Friday, February 24, 2012

Britney Spears

Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album ...Baby One More Time in 1999. During her first decade in the music industry, she became a prominent figure in mainstream popular music and popular culture, followed by a much-publicized personal life. Her first two albums established her as a pop icon and broke sales records, while title tracks "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" became international number-one hits. Spears was credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s.

In 2001, she released her third studio album Britney and expanded her brand, playing the starring role in the film Crossroads. She assumed creative control of her fourth studio album, In the Zone (2003), which yielded chart-topping singles "Me Against the Music", "Toxic" and "Everytime". After the release of two compilation albums, Spears experienced personal struggles and her career went into hiatus. Her fifth studio album, Blackout, was released in 2007 and despite receiving little promotion, it spawned hits "Gimme More" and "Piece of Me". In 2008, her erratic behavior and hospitalizations caused her to be placed in a conservatorship. The same year, her sixth studio album Circus was released, with the global chart-topping lead single "Womanizer", it also included hits such as "Circus", and "If U Seek Amy". She embarked on her highest-grossing global concert tour, The Circus Starring Britney Spears, in 2009. That same year she released a chart-topping single, "3" in October 2009, this gave Spears her third single that reached number one on the "Billboard Hot 100". Her seventh studio album Femme Fatale, released in 2011, has become the first of her albums to yield three top ten singles in the United States, including her fourth US number one single, "Hold It Against Me".

Spears has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the eighth top-selling female artist in the United States, with 33 million certified albums. Spears is also recognized as the best-selling female artist of the first decade of the 21st century, as well as the fifth overall. She was ranked the 8th Artist of the 2000s by Billboard.

Early Life
Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2, 1981, the second child of Lynne Irene (née Bridges) and James Parnell Spears. She is of English heritage through her maternal grandmother, Lillian Portelli who was born in London, and of distant Maltese and Sicilian (Sicani) descent.Her siblings are Bryan James and Jamie Lynn. At age three, she started to attend dance lessons in her hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana, and was selected to perform as a solo artist at the annual recital. During her childhood, she also attended gymnastics and voice lessons, and won many state-level competitions and children's talent shows. Spears made her local stage debut at age five, singing "What Child Is This?" at her kindergarten graduation. She said about her ambition as a child, "I was in my own world, [...] I found out what I'm supposed to do at an early age". At age eight, Spears and her mother Lynne traveled to Atlanta for an audition in the 1990s revival of The Mickey Mouse Club. Casting director Matt Casella rejected her for being too young to join the series at the time, but introduced her to Nancy Carson, a New York City talent agent. Carson was impressed with Spears's vocals and suggested enrolling her at the Professional Performing Arts School; shortly after, Lynne and her daughters moved to a sublet apartment in New York. Spears was hired for her first professional role as the understudy for the lead role of Tina Denmark in the Off-Broadway musical Ruthless!. She also appeared as a contestant on the popular television show Star Search, as well as being cast in a number of commercials. In December 1992, she was finally cast in The Mickey Mouse Club, but returned to Kentwood after the show was canceled. She enrolled at Parklane Academy in nearby McComb, Mississippi. Although she made friends with most of her classmates, she compared the school to "the opening scene in Clueless with all the cliques. [...] I was so bored. I was the point guard on the basketball team. I had my boyfriend, and I went to homecoming and Christmas formal. But I wanted more."

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