Music Artist Britney Spears
Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is a Grammy-winning American pop singer, songwriter, dancer, occasional actress, and author. She is best known for her studio albums, music videos, and pop songs such as "...Baby One More Time" and "Toxic".
Britney Spears first came to fame as a member of the New Mickey Mouse Club in the early 1990s, after which she took a five-year break from entertainment. She subsequently emerged at the forefront of the pop music scene in late 1998, thanks to her chart-topping debut album, ...Baby One More Time, which was crafted by producer-songwriter Max Martin. Her second album, Oops I Did It Again, which was released the following year, was a similarly huge hit.
In the early 2000s, Spears' success as a singer led her way to high-profile advertising deals, most notably for Pepsi, as well as forays into other forms of media, including film and reality television. Along with her highly-publicized relationship with 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, her third and fourth albums were released during this era and included more artistic input from Spears, but yielded lower sales. In 2004, she married dancer-rapper Kevin Federline and the following year she gave birth to their son, Sean Preston. Spears is currently expecting their second child.
Childhood and discovery
Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised a Southern Baptist in Kentwood, Louisiana. Her parents are James Parnell Spears, a building contractor, and Lynne Irene Bridges (born 1956), a former grade school teacher. Spears's brother, Bryan (born 1977), is one of her managers, and her sister, Jamie Lynn (born 1991), is an actress and singer. Her maternal grandmother, Lillian Woolmoore (1924–1993), was an English war bride, who met Spears's maternal grandfather, Barnett O'Field Bridges (1919–1978), in England during WWII, and subsequently moved with him to the United States. Her paternal grandparents were June Austin Spears (born 1930) and Emma Jean Forbes (1934–1966); Spears claims to have some Native American heritage.
Spears was an accomplished gymnast, attending gymnastics classes until age nine and competing in state-level competitions. She performed in local dance revues and her local Baptist church choirs, and was auditioning for the Disney Channel's New Mickey Mouse Club by the time she was eight. Although she was considered too young to join the series at the time, a producer on the show introduced her to a New York agent. Spears subsequently spent three summers at NYC's Professional Performing Arts School and also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions, including 1991's Ruthless!. In 1992, she landed a spot on Star Search, and though she won the first round, she lost in the second (her opponent would later appear on a 2001 episode of the game show I've Got a Secret with the "secret" being the win against Spears). Spears then returned to the Disney Channel for a spot on the New Mickey Mouse Club and was accepted. She was featured in the 1993–1994 seasons from the ages of 11–13. She performed several backflips for the New Mickey Mouse Club, which she would later repeat for the ...Baby One More Time video. Other performers on the show included Justin Timberlake, future boyfriend of Spears, and Joshua Chasez (both of whom later became members of the pop group 'N Sync), Keri Russell (star of the TV show Felicity), fellow pop singer Christina Aguilera, and actor Ryan Gosling. A few years later, Spears recorded a demo, which landed in the hands of a Jive Records executive. She was signed to their label and began touring American venues for a series of concerts sponsored by American teen magazines, before joining 'N Sync and becoming their opening act.
Spears' debut single, "...Baby One More Time", started appearing on radio stations and MTV in 1998. Led by a music video that featured the 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in) brown-eyed bottle blonde in a racy schoolgirl outfit, the single became an international success, earning Platinum sales and going to number one in the U.S., as well as in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, it became the biggest selling song of 1999, and the 24th biggest selling song of all time. Her debut album of the same name, ...Baby One More Time, topped the LP charts in the U.S. and Canada for six non-consecutive weeks. Within a year of its release, it had become the best-selling LP by a teenager in history. This success spawned another U.S. top ten hit "(You Drive Me) Crazy" which helped the album ship over ten million copies in the U.S. in 1999 alone, and over one million in the United Kingdom; it would go on to ship another four million copies in the following years. ...Baby One More Time has sold an outstanding 28 million copies worldwide.
