Britney Jean Spears
Birthplace: Kentwood, Louisiana, USA
Just who is this teeny bopper making all the headlines. Well, at the beginning of Britney's music career you might have been able to call her a 'teeny bopper' but the title just doesn't fit now.
Britney Jean Spears was born December 2, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi but calls Kentwood, Louisiana, USA her home. Britney began performing as a singer and dancer at a young age. In 1992, she made a nationally televised appearance on Star Search winning the first round but sadly missing out on the second. Poor Britney. She didn't let this get her down - she auditioned for the Disney Channel's New Mickey Mouse Club at age eight. At such a tender age, the producers felt she was way too young and turned her down. All was not lost - one of the producers saw her potential and introduced her to an agent in New York.
Britney spent the next three years studying at the Professional Performing Arts School, a New York City public school "created in 1990 to meet the needs of two groups of students: those who wanted to pursue professional work in the arts as they earned a junior/senior high school diploma and those who wanted to study the arts as an avocation. Since Britney had her heart set on being a star, she easily fell into this category and so enrolled and off she went! She also appeared in several television commercials and off-Broadway plays, including 1991's Ruthless! as well.
When Britney was 11, she decided to give The New Mickey Mouse Club another go and so came back for a second audition. Seeing that Britney had matured and was ready, she made the grade joining fellow 'Mouseketeers' such as Justin Timberlake (of whom she would later become very close to for a time), JC Chasez, Christina Aguilera, and Felicity actress Keri Russell. Misfortune once again would dim Britney's career when the show was cancelled during her second season! After this slight hiccup, it was back to the books and high school.
On Britney's 15th birthday she went back to the big apple and started recording demo tapes and auditioning for pop bands. An executive for Jive Records heard one of her demos and was totally blown away - they promptly signed her up and in late 1998, she released her very first single, "Hit Me Baby One More Time", talk about a success!
Hit Me Baby shot up the charts like a lightning bolt. The fans loved it - young and old. Some of it's immediate success could have been due to the fact she also made her first music video. She knocked their socks off. As is always the case, there were some bad reviews for the way she dressed in the video, portraying a high school teenager, complete with (slightly altered) uniform. What can I say - people have to have something to talk about and rumours circle whether they're true or not.
Not long after the release of her single, in 1999 she also let loose on the public her debut album. You guessed it, also titled "Hit Me Baby One More Time". Again rumours started to circulate that the title of the song suggested some form of abuse (possibly aimed at Britney by a boyfriend etc.) but I don't think that was the case.
"Hit Me Baby" the album, entered the charts at #1 and stayed there for six whole weeks! The album sold 4,000,000 copies. Guess whatever it was she was doing must have been right? Once the success of the single started to fade, "Hit Me Baby", the album kept right on pumping out hit after hit. "(You Drive Me) Crazy, which was track no. 2, made the top 10 and stayed there for 2 consecutive weeks. Also from the same album was spun another two top ten positions, 'Sometimes' and 'From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart'. By the end of 1999, the album 'Baby One More Time' had sold ten million copies, and went on to sell a good three million more on top of that. In less than a year of its release, it earned the name 'best-selling LP by a teenager in history'.
Also in 1999 Britney started featuring as the opening act for the new pop group NSync.
Despite what some may think, Disney was not Britney's first 'job'. Her first job was shelling crawfish in her great-grandmother's deli (Granny's Seafood Deli, which she and her husband Arlie ran for 12 years) in south Louisiana. Mrs. Pierce died on Dec. 12, 2001 at the age of 86. Britney is pictured here in the kitchen of Granny's Seafood Deli.
Sadly on 10th of December, that same year, Britney also suffered the loss of her grandmother (Ruth Ritchie Ott Varnado Spears). Ruth passed away at North Oaks Medical Center after loosing a long battle with cancer. I'm sure this could not have been easy on Britney, or anyone for that fact.