Britney Spears has enjoyed over 20 years in the media spotlight, 6 number 1 albums and a further 23 Number 1 Singles. As she releases her ninth studio album ‘Glory’ to mixed reviews is it finally time for the ‘Toxic’ songstress to hang up her feather boa (or should that be boa constrictor?) Critics have panned the star for miming at her recent UK gig and although she has secured a further 2 year contract for her Las Vegas show is Britney coming to the end of her pop career path?
Britney burst onto the music scene in 1999 with hit single and album of the same name ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ which proceeded to sell over 10 million copies – earning her the accolade of the best-selling teenage solo artist ever. Her stock continued to rise throughout the early 2000’s with album after album notching top spots and her raunchy, gregarious dance routines and costumes capturing the hearts of fans worldwide. She was an overnight teen sensation basking in the fame and fortune that comes with it. But inside Britney was secretly tortured.
Managed by her parents (who went through a bitter divorce) from a young age Britney never had the chance to grow up like a normal girl. She was thrust into auditions, performing at theatres before joining the Mickey Mouse Club at the age of 11 and by the time of her solo success she was only 18.
By 2006 Britney was showing signs of deep personal struggles. A young mother with a marriage on the rocks due to a tumultuous relationship with backing dancer husband Kevin Federline, Britney was pictured driving a car with her 6-month-old son Sean Preston on her lap not a baby seat. In September she gave birth to a second son Jayden James and by November of 2006 she had filed for divorce from Kevin citing “irreconcilable differences.”
However, 2006 wasn’t her annus horribilis. The worse year for teen sensation Britney came in 2007 when she suffered a very public meltdown which included her shaving her head, attacking paparazzi and stints in rehab which culminated in her collapsing and being hospitalised. The pictures of her strapped to a hospital gurney clearly show the singer is comatosed on drugs. It was shortly after this time that she lost joint custody of her young boys to Federline – and only given supervised visiting rights.
With her personal and professional career in tatters, Britney reluctantly went on stage at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards and was lambasted for miming and being too overweight for the performance – aired to millions worldwide.
She decided to take a break from the record industry and luckily came back with a bang in December 2008 with album ‘Circus’. The album was one of the fastest-selling of the year and the sultry and sexy lead single ‘Womanizer’ propelled her back into the limelight. The ensuing Circus tour netted the singer a cool $131m. This was followed up by seventh studio album ‘Femme Fatale’ in 2011 which peaked at Number 1 on the US Billboard Chart. Her appearance as a judge on US ‘X Factor’ alongside Simon Cowell in 2012 also helped her appeal to her fanbase yet again.
Fast forward to 2016 and Britney is seemingly again at career crossroads. While her Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood (she performs three times a week in 6 week rotations) was given the greenlight for a further two years, her ninth album ‘Glory’ and subsequent live performances haven’t done much to silence her critics with accusations of miming to tracks and less than poor dance performances.
Plus during a recent interview with NME Magazine Britney doubted her own career saying she might well be better off leaving it all behind and becoming a teacher.
“Seeing other artists continue to do this kind of thing inspires me too. Because sometimes I’m like, what am I doing? Like, I could be a teacher,” she confessed.
But Britney candidly revealed that her latest record is the first one where she really took creative control – and learnt to say no.
“Honestly, this is the first project where I’ve really been hands-on. I was really specific about who I worked with and I’ve been learning to say no. I’m a people-pleaser, so that’s hard for me – even if I don’t like something, I’ll do it just to make a person happy.”
Well Britney now has an incredible choice on her hands. If she listens to the pundits she may well veer into a life of Vegas shows and bit tours. However she cites Madonna and Whitney Houston as her idols and with Madge and Whitney clocking up careers spanning four decades she might just be in for the long run.
1992 – Aged 11 in the Mickey Mouse Club (with Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera.)
1999 – Storming the charts as sexy school girl in ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.
2000 – Red rubber was the outfit of choice for ‘Oops I Did It Again’
2004 – Performing at the MTV VMA’s with a python in ‘Slave 4 U’
2006 – Driving with baby son on her lap – star showing signs of meltdown.
2007 – Shaves head in daring public display shocking fans.
2007 – Admitted to hospital – said be to be comatosed by drugs.
2007 – That panned performance at the VMA’s with Britney’s “jelly belly”.
2008 – Britney bounces back with ‘Circus’ album and tour.
2013 – Britney lands ‘Piece of Me’ Vegas show at Planet Hollywood.
2016 – Comeback album ‘Glory’ – or is it?