Who doesn’t know the Princess of Pop? Britney Spears has had redefined the attitudes regarding pop culture and pop music. One of the first teen stars to take the last decade of the 20th century by storm, she has influenced music, culture and lifestyle of people time and again. It is only fitting to analyze her contributions on the eve of her birthday.
Britney Jean Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi, USA on December 2, 1981. She started to attend dancing lessons, gymnastics and voice-lessons at the age of three, and was selected to perform as a solo artist at the annual recital. She also won many state-level competitions and children’s talent shows. Made her local stage debut at the age of five, she seemed pretty sure about her ambitions.
At eight, Spears and her mother traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for an audition of the 1990s revival of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She was rejected as “she was too young to join the series”, but she was later introduced to Nancy Carson, a New York City talent agent. Carson was impressed with Spears’s vocals and suggested her enrollment at the Professional Performing Arts School. Spears and her family moved to New York, where she was hired for her first professional role in the Off-Broadway musical “Ruthless!”. She also appeared on the TV show Star Search as a contestant and appeared in many commercials. She finally was cast in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse alongside future stars such as Christiana Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Ken Russell.
1) First album “…Baby One More Time” was released on January 12, 1999. To promote her album, she went on a shopping mall promotional tour. Her first album made a debut at #1 on the US Billboard 200. It became the biggest selling album by a teenage artist, and the eponymous title track was released as the lead single. The song was eventually nominated for a Grammy under the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category.
2) Second album: “Oops!…I Did It Again!”, was released in May, 2000. It debuted in the US at #1, selling 1.3 million copies and breaking the record for highest debut sales for any solo artist. The lead single, “Oops!… I Did It Again” hit the top of the charts and again received Grammy nominations for the Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
3) Third album: She released a self-titled album “Britney” in November, 2001. The album debuted at #1 at the Billboard 200 and sold 12 million copies worldwide. The album was honoured with two Grammy nominations- Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the song “Overprotected”.
4) Fourth album: November, 2003 witnessed the release of Spears’ 4th album titled “In the Zone”. She assumed more creative control by writing and co-producing most of her material.
1) Blackout (2007)
2) Circus (2008)
3) Femme Fatale (2011)
4) Britney Jean (2013)
But as is the rule of the world, what goes up has to come down, and Spears has been no exception!
1) Her performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards was harshly criticized by animal rights groups, as it featured a caged tiger and a large albino python wrapped around her.
2) In January, 2004, Spears married her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander. The marriage was annulled just 55 hours later. A petition was filed in court that stated that Spears “lacked the understanding of her actions”. She got engaged to Kevin Federline in July 2004 and got divorced in July 2007.
3) In February, 2006, pictures began to emerge of Spears driving her car with her son Sean, on her lap instead of a car seat. Child advocates were very horrified by the photos which showed that Spears was holding the steering wheel with one hand and holding her son with the other. She later admitted that it was a mistake on her part.
4) She had also issues related to drug abuse and was addicted to amphetamines. She was hospitalized and sent to rehabilitation as well.
Regardless of the controversies she generated in her career, Britney Spears has made a deep impact on the pop musical scene since her debut in 1999. She has been cited as a major inspiration by contemporary artists such as Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Mariana and the Diamonds, Selena Gomez and The Saturdays. Following her debut, she has been given credit for the revival and popularisation of teen pop.
With her ninth studio album being recorded, fans and critics alike would be hoping for Spears to be phenomenal as she was with the last eight albums. Despite her controversies and personal struggles, she has been sensational both as a musician and as an icon for pop culture. After all, she is the first Princess Of Pop and we all hope that she hits the baby one more time!