Britney Spears - princess of pop
BRITNEY SPEARS - PRINCESS OF POP.
"I know not everyone will like me, but this is who I am so if you don't
like it, tough!"
Unless you are living under a rock, you know who Britney Spears is.
She's the most famous 19 year old in the music industry. She has outsold
and broken records set by artists years before she was even born. Her first
record "Baby… One More Time" made her the youngest artist in Soundscan
history to have a certified RIAA 12 times platinum record.
Every few days a potential star is launched onto an increasingly cynical
music buying public. Manufactured groups and singers come and go with
fashion, and few manage any sort of real, lasting success. Not so Britney
Britney's singing, dancing and natural stunning good looks made her the
girl that every other girl wanted to be, and the girl that every boy wanted
to be with.
Her records have sold and continue to sell millions of copies all over the
globe, her singles are on high rotation being played constantly at radio
everywhere, and her merchandising sales are going through the roof - there
is nothing you can't buy without her face on it! Dolls, t-shirts,
lunchboxes, pens, mugs and caps to name but a few. She is a phenomenon in
all senses of the word, and a marketer's dream. She is the face of pop
Britney Jean Spears was born on the 2nd of December 1981, in Kentwood,
Louisiana, U.S.A. Britney Spears began her career as soon as she could walk
and talk. She has always loved singing, dancing, acting and performing. She
started out taking ballet and basic tumbling classes. Very soon after, she
was enrolled in a gymnastics class where she excelled in floor exercises
and the uneven bars. Britney went on to compete at state level competitions
and won several titles. She kept up with gymnastics until she was nine
As a young girl growing up, she always knew she wanted to pursue a
musical career and took her talents to her local church, where she
performed "What Child Is This," and even on national television, with her
appearance as a Star Search contestant.
At the age of 8, Britney auditioned for the popular children's variety
show, Mickey Mouse Club, but was refused because of her young age. Luckily
for Britney, one of the show's producers saw the young singer's talent, and
helped her find an agent in New York City.
Britney spent the next three summers in New York, where she studied at
the famous Off-Broadway Dance Center and at the Professional Performing
Arts School. To add to the formation of a future international star,
Britney appeared in commercials and Off-Broadway shows, one of which
showcased Britney as an innocent 10-year-old who is really an evil bad
girl. " I was playing this really bad child who seems real sweet but she's
evil too. It was so much fun," she recalls.
Three years after her first Mickey Mouse Club rejection, Britney finally
landed a spot as a "Mouseketeer" at the age of 11. Britney was already a
seasoned performer in TV commercials, theatre and film. She also got her
big break, finally making it onto the Mickey Mouse Show on which she
starred for two years.
Joining a cast of talented teens on the show, Britney showed off her
acting, dancing and singing talents on the show that also spawned the
careers of fellow beauties Keri Russell and Christina Aguilera. After 2
years of living in Orlando with her family while doing the show, Britney
moved back home to Kentwood after the show was cancelled, and returned to
high school. Britney went back home with dreams over even more success.
Her one normal year as a fourteen-year-old high school student would be
the last bit of normalcy in Britney's life.
"It was fun for awhile but I started getting itchy to get out again and
see the world," she says.
She began to audition for record companies, singing live and
unaccompanied to groups of executives. With a dream of pursuing a career as
a singer and a desire to leave her small hometown, Britney set off to New
York City yet again, this time destined to sign with a major record label.
Now a seasoned performer at age 15, an audition for an all girl vocal
group led to her developing a solo career as a pop singer as well as
continuing her high school studies with tutors. "I need a lot of help in
geometry and Spanish!" she admits.
The lucky company who decided that young Britney had what was needed for
stardom was Jive Records.
Britney finally signed with Jive Records, after an executive was fully
impressed with the talent he heard on the demo tape.
Working with Eric Foster White, a producer who had previously worked with
artists such as Boyzone and Whitney Houston, Britney's debut album was
finally ready for its January 12, 1999 release date. Not long after, "Baby
.." was released and the rest - as they say - is history.
