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Britney Spears
She’s a cultural phenomenon. Girls strive to be like her and from New York to Mumbai; London to Tokyo; her posters, books, CD’s and fashion styles can be seen in almost all teenage bedrooms. Though there may have been countless pop music princesses before, none have had the impact, success and influence of…Britney Spears. Since she debuted as a pigtailed 16 year old in 1998, her record sales are already high enough to enter her in the Music Hall of Fame. For she’s sold millions and millions of records worldwide, and her most recent album stills hold the record for most sales during a first week of release by a female artist at 1.3 million copies. Plus, a host of Britney imitators in the today’s pop music have already begun to show up: from Christina Aguilera to Jessica Simpson to Mandy Moore…and that’s just for starters. She’s even sold more records in four years than any female singer has in the last decade. And with each new album, her celebrity stature continues to climb. Could it get any better than this?

It does…. for now; she’s re-tooled herself from that innocent looking girl, into a sexy vixen. Her image drips with sexual connotations, flirting with us, mocking us, teasing us, and leaving us wanting more. What started her rise to the stratosphere of becoming this sex goddess was her video for Baby… One More Time, in which Britney was dressed in a little private school outfit, with pigtails and knee socks. And she even performed a lap dance to a chair in her Stronger video. And it takes a special kind of sexiness to make any man jealous of furniture, as it did to us. As for her personality, she is far removed from the virginal, squeaky-clean image she projects. Reports are everywhere of her smoking, partying, alcohol drinking, and general rowdiness. But it doesn’t matter to us. She'll sell just as many records whether she’s a good girl or not.

That being said, we genuinely like Britney Spears. Don't misconstrue a critique for loathing. She's sexy, young, energetic and a whole lot nicer to look at than Madonna. (Or any boy band for that matter) Though image is a huge part of her success, she does have catchy songs and even Madonna counts herself as a fan. (For she shared a kiss with her on stage and even recorded a duet with her for the new album) Infact, in the last four years she's sold more records than Madonna has in the last ten, nearly 50 million all-told, and she's only 22. Born Britney Jean Spears on Dec. 2, 1981, in Kentwood, a small town in Louisiana, USA - as young girl growing up, she always knew she wanted to pursue a musical career and took her talents to her local church, where she performed What Child Is This, and even on national television, with her appearance as a Star Search contestant.

At the age of 8, Britney auditioned for the popular children's variety show, Mickey Mouse Club, but was refused because of her young age. Luckily for Britney, one of the show's producers saw the young singer's talent, and helped her find an agent in New York City. Britney spent the next three summers in New York, where she studied at the famous Off-Broadway Dance Center and at the Professional Performing Arts School. To add to the formation of a future international star, Britney appeared in commercials and Off-Broadway shows, one of which showcased Britney as an innocent 10-year-old who is really an evil bad girl. Three years after her first Mickey Mouse Club rejection, Britney finally landed a spot as a Mouseketeer at the age of 11. Joining a cast of talented teens, her years with MMC would turn out to be fortuitous for Britney; for among the cast members of the children's show was her now pop music rival Christina Aguilera, 12-year-old Justin Timberlake (her future boyfriend to be) and Joshua "JC" Chasez, who would go on to become two-fifths of the teen pinup band 'N Sync. On the show, Britney showed off her acting, dancing and singing talents and she was one of the most popular members of the cast. After 2 years of living in Orlando with her family while doing the show, Britney moved back home to Kentwood after the show was cancelled, and returned to high school.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Britney Spears in the January 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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