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Britney Spears

Posted by pouyablog on October 3, 2008

Britney Spears
Britney Spears performing at the NFL Kickoff Show in 2003.

Britney Spears performing at the NFL Kickoff Show in 2003.[1]
Background information
Birth name Britney Jean Spears
Born December 3, 1981 (1981-12-03) (age 26)
McComb, Mississippi, United States
Origin Kentwood, Louisiana, United States
Genre(s) Pop
Occupation(s) Singer, dance, songwriter, actress, Author
Instrument(s) vocals, piano
Voice type(s) Mezzo-soprano
Years active 1998 — present
Label(s) Jive/Zomba
Associated acts The New Mickey Mouse Club
Innosense
Website BritneySpears.com Britney.com

Britney Jean Spears (born December 3, 1981) is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears first appeared on national television as a contestant on the Star Search program in 1992 and went on to star on the television series The New Mickey Mouse Club from 1993–1994. After a brief membership with the pop musical group Innosense, Spears signed a recording contract with Jive Records, releasing her debut album …Baby One More Time in 1999. The album established her as a pop icon and “bona fide pop phenomenon”, credited for influencing the revival of teen pop in the late 1990s.[2]

The music video for “…Baby One More Time” and Spears’s appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine also established her as an international sex symbol, garnering controversy over the influence of her public image on teenage girls.[2] With the release of In the Zone (2003), Spears became the first artist in the history of Nielsen SoundScan to have her first four consecutive albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts.

Spears’s personal life began to gain substantial media attention after her marriage to Kevin Federline in 2004. Their marriage ended two years later, resulting in an ongoing custody battle over their two children, born in 2005 and 2006.[3][4] Spears released her fifth studio album Blackout in 2007 which received generally positive reviews. The following year Spears began recording her sixth studio album Circus.

Spears is ranked as the eighth best-selling female recording artist in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America with 31 million certified albums and one of the world’s best-selling music artists having sold an estimated 83 million worldwide.[5][6] Spears also holds the title to multiple Guinness World Records.

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Biography

Early life and career debut

Britney Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi,[7][8] and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana as a Southern Baptist. Her parents are Lynne Irene (née Bridges), a former elementary school teacher, and Jamie Parnell Spears, a building contractor. Spears’s brother Bryan works as a manager for the Spears family interests[9] and her sister Jamie Lynn is an actress and singer. Her maternal grandmother Lillian Woolmore-Portell was an English war-bride of Italian-Maltese descent,[10][11] born in Tottenham, London[12] who met Spears’s grandfather Barnett O’Field Bridges in England during World War II. Her paternal grandparents were June Austin Spears and Emma Jean Forbes.[11]

Spears was an accomplished gymnast, attending gymnastics classes until age nine and competing in state-level competitions.[13] She performed in local dance revues and sang in her local Baptist church choir. Spears entered New York City’s Professional Performing Arts School when she was eight. At age eight she auditioned for the Disney Channel series The New Mickey Mouse Club. Although she was considered too young to join the series at the time, a producer on the show introduced her to a New York City agent.[13] Spears subsequently spent three summers at NYC’s Professional Performing Arts School and also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions. She was an understudy in the 1991 off-Broadway musical Ruthless!.[13] In 1992, she landed a spot on the popular television show Star Search. She won the first round of competition, but ultimately lost. At age eleven, Spears returned to the Disney Channel for a spot on the The New Mickey Mouse Club in Lakeland, Florida.[13] She was featured on the show from 1993 to 1994, until she was 13.[14] After the show ended, Spears returned to Kentwood and attended high school for a year.[15]

In 1997, Spears briefly joined the all-female pop group Innosense.[16] Later that same year, she recorded a demo solo and was signed by Jive Records.[13] She began a U.S. concert tour sponsored by American teen magazines, and eventually became an opening act for ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.[17]

1998–2000: …Baby One More Time and Oops!… I Did It Again

Spears’s debut single “…Baby One More Time“, which was released in October 1998, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in January 1999, and topped the chart for two weeks.[18][19] Spears commented, “I just wanted to be on the radio. I didn’t think it would be on the Billboard charts! I was so excited, I wanted to cry”.[19] Gillian G. Gaar, author of She’s a Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll (2002) documented that “eyebrows were raised over the schoolgirl-in-heat persona Spears projected in her [music video for …Baby One More Time], along with an increasingly revealing series of stage outfits.[20] The album of the same name debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts in January 1999.[21] Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “While several Cherion-crafted kiddie-funk jams serve up beefy hooks, shameless schlock slowies, like “E-Mail My Heart,” are pure spam”.[22] NME commented “[Spears’s debut album and its title-track] are the kind of soullessness that saturates Stateside charts and consists of nothing but over-chewed bubblegum beats and saccharine sensibilities”.[23] In contrast, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic wrote: “Like many teen pop albums, …Baby One More Time has its share of well-crafted filler, but the singles, combined with Britney’s burgeoning charisma, make this a pretty great piece of fluff”.[24] …Baby One More Time was later certified fourteen times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting fourteen million units shipped within the United States.[25]

