Why Rihanna’s songwriters hated the success of ‘Umbrella’
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Why Rihanna's songwriters hated the success of 'Umbrella'

Rihanna’s career has been one of fame, glamour, and entrepreneurship, which in 2022 culminated in her becoming a billionaire. However, the Bajan vocalist was once a relatively unknown singer who occasionally appeared on the charts. 

Rihanna first came to Jay-Z’s attention after he received a demo from Evan Rogers, a renowned producer and songwriter in the music industry. At the time, Hov was the president of Def Jam and didn’t know how to get her career off the ground. 

To help Rihanna, Def Jam teamed up the singer with Stargate, a Norwegian songwriting duo comprised of Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor E. Hermansen. The pair have collaborated with the vocalist ever since and are responsible for hits such as ‘S&M,’ ‘Only Girl (In the World),’ ‘Diamonds,’ and ‘Unfaithful.’

However, at the beginning of her career, as she was slowly rising up the ranks, Stargate worked wonders for her with songs such as ‘Don’t Stop the Music’, one of Rihanna’s early successes. That said, during a 2018 interview with Entertainment Weekly, one-half of the duo, Mikkel S. Eriksen, admitted that they had disdain for ‘Umbrella’ when Rihanna first recorded it.

Speaking about the duo’s introduction to Rihanna in the mid-2000s, Eriksen recalled, “Before we met her, before we even saw a picture of her, we could tell Rihanna was going places just by listening to her voice on ‘Pon de Replay’. We just knew, like, ‘We have to work with this girl!’ There’s something very special about her voice.”

Stargate wrote, Don’t Stop the Music’ from Good Girl Gone Bad. However, ‘Umbrella’ was also to appear on the album, and Stargate were concerned when they first heard the single.

Recalling when he first heard ‘Umbrella’, Eriksen continued, “I remember when we finished ‘Don’t Stop the Music,’ we were like, ‘Oh my God, this must be the first single! This is the best thing ever! And then coming out of the studio room next to us was ‘Umbrella’, and when we heard that, we were like, ‘Oh God, no!'”

The duo had written ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ and wanted what they believed to be the best track ever to be the focus. However, they knew that the song would get overshadowed by ‘Umbrella,’ which it did. It became Rihanna’s second number-one hit and was what made the Bajan artist an international superstar. With a feature from Jay-Z, it shook the mainstream.

Good Girl Gone Bad reached number two on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for a total of 133 weeks. You can listen to ‘Umbrella’ in the video below.