In an excerpt from his new memoir, L.A. Reid recalls meeting Rihanna.
Billboard.com has obtained an excerpt from L.A. Reid’s new memoir, titled “Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next.”
In that particular excerpt, Reid shared the moment when he was first introduced to Rihanna by Jay Z. He says the singer was 17-years-old at the time, and sang a Beyonce song for her audition.
“At Island Def Jam, Jay Z, whom I’d hired to be president of Def Jam, became one of my great teachers,” L.A. Reid wrote in his memoir. “When he first brought Rihanna into the office for an audition in February 2005, we worked like a team. I first laid eyes on her in the hallway. I didn’t know she was a singer or anything, just a pretty girl standing outside somebody’s office. Then Jay Z burst into my office. ‘You have to see this girl,’ he said. We went back to his office and he introduced me.”
Reid later revealed that at the time Rihanna was signed, the label was heavily promoting Teairra Mari because they thought she’d be the bigger star. He says that changed after Beyonce was present for a music showcase featuring the two artists, and declared Rihanna “a beast.”
“The funny thing about Rihanna’s success was that we signed two girls at that time — Rihanna and a lovely young lady named Teairra Mari,” he wrote. “We had an in-house company showcase and Beyoncé happened to be there with Jay Z. Teairra Mari, Rihanna, a four-girl group called Black Butterfly and Ne-Yo performed. At the label, we thought Teairra Mari would be the big star. 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. A bell went off for me, however, when, after the showcase, Beyoncé came up to me. ‘That Rihanna girl,’ she said, ‘she’s a beast.’”
L.A. Reid’s “Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next” memoir is scheduled for release on February 2.