Britney took America by storm back with her debut single ‘…Baby One More
Time’, which smashed into the American Billboard charts at #1. Her debut
album of the same title was released only a few weeks later also debuting
at #1, making her the first ever female artist to have a simultaneous
Billboard #1 single and album with a debut release. The impact was mirrored
on charts throughout the world. Britney Spears had arrived on the music
scene in a very big way.
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.
The album was certified RIAA 12 x platinum (it has gone on to sell more
than 20 million copies).
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’.
After a massive summer tour across North America, Britney returned to the
charts with another smash hit, ‘(You Drive Me) Crazy’.
Born To Make You Happy’, the fourth single to be taken from Britney’s
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.
Between recording her second album, Britney went on an extensive
From the sweet melody of "From the Bottom of My Broken Heart," to the
driving funk of "Baby One More Time," to the funky reggae beats of "Soda
Pop," to her soulful take on the Jets hit "You've Got It All," Britney's
lively, assured vocal style is intoxicating. "I want to an artist that
everyone can relate to, that's young, happy and fun," she says.
Despite a refreshingly adolescent attitude, Britney's life has hardly
been traditional. "I've done the prom thing, but it's only once a year,"
she notes about her unconventional teenage lifestyle. "I need to sing and I
love to travel."
A huge Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Madonna fan, Britney has been
scrutinized by the media with reports of a breast augmentation, and a love
affair with England's most eligible bachelor, Prince William.
After the success of her first album, it wouldn't have suprised many
onlookers if she'd disappeared, replaced by the next big thing in Girl-
Pop. But she didn't! Britney came back with a second album, that had the
same kind of infectious pop songs as the first, but now with a more
sophisticated, sassy sound.
With the Britney Spears hype nowhere near over, she returned to the music
scene in 2000 with her follow-up album, entitled Oops!... I Did It Again.
With a hit video accompanying the hit title track (in which Ms. Spears has
definitely done it again, this time in a red leather catsuit), a second
worldwide tour in support of her album, and millions of fans, Britney has
definitely accomplished what few artists ever accomplish, at the mere age
The album debuting at #1 in the U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Korea, Taiwan,
France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and 15 other countries
The title track and first single was "Oops! I Did It Again". As Britney
said herself - "I'm not really doing anything different this time around
but I am really growing up, as a person and that just all flows with the
overall sound and feel of this record. There’s no master plan! I’m just
gonna be me and hope it all works out!"
It certainly did work out! Britney, armed with more maturity had produced
an album that strengthened her position as the most successful (and most
iconic) singer since the emergence of Madonna. The title track, which deals
with romantic mis-intentions, was written and produced by longtime
collaborators Max Martin and Rami and has already broken the record for
first week adds at CHR/Pop radio with 155 adds.
"It’s an incredible song!" Britney declares, I think it’s even better than
"Baby One More Time!" Also incredible is the video whose
futuristic/Barbarella concept was Britney's idea.
In regard to the emotional depth of the album, Britney asserts, “ I don’t
want to just be some singer who sings a song just to sing it. When you
sing a song with feeling and do your all, you connect, and that’s crucial
to me. Especially since I think that the songs on this album are ten times
better than on my first album, so I really want my fans to feel and hear
how much these songs mean to me.”
Along with her rigorous schedule and the release of her successful 2X
Platinum home video “Time Out with Britney Spears” in late 1999, Britney
and her mother have written a book entitled Heart To Heart. As if that
weren’t enough, Britney has also created the Britney Spears Foundation
in conjunction with the Giving Back Fund. Its first endowment is the
formation of a performing arts summer camp for underprivileged kids in
Massachusetts. "I’m so happy to be able to give kids the opportunity to
learn about amazing world of dance and music that I’ve have been lucky
enough to make such a big part of my own life."
