R&B singer Rihanna releases her fifth album, "Loud," tomorrow on Def Jam Records, and Spin Magazine predicts it will sell millions of copies.
That means potentially millions of people will read in the credits that two of the record's 11 songs -- "Cheers (Drink to That)" and the ballad "California King Bed" -- were recorded at The Burst Collective's Tosa village studio Burst HQ back in August.
Both songs were produced by the Orlando, Fla.-based duo The Runners.
"It all came about through a Twitter connection, believe it or not, so say goodbye to my days of denouncing Twitter as anything other than a modern annoyance," says Burst boss Daniel Holter.
Holter says local hip-hop talent Ray Nitti connected Burst and the 22-year-old, Barbados-born Rihanna.
"A few frenzied direct messages later led to a review of our facility by a few of her crew," says Holter. "We got a call the next day that she'd be coming by 'in about two hours.' So we scrambled a bit but made the place presentable by 3:30, and they stayed until 4:30 a.m., recording her vocals for the two songs."
Among Rihanna's crew on hand for the session were producer and writer Kuk Harrell (Rihanna's "Umbrella," Beyonce's "Single Ladies," etc.), Konvict Records' Abou, her traveling studio crew of Marcos Tovar and Josh Gudwin, along with a road manager, some friends and, of course, security.
That's because fans have a knack for knowing where their beloved star is at almost any given time, it seems.
"It was the first time we've had to deal with autograph hounds and paparazzi outside the studio, which was just a bit out of the norm for us," quips Holter.
Although the studio has been used by a number of well-known clients, including Chester French, Eric Benet, Willy Porter and Maritime -- to name a few -- Holter has his fingers crossed that the Rihanna project will bring Burst some wall jewelry.
Considering that the two advance singles -- "Only Girl (In the World)" and "What's My Name?" -- reached the No. 3 and No. 1 spots, respectively, on Billboard's Hot 100, it seems a distinct possibility.
"We have our collective fingers crossed that this week will bring us our first precious metal for our studio walls, in the form of a gold or platinum record," he says.
"We're quite proud her production crew had such nice things to say about their time here. According to Kuk, who I ran into at the Viper Room in L.A. just two weeks ago, Rihanna's vocal on 'California King Bed' is his favorite vocal sound on the whole record, which to a studio owner is almost as good as getting a platinum record. Almost."
But even if that doesn't happen -- certainly it's likely to -- Holter says the experience has been a great one.
"My kick-ass studio crew went way above and beyond the call of duty for this session, procuring all sorts of items well past the hours that one can normally find such items -- birthday candles and an oil-based space heater being among the tamest of the items procured. And I should thank the always top-notch Bartolotta's for coming through with an off-menu dinner meal just for Rihanna, as I knew they would without even knowing who it was for -- part of the hush-hush nature of the studio booking.
"It's one thing to have world-class clients raving about their creative experience in our studio, but it's so great to have even the food be complimented by those clients who are used to having the best of everything. It was a fun night and great memories."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.