Britney Jean Spears

   

Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is a Grammy Award-winning American pop singer , dancer , actress , author and songwriter.

She is best known for her studio albums, music videos, and songs such as "...Baby One More Time", "Oops!...I Did It Again", "I'm a Slave 4 U" and "Toxic". In the early 2000s, Spears's success as a singer led her way to high-profile advertising deals and endorsements, as well as forays into other forms of media, including film and reality television. Her third and fourth albums, Britney and In the Zone, were released during this era. In 2004 she married back-up dancer and aspiring rap artist Kevin Federline, and the following year she gave birth to their first son, Sean Preston. Their second son, Jayden James, was born in 2006. Spears filed for divorce from Federline on November 7, 2006 citing irreconcilable differences.

Spears has sold over seventy-six million records worldwide according to TIME magazine. Having sold over 31 million albums in the US, Spears ranks as the eighth best-selling female artist in American music history.

Biography

 

Spears was born in McComb , Mississippi , and raised Southern Baptist in Kentwood , Louisiana . Her parents are James Parnell Spears, a building contractor , and Lynne Irene Bridges, a former grade school teacher. Spears's brother, Bryan, is one of her managers, and her sister, Jamie-Lynn , is an actress and singer. Her maternal grandmother, Lillian Portelli, was an English war-bride , who met Spears's maternal grandfather, Barnett O'Field Bridges, in England during World War II, and subsequently moved with him to the US . Her paternal grandparents were June Austin Spears and Emma Jean Forbes.

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 The 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.Spears then returned to the Disney Channel for a spot on The New Mickey Mouse Club and was accepted. She was featured in the 1993–94 seasons from the ages of 11–13. Other performers on the show included Justin Timberlake, and Joshua Chasez whom later became members of the pop group 'N Sync, Keri Russell , fellow pop singer Christina Aguilera , and actor Ryan Gosling. After the show ended, Spears went back home to Kentwood, Louisiana and entered high school at 14 where she had her last bit of normalcy.

Spears briefly joined the all-female pop group Innosense. After she left the group she began her career as a solo musician. After hearing her demo tape, Jive Records signed her to their label and she began touring American venues for a series of concerts sponsored by American teen magazines, before *NSYNC's opening act in their tour.

19982000: Early commercial success

 

Towards the end of 1998, Spears's debut single "...Baby One More Time" hit the airwaves. Accompanied by a music video that featured the pop princess in a Roman Catholic schoolgirl outfit, the song became an international success, earning double platinum sales and going to number one in the UK, and a large number of countries throughout the world. Her first solo single achieved nine million sales worldwide.The debut album of the same title was released in January 1999,...Baby One More Time reached number one in the Billboard 200.The album received mixed reviews; Allmusic.com gave it 4 out of 5 stars while Rolling Stone gave it 2 out of 5 stars and wrote, "While several Cherion-crafted kiddie-funk jams serve up beefy hooks, shameless schlock slowies, like "E-Mail My Heart," are pure spam."The magazine later featured Spears on the April 1999 cover.The photo shoot triggered speculation that the still-seventeen-year-old had had breast implants which she denied. The success of her music coupled with her controversial image had made her one of the year's biggest stars.

Her first album brought her various awards and nominations. 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 2000 Grammy Awards Spears received two nominations, including one for Best New Artist which she lost out to Christina Aguilera, and an other for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "...Baby One More Time."

Following the success of her debut, Spears was ready for her second album. Her sophomore effort, Oops!... I Did It Again, debuted at number one in the U.S., where it sold 1,319,193 units during its first week, at the time breaking the record for biggest first-week sales of an album by any artist.Concerning both musical content and sales, the album was very similar to Spears's debut, although it fared better with critics.The album's lead single, "Oops!... I Did It Again" broke a record for most radio station additions in a single day, and quickly became a U.S. top ten hit and number one single in other countries such as the U.K..Spears kicked off her first world tour, the Oops!... I Did It Again World Tour, in the summer of 2000. 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.She finished the year with two Billboard Music Awards, and received two Grammy nominations for Oops!... I Did It Again in the categories of Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

2001–2003: Career development

Spears's success had made her notable in the music industry as well as popular culture. In early 2001 she caught the attention of Pepsi who gave Spears a multi-million dollar promotional deal which included numerous television commercials, point-of-purchase promotions and Internet ties between Spears and the company.

Spears released her third studio album in November 2001. Britney was the first album on which Spears assumed some creative control co-writing five of the album's tracks. It had a successful debut at number one in the U.S. selling 745,744 units during its first week, and making her the only female artist in SoundScan history to have her first three albums debut at number one.The album faired well with critics such All Music Guide who gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars describing the album's title tracks as being "pivotal moments on Britney Spears' third album, the record where she strives to deepen her persona, making it more adult while still recognizably Britney."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."The singles didn't perform as well; Britney's lead single I'm a Slave 4 U was able to peak at 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 making it the album's biggest hit.To help promote the album, Spears embarked on the Dream Within a Dream Tour in November of 2001. The tour hit a sour note in Mexico City when she was forced to cut her last show short due to bad weather and angering her audience.

With the end of the tour, Spears announced she would take a 6 month break from her career.Earlier that year Spears's four-year relationship with Justin Timberlake ended. Speculation that Spears had been unfaithful began circulating due to Timberlake's 2002 song "Cry Me a River" and its subsequent music video.The song's music video showed an actress playing what could be construed as a Britney look-alike with certain physical features resembling Spears. Timberlake has denied that it was meant to portray Britney.Britney's break seemed to have ended when she returned to the spotlight in August 2003. In a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Spears appeared with Christina Aguilera performing the song "Like a Virgin" and both girls were later joined by Madonna. Spears and Aguilera each locked lips with Madonna in a highly-publicized kiss.The kiss between Britney and Madonna attracted publicity that lasted several months, while Aguilera's kiss with Madonna did not attract as much.