Spears was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in April 1999. The sexually suggestive Lolita-themed photo shoot triggered widespread speculation (denied by her representatives) that the still-seventeen-year-old had opted to have breast implants. That summer, she kicked off her first headlining tour, the ...Baby One More Time Tour. By late 1999, Spears had become one of the year's biggest stars, a claim backed-up by the amount of award nominations she received that season. In December, she took home four Billboard Music Awards including one for Female Artist of the Year, and the next month won for Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist at the American Music Awards. At the Grammy Awards, held in February 2000, Spears received two nominations, including one for Best New Artist.
Following the short-lived Crazy 2K Tour, the lead single from Spears' second album, "Oops!... I Did It Again," was released. It broke a record for most radio station adds in a single day and quickly became a U.S. top ten hit and number one single in other countries, including Australia and the UK. Released in May 2000, the album Oops!... I Did It Again also debuted at number one in the U.S. and Canada. It sold over 1.3 million units during its first week in the U.S., making it the fastest-selling album by a female artist. Within a year of release, it had shipped over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, and over 900,000 copies in the United Kingdom, 1.2 million in the German. It would go on to ship another million on top of that, and yielded two more top thirty hits: "Lucky" and Stronger. Oops!... I Did It Again has sold a worldwide 24 million copies.
Spears kicked off her first world tour (titled the Oops!... I Did It Again World Tour) in the summer of 2000, and co-wrote the book Britney Spears' Heart-to-Heart with her mother, Lynne. During a performance at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, she ripped off a black suit to reveal a provocative nude-colored and crystal-adorned outfit that generated controversy due to her young age. In late 2000, she won two Billboard Music Awards, and in early 2001, she was nominated for two American Music Awards. At the Grammys, one of her two nominations was for Oops!... I Did It Again in the category of Best Pop Vocal Album, but again she did not win.
2001–2003: Career development
In early 2001, Spears struck a $7–8 million USD promotional deal with the soft drink giant Pepsi and released her second book, the novel, A Mother's Gift, also co-written with her mother. She performed at the MTV Video Music Awards the following September, and in addition to criticism for being scantily clad, she angered animal rights organization PETA for the use of animals, including an albino python, in her performance.
In November, she released her third album Britney. It debuted at number one on both the U.S. and Canadian charts, selling over 746,000 units during its first week in the U.S. The success of this album made Spears the only female artist in SoundScan history to have her first three albums debut at number one. Although four million copies of the record have been sold in the U.S., and almost four and a half to-date, it was a decline from the sales of her first two albums, and "I'm a Slave 4 U" was the album's only hit single in the U.S. Britney was the first album on which Spears assumed some creative control; she co-wrote five of the album's tracks. Spears set off on her next
the Dream Within a Dream Tour, shortly after its release. The Britney
album has sold a total of 15 million copies worldwide.
Fort Worth, Texas KEGL-FM DJs Kramer and Twitch on created a panic
for her fans when they falsely reported that she and her then-boyfriend,
'NSYNC's Justin Timberlake, were in a car accident involving a pretzel
truck and that she had died in the crash. In reality, they were both
alive and well and had not been in any car wreck. Later, In October
2001, a website spoofing CNN stated again that she had been killed
yet again in a car crash.
In February 2002, Spears starred in
a film, Crossroads, which reached number two on the box-office charts
in its first weekend, but quickly dropped out of the top ten. Songs
from the album Britney appeared in the film. The movie, along with
Spears' performance in it, was poorly received by critics and she netted
herself a Razzie Award for Worst Actress, tied with Madonna. The film
also won, among other nominations, the Worst Original Song Razzie for
Spears' "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman".
relationship with Justin Timberlake ended in March 2002. The break-up
was publicized, with rumors circulating that Spears had been unfaithful.
Timberlake himself left the impression that she had cheated on him
through his song Cry Me a River, and its subsequent music video. In
response to this, Spears later said, "I'm not technically saying he's
wrong, but I'm not technically saying he's right, either." Afterward,
despite Spears' claims that she had remained a virgin, – and wished
to remain one until marriage – Timberlake insisted they had sex during
their relationship. Spears later acknowledged this to be true, saying, "It
was two years into my relationship with Justin, and I thought he was
the one. But I was wrong!"