In March 1999, Tamara Conniff of Entertainment News Wire reported: “Only a few years ago, Spears was a Mouseketeer on the Disney Channel’s “Mickey Mouse Club.” Now, she’s a 17-year-old pop superstar with a No. 1 album, a double-platinum single and a provocative video in heavy rotation on MTV. Spears’s debut album and its title track, “… Baby One More Time,” have taken the music world by storm”.[26] Spears commented, “My main goal is just to make good music…And since I am so young, I can grow as an artist each time and hopefully be a legend or something, like Madonna“.[26] By April 1999, Spears was described as “the Reigning Princess of Pop” by the Orlando Sentinel.[27]

Britney Spears featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

Britney Spears featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

Spears posed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in April 1999, shot by photographer David LaChapelle.[28] Spears commented, “It was so much fun!…I loved the idea of me holding Tinky Winky and talking on the phone!”[29] Geoff Boucher of The Los Angeles Times reported, “there was no mistaking the titillation factor in the recent Spears cover story and accompanying photos in the April 15 issue of Rolling Stone, which sent eyebrows arching throughout the music industry, where several executives half-jokingly called it “child pornography.”[30] Similarly, an editorial review from Iowa State Daily commented, “a distinction should be drawn between the cute teeny-boppers in cool outfits who make the boys and girls buy records by the truckload and the exploitation of a minor by her parents, her record company and the media… Pictures like these are only barely legal when taken by private citizens. But when Rolling Stone does it, it’s just good business”.[31] Gillian G. Gaar reported, “The American Family Association charged that the pictures, which showed Spears in push-up bras and a minuscule pair of shorts with “Baby” in rhinestones on the bottom, presented a “disturbing mix of childhood innocence and adult sexuality” and asked that all “God-loving Americans” boycott stores carrying her albums”.[20] More controversy arose when Spears declared that she would “remain a virgin until marriage”.[32] This pledge has been questioned due to her apparently sexual relationship with fellow pop singer Justin Timberlake.[33][34]

on the Baby One More Time Tour

on the Baby One More Time Tour

In late 1999, Spears appeared on the sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and performed the song “(You Drive Me) Crazy“; this cameo was a cross-promotion for the film Drive Me Crazy, which starred Sabrina’s Melissa Joan Hart and was named after the song.[35] In December 1999, she won four Billboard Music Awards, including Female Artist of the Year. A month later, she took home the Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist award at the American Music Awards.[36]

Following the success of her previous album, Spears released the album Oops!… I Did It Again in May 2000. It debuted at number one in the U.S. by selling 1,319,193 units during its first week of sales, breaking the SoundScan record for the highest album sales in its debut week by any solo artist.[37] The RIAA awarded the album with a diamond certification with 10 million copies sold in the U.S.[38][39][40] Concerning both musical content and sales, the album was very similar to Spears’s debut, although it fared better with critics. Allmusic once again gave it 4 out of 5 stars, saying that the album “has the same combination of sweetly sentimental ballads and endearingly gaudy dance-pop that made “…Baby One More Time.”[41] Rolling Stone gave the album 3.5 stars out of 5 by noting the album as “fantastic pop cheese” and “Britney’s demand for satisfaction is complex, fierce and downright scary.”[42]

The album’s lead single of the same name broke the record for most radio station additions in a single day, and quickly became a top ten hit in the U.S. and other countries.[43] The same year, Spears launched her first world tour, the “Oops!… I Did It Again World Tour“. During the tour, she made a stop in New York for the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. As part of her performance, she ripped off a black suit to reveal a provocative nude-colored and crystal-adorned outfit that generated much controversy.[44] Spears earned two Billboard Music Awards for Oops!… I Did It Again.[45]

2001–2003: Britney, Crossroads, and In the Zone

Spears released her third studio album Britney in November 2001. Although not as successful as her previous albums,[40] she assumed some creative control by co-writing five of the album’s tracks.[46] It surpassed 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.[47] The album’s success made her the only female artist in music history to have her first three albums debut at number one.[48][49] The album fared well with critics such as Allmusic who gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars, describing the album’s title tracks as being “pivotal moments on Britney Spears’s third album, the record where she strives to deepen her persona, making it more adult while still recognizably Britney.”[50] In contrast, Rolling Stone said of the album Britney “belabors the obvious: Spears is one month away from entering her twenties and clearly needs to grow up if she’s going to bring her fans along.”[46]

