Britney Spears

Britney Spears

Britney Spears burst onto the scene at the turn of the century with a polished teen-friendly sound that positioned her as the Princess of Pop and despite numerous highly-publicized personal problems continued to dominate the charts well into the 2010s. Born in McComb, Mississippi, Britney Spears became a talent show regular from a young age and after moving with her mother and younger sister to New York, enrolled at the Professional Performing Arts School. Her first taste of national exposure came in 1992 with a powerful performance on "Star Search" (Syndication, 1983-1995) and later that same year she joined a whole host of pre-fame A-listers including future boyfriend Justin Timberlake in the cast of "The Mickey Mouse Club" (The Disney Channel, 1989-1996). Following a brief stint in Lou Perlman's girlband Innosense, Spears landed a solo deal with Jive Records and traveled to Swedish hit factory Cheiron Studios to work on her debut album. Released in 1999, its first single, " Baby One More Time," was nothing short of a phenomenon, topping the charts in no fewer than 18 countries and selling ten million copies, while its striking schoolgirl-themed video immediately established Spears as her generation's biggest MTV-friendly star. Its same-named parent LP, which shifted an astonishing 25 million worldwide to become the highest-selling album by a teenage artist in history, was followed a year later by Oops! ... I Did It Again. Once again sharing a title with its lead single, Spears' sophomore broke the SoundScan record for the biggest first-week solo artist sales on its way to the top spot and later picked up a Best Pop Album nod at the Grammys. Co-produced by urban hitmakers The Neptunes, Spears' 2001 third number one LP, Britney, showcased a more grown-up sound, as did her provocative snake-draped rendition of "I'm a Slave 4 U" at the MTV Video Music Awards, a ceremony that would bookmark several chapters of her eventful career. Spears proved she could be a triple threat when she starred in "Crossroads" (2002), a critic-proof road movie which grossed more than $60 million at the box office. She returned to more familiar territory in 2003, firstly with another memorable MTV VMAs performance alongside her pop predecessor Madonna and her pop rival Christina Aguilera, and secondly with a fourth chart-topping LP, In the Zone. Spears also collaborated with the former on lead track "Me Against the Music" and picked up her first Grammy for its second single "Toxic," but Spears' turbulent private life soon began to take center stage. She started 2004 by marrying lifelong friend Jason Allen Alexander, only to get the wedding annulled less than three days later. And by the end of the year she'd walked down the aisle again, this time with dancer Kevin Federline, a relationship which was documented in reality show "Chaotic" (UPN, 2004-05). Launched with a cover of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative," Spears' first Greatest Hits compilation briefly put the focus back on her music, but the birth of sons Sean and Jayden James and her split with Federline soon diverted the attention. And following a short spell in rehab, a shaven-headed and visibly distressed and umbrella-wielding Spears was famously pictured attacking the paparazzi, leading many to fear she'd suffered a mental breakdown. In-between losing custody of her two children to their father and spending time in a psychiatric facility, Spears returned to the music fold with fifth studio effort, Blackout, and an ill-timed MTV VMAs performance of lead single "Gimme More" which was mocked mercilessly by the press. After being placed under her father's permanent conservatorship, Spears appeared to get her career back on track. She was praised for her guest appearance as receptionist Abby on "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005-2014), reached the top of the Billboard 200 for the fifth time with 2008's Circus and scored only her second chart-topping single in the US with "Womanizer." Taken from Spears' second singles collection, 2009's "3" also took pole position, as did "Hold It Against Me," the lead track from 2011's Femme Fatale, and her guest appearance on a remix of Rihanna's "S&M." Spears added talent show judge to her list of talents when she joined the second season panel of "The X Factor" (Fox, 2011-13), guiding Carly Rose Sonenclar to the runner-up spot, before teaming up with for hit single "Scream and Shout" and much of her highly personal seventh LP, Britney Jean, and kicking off her Las Vegas residency, "Britney: Piece of Me." During her four-year run at the Hollywood Bowl & Casino, Spears also enjoyed a US Top 30 hit with Iggy Azalea, guested as herself on "Jane the Virgin" (The CW, 2014-19) and released her 2016 ninth album, Glory. Spears then took the same show out on a world tour before embarking on a second Vegas residency, "Britney: Domination," at Park MGM's Park Theatre in 2019.


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