Snapshot: Rihanna leaves recording studio + Stargate discusses new album...

Yesterday saw Rihanna leaving a recording studio after a recording session (pictured). Vibe magazine also spoke with Tor Erik, one half of platinum production duo Stargate for an inside look at Rihanna's upcoming album, due later this year. The duo, who have a long history of hits with Rihanna (including four consecutive #1 singles) are currently enjoying critical acclaim for their work on Michael Jackson’s posthumous 'Xscape' release. Check out what Rihanna and Stargate have in store for us in the coming months! 

VIBE: You and your partner Mikkel Eriksen have been in the studio with Rihanna working on her upcoming album. Coming off the platinum success of Unapologetic, a project that saw her receive some of the best reviews of her career, what can fans expect from this upcoming project?
Tor Erik of Stargate: We are right in the middle of the record. We have written some incredible material that we are really excited about and that Rihanna is excited about. I can’t wait for the world to hear that. Because she moves around so much if you looked at paparazzi pictures it looks like all Rihanna does is party. But in the studio she is one of the most focused, hardworking artists, and she wants to get things done.
So there are no nightmare stories of Rihanna sucking her teeth and cursing out the engineer because the levels are not right?
[Laughs] 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, and if she doesn’t like the material then there’s no convincing her.
So she’s no mere pop puppet, huh?
But I like that. She doesn’t want us to pander to her. She just wants us to play her some hot records and if she likes it she doesn’t want us to change anything. If she doesn’t like it we just have to move on to the next one. It’s very easy with Rihanna.
What has been the biggest improvement you have seen in Rihanna’s development as an artist?
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.
You have had a long working relationship with Rihanna. What’s the one thing that has stuck out for you during these latest sessions?
We keep throwing challenges at her and she keeps handling them and even surpassing what we expected. It’s been one of the greatest experiences in our lives to see her grow from 17-years-old to where she is today. We have been lucky enough to be part of everything with her in that whole development.
That puts to bed accusations that she has no voice when it comes to the creation process of her work. A lot of people seem to get that mixed up due to her not always having writing credits on her albums (or falsely claiming them), although she has been listed as a co-writer on some. No one can deny that Rihanna has an excellent ear for a hit record, which is what has enabled her to come so far in her career despite debate of how limited her talent is. 

Photo: Rihanna Daily