The-Dream tells 'Drink Champs' how Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was inspired by Britney Spears
One pop star’s meltdown at a gas station inspired The-Dream to write one of Rihanna’s biggest hits.
When making a hit song, it all has to come together. The words and melody of course. Then the right singer, producer, and sometimes, a special guest feature to take it all the way over the top.
One of The-Dream’s greatest and most successful creations wasn’t originally intended for who turned out to be its beneficiary. On this week’s Drink Champs, the Atlanta hitmaker reveals that “Umbrella” was penned with another pop princess in mind besides Rihanna.
The-Dream’s inspiration for “Umbrella” came from none other than Britney Spears after she had a meltdown 10 years ago in Los Angles. As some may remember, Spears was going through severe marital problems at the time and shaved her head bald in a hair salon. Later as the paparazzi followed her to a gas station, she proceeded to pound one of their vehicles with an umbrella.
“That record was written out of pure pressure in life,” Dream explained to hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. “Not being broke and not having certain things, I was okay then. I can say I had a music career at that point in time. I was getting checks out of the game. I had a publishing deal. It clicked. It’s almost like having an out of body experience. I watched myself walk in and write that record. The record was written for Britney Spears.”
He sent the song to Spears’ camp and to his surprise, they told him not only that they were declining to use the record, but they felt “it wasn’t a hit.”
Dream begged to differ. Luckily for him, so did LA Reid, who was running Def Jam at the time.
“I guess [Rihanna] heard about the record,” Dream continued. “She was out at the Grammys. We hadn’t even cut the record yet. She walked up to my manager and said ‘that’s my fuckin record!’ Of course when I heard she had said that in that way, I said ‘that’s the muthafucka who should have the record.’”
As we all know, the song ended up with RiRi and she rose to new levels of superstardom. As for the actual umbrella that inspired “Umbrella,” it was announced this Summer that it was going up for auction and expected to garner a maximum bid of $50,000.
While you’re sitting with the family this Thanksgiving, you can catch more of The-Dream’s talk with the Drink Champs. In addition to his stories about Britney and RiRi, he discusses how a disagreement between JAY-Z and Kanye West caused him to work on the Watch The Throne LP, and how Hov and Beyoncé’s secret love affair was his muse for “Single Ladies.” “Drink Champs” airs this Thursday at 10 p.m. on Revolt TV.