“There’s People With Way More Talent Than I When It Comes To Singing”: Rihanna On Her Talent, Influence

February 18, 2014  |  

David Sims

In the March issue of Vogue, which will be Rihanna’s third cover for the American version of the magazine since her first in 2011, writer Plum Sykes chats with the mega-star about fashion, her talent, and why she flocks to Instagram so much. The interview is a very colorful one, as Skyes meets up with the singer to be styled by her at the Alexander Wang boutique in NYC. In between trying on capes and men’s leather bombers, we get to read Rihanna being herself–honest and silly (in a good way):

On Her 11 Million Instagram Followers:

“Instagram is my way of communicating to the world,” she says. “When I’m on tour, I keep fans in the loop. I don’t really think about it too much. Literally, I can be sitting in a car and be bored, so I do a selfie just because I’m bored. Or if my dog is running around in circles and I think that’s funny, I put it on Instagram.” As for who Rihanna follows on Instagram? “I follow girls from the Middle East. It gives you ideas.”

Why She Thinks Fashion Sense Is A Big Part Of Her Success–Not Really Her Voice:

“It’s not all down to my voice. There’s people with way more talent than I when it comes to singing. Bigger voices. But people want to know who you are. Fashion is a clear indication, a way to express your attitude, your mood.”

Ri Ri On Her Ever-Changing Hair And Her Love Of Weaves:

“It’s not my hair, but the girl who donated it, she’s the bomb,” says Rihanna. “Black girls never let anyone see this,” she adds, pulling apart the locks at the back of her head to show me the intricate workings of the false hair, which is woven into a net attached to her own. “I have two main hair people I work with. They’re always with me. I’m like, ‘I’m bored! I wanna change my hair!’ That’s the good thing about a weave. You can do whatever with it.”

Going Against What Folks Consider “Normal”:

“I don’t go out of my way to be a rebel or to have that perception, but a lot of the decisions I make, a lot of the direction I want to move, is against the grain, or against society’s tight lane, and I’m aware of that sometimes. It might not be fitting with the norm, but that’s OK for me.”

As I said before, I really dig her honesty in this interview. It’s pretty refreshing, right? Check out the full interview with Sykes at Vogue.com, see the images from her gorgeous Vogue spread on the next two pages and let us know what you think! 

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  • Midnight

    She has a few good songs here and there but as a person I’m really not feeling her. I think she’s full of it, she goes out of her way to do “shocking” things to get attention, as most celebrities do now and days. It’s never about talent anymore, it’s just about how foolish and skanky you can make yourself look in public.

  • CC

    It doesn’t get any better than that. What’s not to love about the truth, authenticy, self-awareness, passion and being free?? That’s why I love Rih all the way around. She knows she’s not perfect, she’s not trying to be and she’s “Ok with that”. Oh and happy birthday to you Rih. Yes OUR birthdays are tomorrow!!!#2/20baby

    • cocoamomoe

      I agree with you 100%….I feel she has the whole package, also she is unique and that’s what makes her stand out…sometimes it’s not about how big or small someone’s voice is, it’s about how they use it and she is REAL! whats not to love about her right…go riri love you!!! oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the both of ya’s…and everyone else that day lol ^_^

      • CC

        Thank you Sweetheart!!! Yes she’s very real and down to earth which is more than I can say about most other musicians.

  • kiki j

    Rih Rih you’re growing on me girl.

  • Bettye Neely

    they are entertainers. please dont expect anything more than that.

    • chanela

      if you are a singer then you should be able to sing….

  • ComeLetsTalk

    No duhhhhh.

  • Shea

    Lmfao…I can’t take it. She said “It’s not all down to my voice.” I hope she didn’t just figure that out. It was never about your voice, boo!

