Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rihanna in Canadian Idol

She's a seasoned professional now when it comes to handling fame, fans and interviews, but things weren't always so easy for 19-year-old R & B diva Rihanna.

While getting ready for her appearance on Canadian Idol, the Barbados-born songstress hearkened back to one of her first-ever experiences on television. It was a time when she was just getting used to being in the spotlight, something she's sure Idol's Top 10 can relate to.

"It was Regis and Kelly in New York," Rihanna recounted, moments after emerging from a Q & A advice session with the show's remaining singers, themselves still pretty new to the entertainment world. "It was the day my first album came out. I remember being extremely nervous. It was very nerve-wracking."

Fortunately, she's had lots of time since to practice being in the limelight. Her three albums have all seen massive success, with singles from each release hitting the top of the charts in countries around the world.

It makes her the perfect guest for Canadian Idol's "Number 1 Hits" theme week, where she'll perform her current hit "Umbrella" on the Top 10 results episode on Wednesday, July 18.

Two days after arriving in Toronto - a city she says she can't get enough of - the singer took some time to answer questions from the Idols, then sat down with the host of eTalk and Canadian Idol, Ben Mulroney.

Seeming a bit more flustered than his usual smooth self around the stunningly gorgeous dark-haired beauty, Mulroney quizzed the singer on why she wanted to appear on Canadian Idol.

"I thought 'if I can be an inspiration to these young people who want to be entertainers just like I am then it's a great cause,'" she said, adding that she also looks for any excuse to come back to Canada.

She remembers her first interaction with fame and the career inspiration that came with it.

"(It was when) I met Beyoncé... when she came out with 'Dangerously in Love,'" said Rihanna, who was initially signed to her record label by the man who would later become Beyoncé's main squeeze, Jay-Z. "I was like 'wow, I want to be just like that.' She's huge and just an inspiration and one of the artists that I admire a lot."

While Rihanna hasn't yet collaborated with her role model, she has worked with a serious list of A-listers including Jay-Z himself, Ne-Yo, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. She is also slated to appear on Chris Brown's upcoming album and says she'd like to work with Joss Stone and Outkast's Andre 3000 in the future.

An artist who says she works as hard when she doesn't have a hit as when she's an international golden child, Rihanna hopes her performance on Idol will show off the vigour and dedication that's helped her produce so many number one hits.

"Tonight's just going to be great energy," she said. "It's all about being in the moment and feeling the song and just having fun with it."

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