The singles did not perform as well; Britney’s lead single “I’m a Slave 4 U” peaked at 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 making it the album’s biggest hit.[51] To help promote the album, Spears embarked on the Dream Within a Dream Tour in November 2001. The tour was forced to cut short in Mexico City due to bad weather.[52] With the end to her tour, Spears announced she would take a six month break from her career.[53]

In early 2002, Spears’s four-year relationship with Timberlake ended.[54] His 2002 song “Cry Me a River” and its music video, which featured an actress resembling Spears, caused speculation that Spears had been unfaithful;[55] Timberlake, however, denied that his song was meant to portray her.[56]

June 2002 saw the opening of Spears’s restaurant, Nyla, in New York City, which served Louisianan and Italian cuisine. However, she was pulled out of the business venture in November as a result of debts and management issues. Nyla officially closed in 2003.[17] In the same year, Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst confirmed that he was in a relationship with Spears. Durst was also hired to help write and produce tracks for her album In the Zone, which were eventually scrapped.[57]

Spears had her first starring role in the 2002 film Crossroads,[58] in which she portrayed a high school graduate who travels to find her long-lost mother. The movie was poorly received,[59] as was her performance; Spears received Razzie Awards for Worst Actress and for Worst Original Song.[60] Nonetheless, the film grossed over $60 million worldwide.[61] Spears also made cameo appearances in Austin Powers in Goldmember and Longshot.[62] Footage of Spears appeared in the 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which samples a 2003 CNN interview about the Iraq War in which Spears says, “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.”[63][64] Spears made her third consecutive MTV Video Music Awards performance. While performing “I’m a Slave 4 U”, she controversially utilized caged animals and danced erotically with a large albino python draped over her shoulders. Animal-rights organization PETA claimed that the animals featured in the performance were mistreated and cancelled plans for an anti-fur billboard that was to feature Spears.[65] Her career success was highlighted by Forbes magazine in 2002 as Spears was ranked the world’s most powerful celebrity.[66] At a performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, she appeared with Aguilera performing the song “Like a Virgin“, and was later joined by American pop singer Madonna. Spears locked lips with Madonna in a highly-publicized kiss.[67][68][69]

Spears released her fourth studio album In the Zone in November 2003, 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 eight of the album’s thirteen songs and co-produced several pieces of her material for the first time. In the Zone reached number one in the U.S. charts during its debut week, selling over 609,000 copies. This made Spears the first female in the Nielsen SoundScan era to have her first four studio albums to debut at number one.[70] The album had a mild reception from critics. Stylus Magazine gave the album a D and even blamed Spears’s career choices by stating, “Ultimately, In the Zone suffers greatly from Britney’s uneasy transition from teen tart to sexually powerful woman. Had Britney been in charge of her career direction instead of mercilessly prostituted by her management, she might have been able to produce something with some semblance of musical vision.”[71] The Guardian praised the album’s melodies and her effort, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and writing, “Unlike previous Britney albums, In the Zone has no filler and no shoddy cover versions, just 57 varieties of blue-chip hit-factory pop. There is southern hip-hop, deep house, Neptunes-style R&B, the ubiquitous Diwali beat and, most importantly, oodles of Madonna.”[72]

The album spawned the hit single “Toxic“, winning Spears her first ever Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording.[73]

2004–2005: Marriages, first child and compilation albums

Spears married childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander on January 3, 2004, at The Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.[74] The marriage lasted 55 hours, ending with an annulment stating 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 other’s desires as to State of residency.”[75][76]

Months after her Las Vegas marriage, Spears embarked on The Onyx Hotel Tour, which was canceled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single “Outrageous“.[77] The tour’s choreography generated much controversy and criticism, with the presence of young children in the audience.[78]She then became involved in the Kabbalah Centre in September 2004 through her friendship with Madonna.[79] However, she publicly left the religion in 2006, stating on her website, “I no longer study Kabbalah, my baby is my religion.”[80]

In July 2004, Spears announced her engagement to Kevin Federline, three months after they met. Federline had recently been in a relationship with actress Shar Jackson, who was eight months pregnant with their second child.[81] These initial stages were chronicled in Spears’s first reality show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic, which aired on UPN in May and June 2005.[82] On the night of September 18, Spears married Federline in a surprise, non-denominational ceremony at a residence in Studio City, California, filing legal papers on October 6.[83][84] After the marriage, Spears announced via her website that she would be taking another career break to start a family. She gave birth to her first child, Sean Preston Federline, nearly one year later, on September 14, 2005 in Santa Monica, California by a scheduled caesarean section.[3]

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