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Britney Spears

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 young

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) Satisfaction".

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, Britney’s talents were obvious from a young age. She auditioned for The Disney Channel’s ‘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 Disney’s ‘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 ‘a’cappella’ 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 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. In between touring and promotion, Britney recorded new songs for an eagerly anticipated second album: ‘Oops!… 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!… I 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!” 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 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 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.


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