Rihanna is one of the biggest music stars in the world, but there was a time when L.A. Reid thought Teairra Mari would be much bigger than the “Stay” singer. In an excerpt from his memoir, Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next, L.A. described how he didn’t see Rihanna’s mega star potential until Beyonce reacted to the singer’s performance.

“The funny thing about Rihanna’s success was that we signed two girls at that time — Rihanna and a lovely young lady named Teairra Mari. We had an in-house company showcase and Beyoncé happened to be there with Jay Z. Teairra Mari, Rihanna, a four-girl group called Black Butterfly and Ne-Yo performed. At the label, we thought Teairra Mari would be the big star. We spent more time on her, did more work on her, paid more attention to her. Rihanna already had a hit with “Pon De Replay,” but we still thought it was the other girl. A bell went off for me, however, when, after the showcase, Beyoncé came up to me.

“That Rihanna girl,” she said, “She’s a beast.”