What We Know About Her Long-Awaited Album

by Alex Kritselis

Are you ready for more Rihanna news? On Thursday, Tor Erik Hermansen, one half of the Norwegian production duo Stargate, Rihanna’s longtime collaborators, sat down for an interview with Vibe, and I’m here to give you all of the exciting highlights. Okay, it was a relatively short interview, but there are some pretty important details that you absolutely need to know. I mean, Hermansen said that they’ve written some “incredible material” with Rihanna and that they "can’t wait" for the world to hear it! This is not a drill, people!

Hermansen and his musical partner Mikkel Storleer Eriksen have been working with Rihanna since her debut, 2005’s Music of the Sun, and they have a pretty amazing track record. “Don’t Stop the Music”? “Only Girl (In the World)”? “Diamonds”? All Stargate productions. I’m so psyched that Rih’s working with them again, I can't even explain.

First, I’ll cut right to the chase: Hermansen revealed to Vibe that, at the moment, they’re “right in the middle” of recording Rihanna’s new album. Damn. I was hoping that things would be a little further along than that by now, but that’s okay. I’ve always gotten the impression that Rihanna’s a fast worker, anyway. She’s already started teasing lyrics on Twitter, so maybe we won't have to wait too much longer to hear new music...

Second, Hermansen called Rihanna “one of the most focused, hardworking artists” he knows. True, it may look like all Rihanna does is party all day, but when it comes time to get down to business, she makes things happen. Hermansen elaborated:

There’s never any drama with her. She’s very honest and there’s no games. But the important thing about Rihanna is that she is secure and confident about her own taste in music. She is very easy to work with but hard to please. She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like…

Of course, I already knew that Rihanna had a keen ear for music (how else could she have managed to score 13 No. 1 hits in only eight years?), but it’s nice to have it confirmed by one of the industry's most successful producers. You know, no big deal.

Finally, when asked to name the “biggest development” he had seen in Rihanna as an artist over the years, Hermansen responded:

She has grown as a vocalist. So now when she sings a song she enhances it immensely. I think we are digging even deeper when it comes to songwriting. We are still keeping it fresh and sexy because that’s who she is. That’s Rihanna’s personality. But as a vocalist she can handle more things.

I like the sound of that! Rihanna’s vocals have come a long way. I mean, just compare her infamously bad live performance of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” at age 15 to her wonderful live performance of “Stay” at age 24. I have no doubt that Rihanna will continue to challenge herself vocally on this new project, and that makes me so excited, I can barely breathe.

The wait for this new Rihanna album, is killing me, Smalls. Come through, Rih! The world is waiting.