Rihanna was named the UK’s surprise Number One artist at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Preston today.
The Jay-Z protégé has earned the top spot in the UK singles chart with her new single ‘Umbrella’ on downloads alone, only the second time this has happened since Gnarls Barkley‘s ‘Crazy’ in 2006, and the first time since download-only tracks became chart eligible.
The singer was performing at the Radio 1 event at Moor Park, and after completing a funked-up, rockier version of the track, was told the news by DJ Reggie Yates.
Rihanna told NME.COM straight after her performance: “I can’t believe it, finally. I always stay at Number Two in the UK, but thanks to the fans that get it, it’s a great thing. My first Number One in the UK, it’s a great feeling. The single isn’t even in the stores yet, a lot of people have got it digitally, so thank you to them.”
The track, which features Jay-Z, is shaping up to be the biggest R&B hit of the summer.
“I fell in love with it immediately,” said the singer. “It’s always tough not knowing how people are gonna receive it. But everyone in my circle they fell in love with it, so we always knew that. It’s very edgy, my whole album has a different edge to it, it’s louder and not as girly.”
Earlier in the day, Mark Ronson performed tracks from his covers album ‘Version’.
The propducer was joined by guest vocalists Daniel Merriwether, Santo Gold, Tahlia and Phantom Planet singer Alex Greenwald, who sang Radiohead‘s ‘Just’.
But the duo had another surprise up their sleeves, playing ‘California’, the theme music from ‘The OC’, which Greenwald sings with his band.
Ronson told NME.COM: “It’s really fun to play Alex’s song, because no-one’s expecting it. He sings on ‘Just’ on my album, which was the first thing we did, just because I really liked his voice. It’s quite a big thing for a singer who’s into Radiohead to have to come and sing on it.”
Radio 1’s Big Weekend was the biggest live show Ronson had ever played.
He said: “It felt good musically but its weird because you’re used to playing a tight show to a smaller audience of people who get it, it’s definitely a long learning block. But the crowd was really great.”
Today also saw MIA play her first live show in 15 months, debuting tracks from her new album ‘KALA’.
Before the closing ‘Galang’, she told crowds: “Preston, I want you to know this is the first time I’ve played any of these songs, but how about one for old school’s sake?”
After their early performance, singer Tom Clarke told NME.COM: “Preston‘s mint, well impressed with the crowd, everyone’s loving it. We’ve played here before at 53 Degrees with The Paddingtons. It’s always a good crack in Preston. We’re gonna soak up the sun and have a hotdog now.”