B&E: Rihanna

Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Rihanna.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

Barbados-born Rihanna has already made a big impression in the music industry -- after just a brief audition, she was signed on the spot to Def Jam Recordings by president/CEO Jay-Z, and there might just be no stopping her.

Rihanna's first single, "Pon De Replay," released by SRP/Def Jam, entered The Billboard Hot 100 last week at No. 97. Her debut album, "Music of the Sun," will be released Aug. 16.

Following in the rhythmic footsteps of Sean Paul, Shaggy and Elephant Man, the 17-year-old artist is primed to become the latest female reggae artist to step into the spotlight. Mixing powerful vocals and pulsating beats, her sound is sure to heat up dance floors this summer.

"I want to give people a taste of the Caribbean, and show them the fun side of me," she says of her style. "I worked so hard on [the upcoming album]. Every song means something to me. I wanted to stay true to who I am and where I'm from."

Aside from her Caribbean background, Rihanna names Beyoncé and Alicia Keys as her major influences. "I would love to tour with Destiny's Child," she says, adding that she expects to hit the road this summer. "I need to get that energy out there and share it with the audience."

In the meantime, she'll be concentrating on the success of "Pon De Replay" and finishing up her debut album. She notes that she worked with producers Syndicated Rhythm Productions and Full Force, among others, and collaborated with Elephant Man and Vybz Cartel. A summer promotional tour with Def Jam labelmates Teairra Mari and NeYo is also planned.

Not bad for a girl who got her start singing in the shower. "My neighbors used to complain because I was loud," she says. The rest is soon to be music history.

At the beginning of the year, Rihanna moved to the United States so that she could concentrate on finishing her album and focus on an acting career. But for now, she's more than happy with her newfound success. "No. 97 feels like No. 1 to me!" she says.

Label site:www.defjam.com