The musical theatre veteran claimed he first heard the Bajan superstar singing in a hotel on the island of Barbados 12 years ago, long before she hit global superstardom, but hesitated to act. Rihanna begun singing in her native country at the age of seven, and was discovered in Barbados by American record producer Evan Rogers as a teenager, before signing a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning for its then-president, Jay Z.

"I saw her singing karaoke in Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados 12 years ago," Lloyd Webber said in an interview with Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (13Dec16). "I turned to my friend and said, 'She's very good'. I wondered if we brought her back, it might be like a picture you buy on holiday and then you get home and think, why did I buy that?

"I thought I might get her home and then wonder what to do with her."

When the interviewer asked Lloyd Webber, "How much money do you think that cost you?", the multimillionaire songwriter answered: "It's not something I'm proud of."

Rihanna is now one of the best-selling artists of all time with over 200 million records sold worldwide. She has eight Grammy Awards among her awards haul and Forbes magazine ranked her the fourth most powerful celebrity of 2012.