Rihanna’s pre-show jitters

Rihanna gets “so nervous” before live shows, her writing partner reveals.

Singer/songwriter Mikky Ekko wrote the song Stay for Rihanna’s Unapologetic album. Mikky and Rihanna performed the song as a duet at the Grammys in February, and according to Mikky the singer still gets pre-performance jitters.

“She walked over to me right before the curtains went up and she said, ‘I’m so nervous.’ And that, for me, was one of the most calming [things],” Mikky told MTV News. “It made me feel like… [OK], it’s totally natural. It reminded me of being in high school at a talent show… except it was a world stage.”

Rihanna’s confession helped Mikky get over his own nerves and cope with the pressure of being in front of such a huge audience. According to the writer, the Grammy Awards was the first time he had performed outside of Nashville.

“It was crazy doing the Grammys because I had some of my original material out on the EPs, but the first live show I played outside of Nashville was the Grammys,” Mikky admitted. “At the Grammys was my first time wearing in-ear monitors and there were just a ton of factors… knowing it was coming whether I wanted it to or not [and thinking], ‘This is your shot, you can either blow it or not.’”

Since working with Rihanna, Mikky has collaborated with artists such as Pharrell and Diplo. He explains how grateful he is to Rihanna for giving him the chance to show the world his talent.

“I try to write from a place that’s pure and I work really hard to figure out what it is I’m trying to say if it’s important,” he said. “Stay would end up being a song that resonated with somebody like Rihanna and it has been so surreal but it also gave me a real push to step up my songwriting. If it can resonate with someone like her who has such a massive platform, then how I can continue to elevate my game?”

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