Britney Spears (born 2.12.1982)
Britney Spears' debut album Baby One More Time found her international stardom in 1999 and contained the Billboard topping single 'Baby One More Time. She has sold over 83 million records worldwide, currently making her the eighth best-selling female artist in American music history, having sold 31 million albums in the U.S.
Her turbulent personal life has been well documented. Most recently, On the evening of 3rd January 2008, police were called to Spears's home after she refused to relinquish custody of her children. As a result of an order placed by her psychiatrist, Spears was taken to UCLA Medical Centre on January 31 where she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana.
She auditioned for the Disney Channel series 'The New Mickey Mouse Club' when she was just eight years old. At the time, she was considered too young to join the series, but a producer on the show suggested that she meet up with an agent in New York.
When she turned 11, Spears returned to the Disney Channel for a role in the 'The New Mickey Mouse Club'. She remained on the show from until the age of 13, from 1993 to 1994. Her young co-workers on the show included Christina Aguilera (pop singer), Justin Timbelake (who would go on to be her boyfriend for some time), Joshua Chasez (also in N'Sync with Timberlake), Keri Russell (actress) and Ryan Gosling (actor). She returned to schoool in Kentwood for one year after the show had ended.
After school, in 1997, she joined the all-girl group Innosense for a short period of time but later that year she recorded a solo demo tape and was signed by Jive Records on the strength of the demo. She eventually became the opening act for boy bands Backstreet Boys and N'Sync.
Britney's Musical Career
Her first single 'Baby One More Time was released in 1998 and became an instant international success. It sold nine million copies worldwide. The song's accompanying music video featured Britney dressed provocatively in a midriff-baring schoolgirl uniform.
The album, also called Baby One More Time was released in January 1999, reaching number one on the Billboard 200. The album subsequently acheived worldwide sales of over 25 million copies. In December 1999, she won four Billboard Music Awards and in early 2000, she took home the Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist award at the American Music Awards. She went on to receive two nominations at the Grammys, that same year, though she lost out to Christina Aguilera and Sarah McLachlan.
Her second album, Oops I Did It Again debuted at number one in the U.S. by selling 1,319,193 units during its first week of sales. Concerning both musical content and sales, the album was very similar to Spears's debut, although critics were more favourable to this second album.
In 2000, Britney gained two more Billboard Music awards and another two Grammy nominations. She also garnered controversy at the MTV Music awards when she ripped off a black suit to reveal a provocative nude-colored and crystal-adorned outfit.
Spears third studio album, Britney was released in November 2001. Although not as successful as her previous albums, she gained some creative control by co-writing five of the album's tracks. It still managed to surpass Michael Jackson's album Invincible when it had a successful debut at number one in the U.S. by selling 745,744 units during its first week. The singles did not fare so well. The lead single 'Im A Slave 4 U' peaked at 27 on the Billlboard Hot 100, making it the album's biggest hit. At the end of the album's promotional tour for the album, Spears announced she would take a six-month break from her career.
During her third consecutive MTV Video Music Awards performance, she controversially utilized caged animals and danced erotically with a large albino python draped over her shoulders. At a performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, she performed the song 'Like A Virgin' with Christina Aguilera and was later joined by Madonna, with whom Spears locked lips, in a highly publicised kiss.
Spears' fourth studio album, In The Zone, was released in November 2003. The album used lesser-known producers such as RedZone, as well as big names such as Moby and R.Kelly. The album reached number one in the U.S. charts during its debut week, with over 609,000 copies sold. Spears became the only female in music history to have her first four studio albums debut at number one.
The album spawned the hit single 'Toxic', winning Spears her first ever Grammy, despite previous nominations.
After her marriage to one of her dancers, Kevin Federline, Spears announced on her website she was taking another career break in order to start a family. However, November 2004 saw the release of her first greatest hits collection, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, which debuted at #4 on the U.S. charts. Then, In November 2005, she released her first remix album, B In the Mix: The Remixes. With Spears still on maternity leave, the album did not reach the success of her previous albums.
In May 2007, Spears made her musical comeback, but overall, this proved to be a disappointment to many. A mini-tour for the House Of Blues failed to see her singing live for the 15 minutes that she performed. Her most recent was recorded with producers such as Sean Garrett and Nate "Danja" Hills in 2006 and 2007.
The result of these recordings was Blackout, her fifth album. Scheduled for release in November 2007, it was pushed up to October 30th due to internet leaks. It debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard charts, selling 290,000 copies
Britney's ill-fated performance at the 2007 MTV Music Awards received much media attention, being described as a disappointing attempt at a comeback. The BBC, for instance, stated that "her performance would go down in the history books as being one of the worst to grace the MTV Awards." Whilst critics at The Times noted that "Spears was out of synch as she lip-synched and at times just stopped singing altogether." Despite the backlash, however, the single has achieved success worldwide.