The digital release of “Umbrella” had the biggest debut in the history of iTunes, but it was almost Britney Spears who got to sing this worldwide Number One song, “ella-ella-ella” hook and all. With Spears’ career spiraling out of control at the time, songwriter and co-producer The-Dream said, “We thought, 'Let's save our friend.' ” But Spears' management brushed them off, and then second choice Mary J. Blige also passed on it, much to the unabashed delight of the Bahamian singer born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. “I'm so thankful for it,” she said. “I prayed for this song.”
Next was formed in Minneapolis when the uncle of Terry "T-Low" and Raphael "Tweety" Brown, who was a gospel choir director, introduced the brothers to Robert Lavelle "R.L." Huggar. Sounds of Blackness singer Ann Nesby groomed the R&B group before handing them over to Naughty by Nature's KayGee, who wrote and produced "Too Close." The idea for the song was sparked "from a conversation we had with several girls at a nightclub," explained T-Low. "It's talking about the club scene, with guys getting out of hand and the female telling him to back up, asking, 'What are you doing?'"