic relationship.
“`Umbrella’ is a serious song, a relationship song. … It’s different, and that’s what I love about it,” she said. “People are not going to expect a song like that from me.”
The singer made her debut with island-flavored dance groove “Pon de Replay” in 2005, from her debut album, “Music of the Sun.” Less than a year later, she released “A Girl Like Me,” a platinum success that broadened her mainstream appeal.
Artists usually don’t release another album so quickly, especially when they’re having success with their current one. But Island Def Jam Chairman Antonio “LA” Reid said Rihanna’s upcoming album, which features labelmate Ne-Yo and a song written by Justin Timberlake, is being released this summer because the label feels it’s that good.
“In the past, Rihanna has made really great singles. This time, Rihanna has not only made really great singles, but a great album,” he told AP. “We want people to hear it now and experience it now.”
But fans may be surprised by what they hear.
“My sound has changed,” Rihanna said. “It’s a lot edgier than the rest of the stuff that anyone has heard from me before. I’m singing about different things, it’s a lot sexier.”
She also considers the album more adult, reflecting the quick growth she’s had to do in her short time in the spotlight.
“This business really helps you to find out who you are, and how strong you are,” she said. “You need strength and determination with all the negativity coming at you sometimes … I’ve grown a lot.”
Part of the negativity Rihanna has faced involved talk of an alleged affair with mentor Jay-Z. Rihanna said the rumor was upsetting but she’s learned not to let the gossip mill get her down.
“At first I was like, `Ha ha, it’s funny,”’ she said. “Now I just ignore it and I’m numb to it. … You cannot stop people from saying what they want to say.”