In a September 2003 interview with Tucker Carlson of CNN, on the subject of the 2003 Iraq War, Spears said, "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.The footage of this quote later appeared in Michael Moore's documentary Farenheit 911.

November 2003 saw the release of Spears's fourth studio 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 eight 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 studio albums debut at number one.The album had a mild reception from critis. Stylus Magazine gave the album a D and even blamed her career choices saying, "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."The Guardian praised the albums 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."he album spawned the international number one and U.S. number nine hit single, "Toxic", which won Spears her first Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording.

20012003: Career development

 

Spears's success had made her notable in the music industry as well as popular culture. In early 2001 she caught the attention of Pepsi who gave Spears a multi-million dollar promotional deal which included numerous television commercials, point-of-purchase promotions and Internet ties between Spears and the company.

Spears released her third studio album in November 2001. Britney was the first album on which Spears assumed some creative control co-writing five of the album's tracks. It had a successful debut at number one in the U.S. selling 745,744 units during its first week, and making her the only female artist in SoundScan history to have her first three albums debut at number one.The album faired well with critics such All Music Guide who gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars describing the album's title tracks as being "pivotal moments on Britney Spears' third album, the record where she strives to deepen her persona, making it more adult while still recognizably Britney."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."The singles didn't perform as well; Britney's lead single I'm a Slave 4 U was able to peak at 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 making it the album's biggest hit.To help promote the album, Spears embarked on the Dream Within a Dream Tour in November of 2001. The tour hit a sour note in Mexico City when she was forced to cut her last show short due to bad weather and angering her audience.

With the end of the tour, Spears announced she would take a 6 month break from her career.Earlier that year Spears's four-year relationship with Justin Timberlake ended. Speculation that Spears had been unfaithful began circulating due to Timberlake's 2002 song "Cry Me a River" and its subsequent music video.The song's music video showed an actress playing what could be construed as a Britney look-alike with certain physical features resembling Spears. Timberlake has denied that it was meant to portray Britney.Britney's break seemed to have ended when she returned to the spotlight in August 2003. In a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, Spears appeared with Christina Aguilera performing the song "Like a Virgin" and both girls were later joined by Madonna. Spears and Aguilera each locked lips with Madonna in a highly-publicized kiss.The kiss between Britney and Madonna attracted publicity that lasted several months, while Aguilera's kiss with Madonna did not attract as much.

In a September 2003 interview with Tucker Carlson of CNN, on the subject of the 2003 Iraq War, Spears said, "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.The footage of this quote later appeared in Michael Moore's documentary Farenheit 911.

November 2003 saw the release of Spears's fourth studio 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 eight 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 studio albums debut at number one.The album had a mild reception from critis. Stylus Magazine gave the album a D and even blamed her career choices saying, "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."The Guardian praised the albums 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."he album spawned the international number one and U.S. number nine hit single, "Toxic", which won Spears her first Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording.

20042006: Career hiatus and family

 

Spears married childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander on January 3, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada.The marriage lasted fifty-five hours, ending with an annulment granted on January 5 which 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 other's likes and dislikes, each others' desires to have or not have children, and each other's desires as to State of residency".

Months after the Las Vegas incident, Spears embarked on The Onyx Hotel Tour which was cancelled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single "Outrageous". An MRI showed floating cartilage in her knee.Throughout this time she began a relationship with Kevin Federline and in July 2004, Spears announced her engagement three months after they met. Federline had very recently been in a relationship with actress Shar Jackson, who was at the time pregnant with his second child.These initial stages were chronicled in Spears' first reality show Britney & Kevin: Chaotic, which aired on UPN during spring of 2005.On the night of September 18, 2004, Spears married Federline in a surprise, non-denominational ceremony at a residence in Studio City, California, filing legal papers on October 6, 2004.

After the marriage Spears announced via her website that she would be taking another career break in order to start a family.Her artistic career did remain low profile only releasing her first hits collection, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative. The album debuted at number four on the U.S. charts and featured three new songs, including "My Prerogative".Britney stood by her intent of starting a family; and seven months after her marriage she chose her website to announce her pregnancy writing, "the time has finally come to share our wonderful news that we are expecting our first child together.”Britney gave birth to her first child, son Sean Preston Federline, on September 14, 2005 in Santa Monica, California by a scheduled caesarean section.

A few months after giving birth to Sean, speculation about Spears being pregnant for a second time began to swirl.In May 2006, she announced her second pregnancy with an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.Spears appeared on Dateline NBC the next month to discuss tabloid rumors about an impending divorce, and motherhood. She addressed an incident which occurred in February 2006 when photos revealed her driving with her son unrestrained in her lap,explaining, "I see a bunch of photographers and I’m scared and I want to get out of the situation... They’re coming up on the sides of the car which is a scary situation for me... so I get my baby out of the car and I go home.”The month following the televised interview, Spears posed nude for the August 2006 cover of Harper's Bazaar. In the accompanying interview, Spears stated that she is not ready to retire from performing.

Just two days shy of Sean's first birthday, Spears gave birth to her second son Jayden James Federline on September 12, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.Spears filed for divorce from Federline in early November, citing irreconcilable differences and asking for both physical and legal custody of their two children, with visitation rights for Federline.Laura Wasser has been hired to represent Spears in the case.According to a representative for Federline's lawyer, the divorce filing "caught Kevin totally by surprise."