  • Rebbekah

    at least she’s honest about her voice…

  • chanela

    funny thing about her sense of fashion. ummmmmmm she has a clothing stylist so none of that is her doing either. smh

  • chanela

    THANK YOU! she is being real and honest with herself. every time i mention how rihanna can’t sing then people go off calling me a damn hater. EVEN SHE KNOWS SHE CANT SING! what now? it came from her mouth.

    i honestly thing rihanna’s whole presence is a social experiment. Give a light skinned green eyed chick the best song writers, producers, hair stylists, and clothing stylists and see how far they can get with barely any singing talent. it worked! everytime people mention rihanna they go on and on about how pretty she is and how stylish she is. not a damn thing about singing.

  • Cleveland Cutie

    I appreciate Rih’s honesty!

  • SmacksAddict

    rihanna is just keeping it real like she seems to always do. i’m going to keep it real a lot of people with more talent per se like even back in the day people didn’t know how ugly some of those singers were and probably wouldn’t have supported the artist if they knew.

  • Taneesha Culture Clash Thomas

    I love her honesty she’s always transparent…as far as her vocal ability her sound is original & unique

  • Just saying!!

    I love this girl. She’s so aware of herself and comfortable with that. She doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not.

    • kiki j

      Idk I think she pretends to be dumber than she is for the sake of an image and her brand. I never really liked Rihanna bc I thought she was a dumb chick for multiple reasons. But the more I see a more candid rihanna the more i realize she is so much smarter than her image allows. I like who she is beyond the music and twitter beefs etc. She’s growing on me.

  • enlightenment

    Well I’m glad she admitted it. But there’s a slew of other artists that I’ve heard sing live and I’m like “What the f—! You sound terrible!” And I wonder how they got famous. Like Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Ashanti, Katy Perry, etc. They wouldn’t exactly knock the “National Anthem” out the ballpark.

    But at the same time, we do tend to love some of their songs. I love Rihanna. But like the other artists I mentioned, they’re “visual artists.” Fans fall in love with them for their beauty and fashion sense…rather than their vocal talent.

  • enlightenment

    Welp, at least she admits it. Though, there’s a slew of other artists out there that I ask, “how the heck did you become famous?” I’ve heard the likes of Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Ashanti sing live. And I just don’t understand it.

    I still love Rihanna though. I think, like the other artists I mentioned,they’re “visual artists” and the public responds to them because of their beauty & style as opposed to their vocals.

  • Trisha_B

    Love this chick! She never gives the cookie cutter responses in her interviews

  • hi-liter

    The truth will set you free!

  • Chey

    Glad she finally acknowledged that.

  • kb

    People say the Gaga is the heir apparent to Madonna, but I think it is RiRi. Although Madonna wasn’t a strong singer, she captured her audiences imagination, people wanted to be Madonna, and I think for RiRi, it the same w/her fans. Lady Gaga, is a phenomenal artist, and her fans love her, but they don’t aspire to be her.

    • chaka1

      Madonna is a brilliant performer. She can dance, has endless energy, is super creative, and has amazing stage presence. Also, Madonna is in complete control of her career and image. Rhianna is NOT MADONNA although she is trying to play by the Madonna playbook.

      • kb

        You took me too literally. Above everything, People like madonna bc of an image, she projects. She is an icon. and the same goes for Riri, people like her bc they buy into her image. Thats’s all 🙂

        • MH

          THANK YOU! I was thinking the same.

      • pinkbabay

        “ability to steal from other artist” completely contradicts your claim that she has a “flair for creativity”!

        • kiki j

          Lol i was thinking that when i read it

      • SmacksAddict

        madonna has been in the game longer to do all of that too so you have to think about that.

        • Just saying!!

          I agree. When you think about it, it’s pretty insane that Rihanna is only 24. I think people forget that. She’s done SO MUCH already. Imagine what she can do by 55!?

          • CC

            25, tomorrow (2/20) she will be 26!!!

          • js

            EXACTLY! she has been consistent, and can do any genre of music hands down, has style and flair, and a beauty…total package in my eyes…