Friday, September 14, 2007
Video Music Awards nominations rain down on Rihanna's "umbrella"
Rihanna is slated to perform at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night at 8 on MTV. and Beyoncé is a nominee at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, airing Sunday on MTV.
When it rains, it pours, and Rihanna can thank her Umbrella for a shower of MTV Video Music Award nominations.
The young singer has four bids going into the 2007 edition of the event, which the cable music channel televises Sunday, September 9, from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. She's also set to perform on the show, as are Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy and Chris Brown.
So is Timbaland, slated for extra duty by hosting a 'Fantasy Suites' party with Justin Timberlake, who leads the pack (along with Beyoncé) with seven nominations.
Featuring Jay-Z, Umbrella - the first single off Rihanna's third CD, Good Girl Gone Bad - has been one of the top songs of the summer. It's a 2007 VMA nominee for video of the year and monster single of the year and has also garnered nods for Rihanna as female artist of the year and Chris Applebaum as best director.
Rihanna takes special pride in those acknowledgments since, as she says, "It's not the typical summer song. It's not up-tempo and not really a club song, just something very powerful that happened to come along at the right time. The first time I heard it, I fell in love with it. For once, I didn't think, 'I wonder if people are going to like it.' I knew what it was in my heart. I had my own instinct, and I felt it was going to do great."
Rihanna was right: The tune roared onto the airwaves in March, preceding the album's release by a couple of months and reaching the top of several Billboard magazine charts simultaneously. It displays another aspect of Rihanna's talent, following the energetic SOS and the introspective Unfaithful, her hits from the album A Girl Like Me that also gave her a big summer last year.
"That's key for me," the 19-year-old Barbados native says of her musical variety. "When I started, I didn't really have a plan. I was just very excited to have a record deal and make music and perform all over the world. I had a little more input on the second album, then the third album was where I really got into it. I wanted to change my image and my sound a bit, and I really wanted to show people my growth. When I leave this industry, I want to be remembered for being an individual."
Among the situations in which Rihanna has performed Umbrella, a standout for her was Live Earth, the international July concert to promote environmental awareness.
"It was such an honour to be there," she says. "It was a huge event all over the world, but it was also just a great show. I was in Japan, and the audience was amazing, to see them singing all the words. They may not speak any English, but they know all the words to all the songs."
Gratified as she is to have such fans, Rihanna also relies on a strong support system of friends. "I could not ask for better cheerleaders," she says. "They always have my back. They'll still let me know if something was just OK or really horrible, but they're team players, for sure."
Rihanna feels the same way about MTV, which showcased her American television debut at the MTV Movie Awards in June.
"From day one, they've played all my videos and helped support my albums," she says. "I show them so much love because they show it in turn."
In showing hers, Rihanna says she is planning "a very special performance" for the VMAs but adds, "I won't tell you anything!"
She also welcomes any chance to depart from the norm.
"I've performed SOS hundreds of times," she says, "and with something like Unfaithful, it's very deep, so you have to act it out every time. After a while, it can get to be like, 'OK, do I have to perform this again?' For some reason, though, every time I perform Umbrella is like the first time. It's always new."
Good Girl Gone Bad is still in its early phase of yielding singles (among them Shut Up and Drive and Don't Stop the Music), so Rihanna isn't actively thinking about her next album yet. However, she reflects, "Being around Timbaland (on the day the VMA nominations were announced), it made me want to get back in the studio to make good music. I really enjoy working with people like him, but you have to step back and say to yourself, 'OK, hold off. You just put out an album.'
That could make the Video Music Awards challenging for Rihanna, since she'll be around many other stars she also considers inspirations.
"They have their own faith in things," she reasons, "and you can see their success. Kanye West, for instance, he has so much input into everything, and you see that it comes across as very authentic. Justin Timberlake is another one I really adore. I also love Fall Out Boy and, of course, Beyoncé and Madonna. Gwen Stefani is another great one.
"I love being at events like this," she continues. "You're working, but you're working with people who do the same thing as you. It's a great energy, with everyone getting along and making jokes. That's why I love award shows."
But don't suggest being nominated in next year's Grammy Awards to Rihanna, at least not yet.
"If it pops up in my mind, I just have to shut it down," she says. "I can't think about it. I'm getting nervous already."
Rihanna is slated to perform at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday on MTV.