Britney Jean Spears, 2 December 1981, Kentwood, Louisiana,
USA. One of the last teenage pop superstars of the 20th century,
Spears enjoyed her breakthrough success at the end of 1998.
She appeared in local dance revues and church choirs as a
girl, and at the age of eight auditioned for The Mickey Mouse
Club. Although she was too young to join the series, a producer
on the show gave her an introduction to a New York agent.
She subsequently spent three summers at the Professional Performing
Arts School Center. She appeared in a number of off-Broadway
productions as a child actor, including Ruthless (1991). She
returned to the [Walt] Disney Channel for a spot on The Mickey
Mouse Club, where she was featured for two years between the
ages of 11 and 13. She began to audition for pop bands in
the New York area, her demo tapes eventually landing on the
desk of Jive Records' Jeff Fenster. "Her vocal ability
and commercial appeal caught me right away," he recalls.
Spears was expensively groomed by Jive, who put her in the
studio with Eric Foster White (producer and writer for Boyzone,
Whitney Houston and others). They employed top R&B writer
Max Martin (of Backstreet Boys fame) to produce her debut
single, "... Baby, One More Time', and an album of the
same title. They also set up a promotional free phone number
where fans could listen to Spears' music and interviews throughout
the summer of 1998. She toured American venues for a series
of concerts sponsored by US teen magazines, eventually joining
"N Sync on tour. The careful planning paid off when her
debut album and single went on to top the American charts
at the start of 1999. The album and single enjoyed similar
success in the UK and Europe. The ballad "Sometimes"
and the funky "(You Drive Me) Crazy" were also substantial
transatlantic hits, and "Born To Make You Happy"
topped the UK charts in January 2000. The demand for new Spears
material was satisfied when her sophomore set, Oops! ... I
Did It Again, was released in May. The album contained the
expected quota of well-produced, expertly crafted pop songs,
alongside a risible cover version of "(I Can't Get No)
Spears' self-titled third album was a laboured attempt by
the singer to cultivate a more mature image. Although its
initial sales were not as strong as her previous two albums,
Britney shot straight to the top of the US album chart on
its release in November 2001 for a brief stay. Spears' feature
film debut, Crossroads, was released the following February.
Appearing in talent shows and choirs around her hometown,
Britneys talents were obvious from a young age. She
auditioned for The Disney Channels Mickey Mouse
Club at the age of eight. Too young for the show, but
too talented to dismiss, a Disney producer helped her to get
an agent in New York where she spent the next three summers
studying performing arts. She began to act in TV commercials
and off-Broadway shows. At age 11, with varied and invaluable
entertaining experience already behind her, Britney graduated
to a coveted place in Disneys Mickey Mouse Club.
After a couple of years on the show, Britney went back to
New York to start a music career hoping to follow in the footsteps
of her idols Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
Brought to Jive Records attention, Britney had an opportunity
to sing acappella for record company executives.
Her talent and natural presence were undeniable. She hooked
up with Backstreet Boys producer Max Martin and Whitney
Houston producer Eric Foster White who loved her voice, so
they set about recording some great pop songs, the first of
which was ...Baby One More Time. An album soon
formed under the name of this first song, which subsequently
became the first single. With the high-energy video and infectious
groove, ...Baby One More Time was welcomed by
the World of pop music with open arms. A cover of Rolling
Stone (April Issue 1999) increased the frenzy. Britney
was rocketed from pop-starlet to mega-star. She became a phenomenon
across the World and was in demand from virtually every corner
of the globe. Her 2nd single, Sometimes - a soft
summer ballad - was released in June 1999 and was warmly received
by a rapidly growing fan base.
After a massive summer tour across North America, Britney
returned to the charts with another smash hit, (You
Drive Me) Crazy. The highlight of 1999 for Britney was
performing a poptastic medley at the MTV Europe Music Awards
in Dublin, where she was the undoubted star. She won all four
awards for which she was nominated. The categories were Best
Female Artist, Best Breakthrough Act, Best Pop Act and Best
Song for ...Baby One More Time. Born To Make You
Happy, the fourth single to be taken from Britneys
debut album, was released in January 2000 and shot straight
into the top of charts around the World, securing her status
as a pop phenomenon. In between touring and promotion, Britney
recorded new songs for an eagerly anticipated second album:
I Did It Again was the first single
from an album with the same name. Released in April 2000,
the melodious and upbeat song, accompanied by a stunning music
video directed by Nigel Dick, shot to the top of music charts
around the globe. The album release followed, debuting at
#1 in the U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, France, Germany,
Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and 15 other countries worldwide.
Its reception stamped the title Oops!
Did It Again with uncanny appropriateness - she had
indeed done it again!.
The second single from the album, was Lucky -
a bittersweet tale of loneliness and stardom - containing
the apt lyrical phrase the World is spinning and she
keeps on winning! Britneys Oops!
World Tour was announced on May 12th 2000. Her fans couldnt
wait to see her perform. The shows packed 90 minutes full
of her classic hits, energetic dance routines and magical
costume changes. Fans were left in awe. Stronger - an
attention grabbing slice of classic up-beat pop - and Dont
Let Me Be The Last To Know - a smooth ballad, co-written
by Shania Twain - , followed as the final singles from an
exciting sophomoric record, that showed immense growth as
a performing artist and a tight relationship with a sound
that is undoubtedly Britney! and now?... Britney
has appeared on screen and in print around the globe. Time
Magazine (International Edition), Marie Claire
(UK) Elle (UK and Japan) and Vogue
(Spain) are some of the magazines that have embraced Britneys
charismatic image for their cover stories. MTV, CHANNEL V,
FOX, M6, RTL, along with a countless number of other television
networks and programs around the world, anticipate Britneys
new releases as fans would themselves.
Britney co-headlined at the Rock In Rio Festival in Brazil
in January, 2001, performing to an audience of over 250,000.
Also in January, Britney appeared with Aerosmith and *NSYNC
at Superbowl 35 during the half time show, performing Aerosmiths
classic hit "Walk This Way". Britney presented and
won an award at the 2000 Billboard Music Awards and co-hosted
and performed at the 2001 American Music Awards.
In 2001, the reigning Queen of Teen Pop shows us a fresh
and more mature side. The new songs on her third album, Britney,
reflect the changes in her life and her development from a
teenage girl to a mature, young woman. Working with producers
such as The Neptunes, on the first single Im a
Slave 4 U has allowed her to move on to the next level.
Other producers and songwriters on the album include Max Martin,
Rami, Riprock n Alex G, Dido, Josh Schwartz and
Brian Kierulf of KNS Productions, Rodney Jerkins, Justin Timberlake
and Britney Spears herself.