The 8 times platinum Oops!... I Did It Again spawned number 1 singles
like "Lucky," "Stronger" (in which she performs a lap dance to a chair),
and "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know." One listen to "Oops!.. I Did It
Again" and Britney will make a believer out of you - one more time.
The most noticeable aspect of the single, the video and the album is
maturity, which is just what Britney had in mind.
Britney - "People have to remember that when I did my first album I was
only 16. I had never been in the studio, it was all new to me and so before
I let people help me out and honestly I think that was because I was just
so new to the music industry, not only because I was young. But making
records and being part of the process and becoming more in charge of my
sound was something I had to experience and grow with and on this album
I’ve had the chance to do that. This album is closer to who I am. It’s
That funkier spirit is loud and clear on up-tempo rump shakers like
"Stronger" and "Don't Go Knockin’ On My Door" which find Britney in a
frisky and fierce state of mind. But as she proved on her debut, Britney
can deliver ballads with as much intensity as her more high energy cuts.
On the aching "When Your Eyes Say It" (written by Diane Warren and
produced by Steve Lunt and Robert Jazayeri) and the thoughtful "Don't
Let Me Be The Last To Know" (penned by Shania Twain and Robert Mutt
Lange and produced by Lange), Britney shows her depth. "I don’t want
to just be some singer who sings a song just to sing it," Britney offers
speaking to the emotional range of the album. "When you sing a song
with feeling and do your all you connect and that’s crucial to me.
Especially since I think that the songs on this album are ten times better
than on my first album, so I really want my fans to feel and hear how
much these songs mean to me."
In keeping with that need to communicate is "Dear Diary", co written by
Britney. Britney began writing melodies and songs while on the road and
she has plans to learn guitar (she is proficient on the piano) in hopes of
writing more songs in the future. "I think I’ve always had these songs
that I've been writing in my head," Britney explains. "Now I feel ready to
let people start to hear them."
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!” Britney’s ‘Oops!…’ World Tour was
announced on May 12th 2000. Her fans couldn’t 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 ‘Don’t 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
Britney’s 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 Britney’s new releases as fans would
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 Aerosmith’s 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 ‘I’m 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.
2001 was a banner year for the pop star, as she co-hosted the American
Music Awards with L.L. Cool J.; performed with Aerosmith, *N Sync, Nelly,
and Mary J. Blige at the Super Bowl; appeared on a spoken-word CD of the
Pope's prayers; and signed a multimillion-dollar endorsement with Pepsi.
While she dances with factory workers in a warehouse, impressing even
Viagra-enhanced Bob Dole and his dog, Christina Aguilera stars in a Coca-
Cola commercial, fueling more than just a pop war.
Britney and her legions of teenage fans aren't her only admirers: it
turns out her role-model, Madonna, has said that she's a big fan of
Britney, and a duet with the new Princess of Pop is in the works. Britney
also appeared in a one-hour BBC documentary on the Material Girl.
As if CDs, sold-out concerts, books (her second co-written book with her
mother was released in April 2001, entitled A Mother's Gift), and a huge
endorsement aren't enough, Britney is now working on an acting career and
tinkering with the idea of a fashion line.
But for now, being the youngest female to achieve 10-times platinum
status and to notch a number 1 album and single in the US with debut
recordings, ain't all that bad.
Today Britney even says "I never knew I would be this famous" She is
still going srong and even stars in the new movie "Crossroads".
Transcending her tumultuous teen character in "Crossroads," a self-assured
Britney Spears will live life in the fast lane for her next movie.
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.
Britney Spears is a cultural phenomenon. Though there have been pop music
princesses before, none have had the impact, success and influence of
Britney Spears (though the Spice Girls gave it a good shot before imploding
Britney has become an icon to millions of fans worldwide and her
infectious brand of pop/R&B has become the template for girl pop.
She has spawned a new era in music in which the audience in control of
record companies' multi-million dollar profits are teenage girls. Britney
has also drawn a host of imitators into pop music that include: Christina
Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore.
Britney is here to stay and getting bigger and better all the time. All
we can say is watch this space!!