L.A. Reid is one of the industry's biggest forces, and he's letting the world in on the backstory behind the jumpstart of several of his projects, including the launch of the one and only Rihanna. In an exclusive excerpt from his memoir called Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next, the record executive cited Beyoncé as one of the main reasons why the Barbadian pop titan was pushed to the next level during her early days.
"I first laid eyes on Rihanna in the hallway. I didn't know she was a singer or anything, just a pretty girl standing outside somebody's office," he detailed in the except, which was obtained by Billboard. "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. She was a startlingly beautiful 17-year-old from Barbados."
L.A. Reid recalled the moment that Rih opened her audition with a Bey song, before venturing into "Pon De Replay." She ended up being signed after the audition around the same time as then-newbie Teairra Mari.
"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," he explained. "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.'"
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