Rihanna’s in town and so she hosted an exclusive industry shindig at the plush Sketch venue in the heart of central London this week. Sitting on a red armchair surrounded by candles and petals, she took the audience through a selection of what she promised were the best tracks from her forthcoming album Loud.
“This track had such a big vocal so I wanted to make sure I could pull it off. It was a challenge but I really enjoyed it” she said of current radio record Only Girl. Next to be played was what is set to be her second single from the album, an R&B number entitled What’s My Name, describing it as a “sassy, flirtatious, fun record”. With Stargate being behind three of the five tracks showcased, Rihanna also enlisted the help of Drake and of course organised the obligatory Nicki Minaj feature which has become pretty much standard these days.
The statuesque Bajan beauty looked stunning in towering stilettos and a stylish flowery outfit, and as each track played she bopped her head to the beat. The venue and mood of the night felt pretty glamorous, with white furniture, candle lit tables and canapés and cocktails being served on trays. The futuristic bathroom contained individual white pods instead of cubicles and each pod came with it’s own sonic theme, from airport sound effects to people laughing and clapping.
The songs we heard seemed to be split between big, dancey, thumping numbers and more traditional R&B tunes, and there was of course a massive ballad which has hit stamped all over it, called California King Bed. “When I first heard it I thought it was a great song and couldn’t wait to record it” said the superstar.
As each track played, images clouds and trees were projected on all walls to accompany the music. “The record sounds best when you listen to it out loud” Rihanna advised, explaining that she hates having to skip past songs. “I wanted to make an album where you could just press play.”
By Anna Nathanson