The singer – whose smash hits include "Umbrella," "Take a Bow" and "Rehab" – has been writing songs about "different situations in her life, just things that inspire her," according to one of her producers.
"She's ready, ready to make hits," producer Brian Kennedy Seals told PEOPLE Wednesday at the ASCAP Pop Awards in Hollywood, adding that they've already worked on three songs, including an up-tempo number and a ballad.
As for the lyrics, "We're not there yet," says One Republic's Ryan Tedder, who is also working with Rihanna, 21, as a writer and producer. "She's someone … who has something to say, so I will let her lead whatever she wants to say."
As for how Rihanna is doing these days, Tedder says, "She's phenomenal. She's confident and strong and doing what she does."
Time with FriendsThe pop songstress has been spending time in her native Barbados this week, where she hung out with Katy Perry, who made a promo stop in the island nation for her current tour.
The two pop stars, clad in bathing suits, rode jet-skis and ocean rafts, relaxed on a speedboat and sunbathed on a local beach.
"It's nice to have good girlfriends. I pride myself on having cool chicks in my life, and [Rihanna]'s a cool chick," Perry, 24, told MTV News of her new pal (the two have been spotted hanging out at L.A. hotpots and have had dinner together). "She's one of those unaffected people. [And we're both] kind of on this crazy roller coaster [of fame]."
Reporting by JESSICA HERNDON