Born on December 2, 1981, Britney Jean Spears was destined for stardom. “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.
The Mickey Mouse Club was Britney’s first real taste of success, but initially she wasn’t allowed on the show because of her age. The producer of the show knew talent when he saw it, though, and set Britney up with an agent in New York. Britney spent three summers at the Professional Performing Arts School Center and appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions. 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.
Britney tried the “normal” kid thing for awhile, but by age fifteen she couldn’t stand being out of the spotlight anymore. 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.
From then on, Britney’s career has been a roller coaster ride. She has had two more albums released, “Oops!… I Did It Again” and “Britney” and achieved major commercial success through both. So far, she’s had 11 Number One Hits and promises more with her much-anticipated fourth album due out sometime in November 2003. Britney also starred in a teen movie called “Crossroads” and is planning on furthering her acting career by appearing in another feature film about the life of Nascar Drivers. She’s been the spokesperson for Pepsi and is now taking on the NFL.
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.
Whether it be singing at a kindergarten graduation or performing at the Grammy’s, Britney has wowed crowds for years. Having been crowned as the “Princess of Pop,” it seems that Britney’s career has no bounds and can go wherever she chooses for it. All we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.