Rihanna was born in Saint Michael, Barbados, as the oldest child to Ronald Fenty, her Barbadian father and Monica Fenty, her mother who is of Guyanese descent. She has two younger brothers named Rorrey and Rajad. Rihanna went to Charles F. Broome Memorial School, a primary school in Barbados, and then on to one of Barbados' Grammar schools, the Combermere School, where she formed a musical trio with two of her classmates.
In 2004, she won the Miss Combermere Beauty Pageant and performed in the Colours of Combermere School Show, singing Mariah Carey's "Hero". At the age of 15, Rihanna received her big break when one of her friends introduced her to music producer Evan Rogers, who was vacationing in Barbados with his wife. Rogers, along with his partner, Carl Sturken, helped Rihanna record material in the U.S. which was sent to various recording companies. One copy of Rihanna's work was sent to Jay-Z, who eventually signed her to Def Jam Records.
Rihanna cites Alicia Keys, Beyonce Knowles and her Caribbean background as major musical influences. Rihanna also stated in an interview that her friend and former Island Def Jam record label artist Fefe Dobson was someone that she admired and looked up to, having a fellow artist writing, singing, and performing the music she truly loves. She currently lives in San Diego, California.