In June 2002, Spears branched out
as a restaurateur with the opening of a New York City eatery, NYLA,
which was named for its mix of New York and Louisiana cuisine. It was
not a success and closed the following year. Soon after these failures,
Spears took a break from the spotlight, and in 2003 many music industry
critics speculated her career was in decline. That same year, Forbes
named Spears the most powerful celebrity in the world. She was also
nominated for two Grammys yet again, including Best Pop Vocal Album
Spears returned to the forefront of the pop music
scene in August 2003. That month, she appeared at the MTV Video Music
Awards with her idol Madonna, pop singer Christina Aguilera and rapper
Missy Elliott. Spears and Aguilera performed Madonna's song "Like a
Virgin", danced suggestively and each locked lips with Madonna (see
Madonna at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards). Spears' kiss with Madonna
attracted publicity that lasted several months.
saw the release of Spears' fourth album, In the Zone. Jettisoning the
Max Martin-produced synthpop of her earlier releases, the album took
in lesser-known producers such as RedZone and big names including Moby
and R. Kelly. Spears co-wrote nine of the album's thirteen songs and
co-produced some of her material for the first time. In the Zone went
to the top of the U.S. charts in its debut week, selling over 609,000
copies. This made Spears the only female in music history to have her
first four albums debut at number one. The record has sold 3 million
copies in the United States. It also spawned the international number
one and U.S. top ten hit, "Toxic," which won Spears her first Grammy
in the category of Best Dance Recording. It was the 5th biggest selling
song of 2004 world-wide, and the 8th biggest-selling song of 2004 in
the United Kingdom. "In the Zone" has sold a total of 10 million copies
On January 3, 2004, Spears married her childhood
friend Jason Allen Alexander at The Little White Wedding Chapel on
the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spears wore jeans and a baseball
cap and the bellhop walked her down the aisle. An annulment was promptly
arranged (at the behest of manager Larry Rudolph and her family) and
was granted on January 5, ending their fifty-five hour marriage. The
annulment request stated that Spears "lacked understanding of her actions
to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to marriage because
before entering into the marriage the Plaintiff and Defendant did not
know each others likes and dislikes, each others desires to have or
not have children, and each others desires as to State of residency." Spears
later explained, "Honestly, I really wanted to see what it was like
to be married."
As the album's third single "Everytime" began
to receive airplay, Spears embarked on her fourth world tour, The Onyx
Hotel Tour. The tour grossed over $34 million USD and was seen by over
600,000 fans in North America and Europe, but the remaining dates were
cancelled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming
of the video for the single "Outrageous." She was taken to an undisclosed
hospital, where she received an MRI that showed floating cartilage
in her knee. The following 37 stops on the tour were canceled, costing
Spears $750,000 to $1,000,000 a night in guaranteed fees from concert
In July 2004, Spears announced her engagement to
dancer Kevin Federline, three months after they met at a club in Hollywood.
Their whirlwind romance sparked criticism due to the fact that Federline
had very recently been in a relationship with actress Shar Jackson,
who was still pregnant with their second child. On the night of September
18, 2004, Spears married Federline before 27 guests in a surprise,
non-denominational ceremony at a residence in Studio City, California.
The legitimacy of the marriage was initially questioned, but on November
18, 2004, a representative of the Los Angeles County registrar's office
confirmed Spears and Federline had successfully filed their marriage
license with the county within ten days of their ceremony, and were
therefore legally married. Regarding this, Spears told People that, "I
believe that you marry in your heart and that means much more than
a piece of paper. If I don't feel it there, than nothing else matters.
You can write anything down on paper, but the real truth is love." Originally,
Spears refused to have a prenuptial agreement, but her manager, Larry
Rudolph, and her family insisted she do so and she subsequently fired
Rudolph after the wedding. After initially spending their honeymoon
in Spears' hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears wrote on her official
site that, "Unfortunately, we couldn't take our honeymoon right after
the wedding because of the closing on our new house." In October 2004,
they flew to Fiji and spent ten days at the luxurious Turtle Island
Resort, which costs approximately $2,000 a night.