In his forthcoming memoir, L.A. Reid reveals what he really thought of Rihanna the first time they met back in 2005 when Reid was the Chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group. In an interview with Billboard , Reid says Rihanna auditioned for the label singing Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and “Pon De Replay,” which would later become her first hit. Afterwards, he says he told Jay Z, “Don’t let her leave the building.” And Jay signed Rihanna that day.
Interestingly, Reid recounts that he wasn’t involved in Rihanna’s career because he was focused on developing another artist. “The funny thing about Rihanna’s success was that we signed two girls at that time — Rihanna and a lovely young lady named Teairra Marí. At the label, we thought Teairra Marí would be the big star. We spent more time on her, did more work on her, paid more attention to her,” he writes. “A bell went off for me, however, when, after [a label] showcase, Beyoncé came up to me and said, ‘That Rihanna girl. She’s a beast.'” Once again, Beyoncé was right. As for Tearra Mari, well, she’s doing her thing on Love And Hip Hollywood. We’re not exactly sure what that thing is but hey, that’s the update.
L.A. Reid’s memoir Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next is available for purchase beginning Feb. 2nd.