Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Britney Spears


Britney Spears was born in Kentwood, Louisiana, U.S.A. on December 2nd 1981. "Even as a little baby, Britney was a real darling…she was always being noticed." Says Lynne Spears, Britney's Mom. Lynne has even said that Britney was dancing around at the early age of two. In fact, Britney's parents believed in her abilities so much that Lynne would drive two hours everyday just so Britney could attend gymnastics classes. Although gymnastics was a fun pastime for Britney--the uneven bars and floor exercise were her favorites--she found that she wasn't nearly as strong as the other girls and although she practiced over three hours a day, the moves didn't come near as easy to her. Giving up on gymnastics was a total loss, however, as Britney soon found out that it had developed her skills as a dancer. Changing her goals, the future queen of pop performed at her first talent show at the early age of six. By the time she was nine, she was already traveling around to different dance competitions performing in the jazz lyrical dancing category. Gymnastics and dancing at an early age wasn't the only preparation she did for her future career--Lynne has said that Britney could be found singing all the time. The song "What Child is This" was her first key to stardom--she sang it at her kindergarten graduation. It wasn't until later that Lynne realized that Britney could have a future in singing, when Britney was bouncing around on the trampoline. On top of Britney's singing and dancing as a young child, she also competed in beauty pageants. At five she won first place in the Kentwood Dairy Festival; at seven, she was awarded silver first-prize for Miss Talent USA. And that's not all--the Spears' home is filled with other trophies Britney has collected over the years.
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'.
Her first real lead was in a comedy called Ruthless. In 1992, Britney left Ruthless and landed a spot on Star Search. She won the first round, but was beaten by another contestant in the second. This setback didn't deter Miss Spears, who knew in her heart that she was destined for greater things. Finally, Britney returned to audition for the MMC again; except this time she was offered a job! Along with Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Christina Aguilera, and Kari Russell, Britney rapped, sang, and danced through over 110 skits on the show. After two years, in 1994, MMC was canceled, leaving Britney to wonder what was next.
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. She started out by recording several songs on a homemade demo and then returned to the person who had helped her out before: Entertainment Lawyer Larry Rudolph. Rudolph immediately set Britney up with Jive Records. After listening to her tape, Jeff Fenster, senior vice president of artists and recording for Jive Records, said, "she was intriguing, so we had her come in and audition for us in person." What did she audition to? "Jesus Loves Me" and "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston. After her performance, everyone in the room was amazed and Britney was immediately offered a recording contract.
Shortly after, Jive went to work on Britney's first album. The eleven tracks on her freshmen album were recorded all over the world: from Sweden at Max Martin's studio to New Jersey, where she worked with Eric Foster White. After the production on her CD was finished, Jive set forth on promoting their newest artist. Months before her album came out Britney's name was on teenager's lips everywhere. She even embarked on a mini-tour throughout malls in the US to promote her yet-to-be released CD. Britney then landed the coveted spot as *N Sync's opening act on their 1998 tour. But, that was only the edge of the iceberg for Britney.
In late December 1998, Jive Records released Britney's first single "…Baby One More Time" and by January, it was a number-one hit. Britney's album debuted at number one shortly thereafter, paving the road for one of the world's biggest stars. Unfortunately, in February 1999, Britney's luck took a turn for the worst. While filming the video for her second single, "Sometimes," Britney tore cartilage in her left knee and was forced take a brief break to have surgery. After she was done recuperating, Jive immediately set her up with her own headlining tour sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger. 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?…
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."
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.
In early 2001, Britney sparked her career as an actress, when she began filming Crossroads, a movie which she had a hand in creating. To help promote the movie, Britney began work on a third album, aptly named "Britney".
The first single, "I'm A Slave 4 U" was debuted by a racy performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards that still has people talking, more than a year after the performance ended. The album, released November 6, 2001, debuted at #1, making Britney the first artist to have her first three albums debut at #1. The album sold more than 800, 000 copies within its first week. A feat that doesn't quite match her previous attempt, but in comparison to any other female artist, is still an amazing accomplishment. She snatched up the spot for the second fastest selling album by a female artist. (The feat which would later be topped by Shania Twain's comeback album "Up!") Fortunately, Britney still holds the #1 spot.
"Crossroads" was released to theaters in February 2002, bringing in $17, 000 opening week. Not bad for a movie in which the lead character is starring in her first film. In June 2002, Britney opened a restaurant called Nyla (named after her two favourite places in the world: New York and Louisiana). Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't do so well, and in November 2002, Britney pulled out of the restaurant.
In late 2002, she went on a 6-month hiatus from the spotlight to lay low. In early December, the hiatus was called off, and she ventured back into the studio to begin work on her fourth album, later to be titled 'In The Zone'. With this album, she worked with a handful of famous producers, writers and even hooked up with a few people to costar on the album. Producers include Moby, R Kelly, P Diddy and more. She co-wrote 7 of the project's 12 sterling new compositions, collaborating with such heavy hitters as Red Zone ("Me Against The Music," "The Hook Up"), The Matrix ("Shadow"), Moby ("Early Mornin'"), and Cathy Dennis ("Toxic," "Showdown"). Also contributing hit worthy material to the album is R. Kelly ("Outrageous"), Ying-Yang Twins on "(I Got That) Boom Boom."
The musical union of Britney and Madonna within the taut, classic-funk groove of "Me Against The Music" is quite real, though, and it reveals each of them at their most kinetic and soulful. Collaborating with one of her all-time greatest musical influences was a dream come true for Britney. The song's accompanying video clip, directed by Paul Hunter, shows Madonna enticing Britney through a maze-like underground club, only to disappear into thin air when Britney gets close enough to touch her. The clip is rife with symbolic gestures of Madonna passing the baton pop power to Britney --- an image that the young artist finds exciting, humbling, and perhaps a bit premature.
Britney has never had a problem staying in the spotlight with everything that surrounds her. Her career has been built out of controversy and people keep coming back begging for more. In the beginning of her career the hottest talk in Hollywood was that Ms. Spears got breast implants in hopes to boost her image. No sooner did that talk die down before new rumors that she was dating teen heartthrob Justin Timberlake came out. These happened to be true, and Justin and Britney emerged as one of the hottest new couples on the scene. In March 2002, their four-year romance ceased due to various speculated reasons. Justin's "Cry Me a River" video seems to be the only clues as to why their relationship ended, essentially accusing Britney (through a look alike model) of cheating. Britney, however, has chosen to remain discreet about her love life. She did admit that her girl-next-door image wasn't entirely true: after years of speculation, she revealed that she wasn't a virgin. On! top of that, she smoked and drank alcohol. The media had a hay day coupling Britney with every single man in Hollywood, of which Britney can only laugh. Now, Britney has added further controversy to her career by kissing Madonna during their performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, a move that apparent Ms. Spears suggested herself.
In January 2004 she embarked on a bizarre week-long bender in Las Vegas culminating in a 'quickie' Vegas chapel style marriage to school sweetheart Jason Alexander. When the hangover had finally lifted the couple divorced two days later with Britney telling the newspapers: "I wanted to get married, then I ran away". In January 2004 Britney visited London briefly to publicize her new Pepsi TV commercial filmed with Beyonce Knowles and Pink. Amazingly, she managed not to marry anyone. But on September 18, 2004, Ms. Spears became Mrs. Federline when she married her former backup dancer, Kevin Federline. It was the first marriage for Federline, who previously fathered two children with Moesha star Shar Jackson. The two lovebirds honeymooned in various places including Fiji!

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