Is there anything Rihanna can’t do? Not only does her makeup line, Fenty Beauty, celebrate diversity in an industry that seriously lacks in that department, but the icon has given us some of the best bops over the years, from “Umbrella” to “Rude Boy” to “Work.” It’s hard to imagine the music industry without RiRi, TBH. She’s made her forever-lasting mark over the years.
There have been many songs, however, that the 30-year-old has passed on before, many of which are iconic tunes that you probably know every word to! Here are 14 tracks Bad Gal RiRi rejected and didn’t end up singing like was originally intended.
“We Can’t Stop”
It’s hard to believe that Miley Cyrus‘s hit single, “We Can’t Stop,” was released over five years ago, especially since we’re still jamming along to it today. But before MiCy lended her vocals to the bop, it was originally intended to be sung by Rihanna.
In an interview with MTV, producer Mike Will Made It explained, “It was kind of crazy ’cause … when I originally worked on ‘We Can’t Stop,’ we had did it for Rihanna. The idea was more towards Rihanna. And then Rihanna, she heard [her Unapologetic track] ‘Pour It Up,’ and then she got on ‘Pour It Up’ right away. And she didn’t even hear ‘We Can’t Stop.’ So then we finished up the record.”
“Come and Get It”
If you’re one of the many people who thought Selena Gomez‘s single, “Come and Get It,” sounded a whole lot like a Rihanna tune, your suspicions were probably right. Don’t get us wrong — Sel did a great job on the number, but something about it made us think it was a much better fit for RiRi and, according to Selena herself, she thought so, too!
“I love Stargate more than anything, but [“Come and Get It” is] very difficult for me to perform live,” the 25-year-old told EW. “It’s not my song. To me, it sounds like a Rihanna reject. I’m currently in the middle of figuring out what it’s going to sound like…I’m grateful what [‘Come & Get It’] did for me, so it’d be stupid not to acknowledge it.”
“Shape of You”
It might be hard to picture Rihanna singing Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape of You,” but, shockingly, the song was written with her in mind!
While promoting his latest album, the British crooner spilled the tea to the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show and said, “[‘Shape of You’] is actually a really random one because I went in to write songs for other people with a guy called Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid, and we were writing this song and I was like, ‘This would really work for Rihanna.'”
Crazy, right!? But as they continued to write, they noticed that the song would be better for Ed’s own album, which was a great choice in the long run.
Beyonce can truly do no wrong and we’re so glad she was able to sing “Pretty Hurts,” which was originally written by Sia. But Sia didn’t intend for the song to be sung by Queen Bey. In fact, she first sent the song to Katy Perry, which is — we know — hard to believe. But when HP didn’t reply, the Aussie musician sent it along to Rihanna.
The New York Times reported, “So [Sia] passed the song along to Rihanna’s manager, who held it for eight months, but ultimately did not pay the fee to secure the track.” Next up, the song was sent to Beyoncé who loved it and snapped it right up.
Remember “Cheap Thrills,” the song by Sia that casually topped the music charts for months? You’ll be shook to hear that Rihanna actually passed on it!
When the blonde was originally writing the tune, Rih came to mind. Although she had her reservations about sending it to her — “I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her,” Sia told Rolling Stone. “It’s more Icona Pop.” — she went ahead and sent it over anyway. It was ultimately rejected by the Barbadian crooner, but all’s well that end’s well!
In case you couldn’t tell, Sia writes a TON of songs for other artists. And a lot of the time, she passes them along to Rihanna. Well on this occasion, she wrote “Alive” with RiRi in the back of her mind.
First off, however, the 42-year-old sent the song to Adele but, according to her producer, “We heard very soon that she didn’t think it was right for her.” Next up: Rihanna. But before Sia hit send, she found herself unable to let go of the song and decided to keep it for her own repertoire.
“Bird Set Free”
Yes, another Sia song that Rihanna rejected! When asked by Rolling Stone, the blonde said, “First it went to Rihanna and then it was returned. Then it went to Adele, and Adele cut it and sounded amazing on it. Then it was returned.”
But originally, the song wasn’t written with Rihanna in mind at all. Actually, Sia explained, it was supposed to appear in the film Pitch Perfect 2. However, the show’s producers decided to use one of her other songs, “Flashlight,” instead.
Remember “Battlefield,” the Jordin Sparks song that was one of the catchiest bops of 2009? Well, the tune was allegedly not written for the 28-year-old who won season six of American Idol — it was for Christina Aguilera! When the blodne passed, writers allegedly wanted it to be a duet for Rihanna and Chris Brown. Then, the news broke about CB assaulting RiRi and it was given to Jo instead.
“Don’t Let Me Down”
In 2016, The Chainsmokers released “Don’t Let Me Down,” which features guest vocals by Daya. But allegedly the song, which was written by the duo, was first sent over to Rihanna. Her team passed, however, and The Chainsmokers suddenly needed a new singer. Thankfully, after listening to Daya’s “Hide Away,” they knew she would do a great job on the track… and they were right!
“Find Your Love”
Who knew that Kanye West wrote Drake‘s hit song, “Find Your Love”? Well, originally, the song was Rihanna’s.
Producer Jeff Bhasker explained the situation to Complex, saying, “We actually wrote that for Rihanna. She actually cut it, it was just another writing day in the studio. I think No I.D had that drum beat and that’s the classic, ‘Jeff jump on the piano,’ and Kanye started humming in my ear. We started coming up with a melody, I started crafting the music and we wrote that relatively quickly, within an hour.”
“R.I.P” by Rita Ora ft. Tinie Tempah was written by Drake, a.k.a. RiRi’s on-again, off-again beau. So it’s no surprise that he allegedly wrote the tune for Rihanna. It never ended up happening, though, and Rita then got her hands on it, which ended up being a MAJOR hit.
We know we already have one Rihanna and Pitbull collaboration, but did you know we almost had another? In an interview with Kid Kraddick In the Morning, the rapper revealed that his song “Timber” was supposed to be for him and RiRi.
“The person we were looking at first to work on that record was actually Rihanna and Rihanna had something she had to do with Shakira, so she wasn’t able to work on our record,” he said. Thankfully, PB reached out to queen of all things glitter, Kesha, who signed up to sing on the track.
Major Lazer and DJ Snake released “Lean On” in 2015 which was the lead single on the former’s third album. But in an interview with Time, Diplo, who wrote the song, revealed that he originally sent it to both Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. Both of them rejected it, though he tells the publication that he views their choice to do so as “a blessing in disguise.”
“DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love”
Usher‘s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” was one of the hottest songs of 2010. Seriously, we all knew every sing word and were prepared to belt it out at any time. But, originally, producer and songwriter Max Martin wanted Rihanna’s vocal on the track. Allegedly, however, she rejected it and didn’t want it to be included on her album, Loud.
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