She hit the studio with writers/producers such as Max Martin and Eric Foster White and the result was her debut album. In late 1998, Jive released her debut single "(Hit me) Baby one more time" which was a pop hit around the Globe, accompanied by the sixteen year old first of many controversial acts - the video, which featured Britney dressed in a Catholic Schoolgirl Uniform, baring her midriff, which was soon to become her trademark. Nonetheless, the single was a smash worldwide and Britney was instantly a Household name. She toured with popular boy band N*Sync and the single shot to the top of the charts for 3 weeks. Her debut album was released a few months later in early 1999 and like the single took to the top of the album charts, where it remained number one for six weeks. The album has now sold millions worldwide and is officially 14 x platinum in the US. Her next controversial act, after the video, was to take the cover of Rolling Stones magazine in a suggestive pose, but as Britney mania took off, the 17 year-old became more and more popular. Appealing to young girls, teenage boys and older men, Britney was on her way, yet nobody could have predicted at that time the impact she would have on Pop Culture. The second single, "Sometimes" was released in June 1999 followed on by the top 10 hit "Crazy" in September and "from the bottom of my broken heart" soon after. Britney ended 1999 selling over 10 million copies of her debut and as the Billboard Top Female Pop Artist (singles and albums), Top New Pop Artist, Top Billboard 200 album Artist and Top 100 singles Artist - female. The American Awards, MTV and Teen Choice awards soon began rolling in and in early 2000 Britney was nominated for two Grammy awards.
At just 18, Britney released her second album in 2000, the #1 smash "Oops! I did it again" and single of the same title, which topped the singles chart for 5 weeks. Smash singles "Stronger" and "Lucky" followed, but it was around this time that Britney was beginning to raise more than a few eyebrows. It seemed some people weren't too happy with the message she was sending their impressionable young children. On one hand, Britney was the perfect picture of innocence, declaring herself a Virgin until marriage yet on the other hand, she was sexually charged and provocative, with performance such as the MTV Video Music Awards in 2000, when her costume made her appear scantily-clad. As the young woman was growing up, it seemed there was an internal conflict between her, her management and her mother, all pulling her in different directions. Yet the image the public saw was a gorgeous young woman, beautifully dressed and damn close to perfection, often labeled the "Pop Princess" around the world. Still, the awards kept rolling in and in early 2001 Britney struck a lucrative deal with Pepsi-Cola for Sponsorship and advertising. The 19 year-old was growing up fast, with the media constantly fixed on what she was and wasn't doing, her "rivalry" with former fellow Mouseketeer Christina Aguilera and also her blossoming relationship with N*Sync heartthrob Justin Timberlake. Britney was keen that people saw her as a growing woman as she began to ready the public for her next LP release in late 2001.
In November, she hit the top 10 with the sexually charged "I'm a slave 4 u" which took a completely different turn in musical direction from her previous singles and in the same month released her third LP, self-titled "Britney" which shot to the top of the albums charts, breaking records for a female artist. Her performance of "Slave" at the MTV VMA's caused outrage among animal rights campaigners, as she performed with a live giant Snake and wearing little herself. It was a far cry from the Britney of just three years ago, and perhaps the critical moment when what some people would say "she started going downhill". Sales of her third album, while impressive, where not nearly as high as her former releases, perhaps due to the increase of new pop female singers flooding the market, yet Britney, still incredibly popular, carried on. In early 2002, the 20 year-old Britney released "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman", taken from the soundtrack of her debut movie Crossroads (2002/I) which was released in February that year. She soon after hit the charts with "Overprotected" and also toured Worldwide on the "Dream within a dream tour". Yet it seemed it was all getting too much for Britney, her four year relationship with Timberlake ended suddenly and very publicly and she soon announced she was to take 6 months off, after all, she had achieved so much by such a young age and in such a short space of time. Her star was by no means fading, with "Forbes" declaring her "The Worlds most powerful celebrity" in mid-2002.
While she may have been on a break from her career, she was by no means breaking from the media, who followed her relentlessly, even more keen to track her down and find out what she was up to. Britney was increasingly letting her pop princess crown slip, admitting she had lost her sacred virginity to Timberlake, outside of marriage. Britney could also be seen smoking and drinking to excess on wild nights out and famously breaking down in tears while being interviewed by Diane Sawyer about her parents (who were recently divorced) and her bitter split from Timberlake. Britney was linked to men such as Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit and openly kissed Colin Farrell at a movie premiere. However, she seemed to get herself back together for her new album released in late 2003. In a blitz of publicity which included the infamous "Like a Virgin" performance and Madonna kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards in August that year. The new album "In The Zone" was a bid to be seen as a woman and caused controversy with songs on it such as "Breathe on me" and "Touch of my hand" - which was about masturbation - however, the appeal of Britney was still there and the album topped the Billboard 200 albums charts. The first single to be lifted was "Me against the music" a club hit that featured pop icon Madonna and singing with her was a dream come true for Britney. Now 22, it seemed Britney was in a lot more control over her career, yet her personal life still seemed to be slipping. In January 2004, Britney got "married" to childhood friend Jason Alexander in a Las Vegas ceremony. The incident shocked the world, especially when the marriage was annulled 55 hours later and was described as "a joke taken too far" by her management.
Britney soon released one of her biggest singles, "Toxic" which topped various charts around the world including the UK and Canadian singles charts. The single was a smash-hit and silenced any critics that said Britney no longer had what it took to make a comeback. She soon began her highly publicized and overtly sexual "Onyx Hotel Tour" which was canceled a few months later after Britney damaged her knee during a video shoot and had to receive medical treatment. Other singles off the album included the Gold Selling "Everytime", which topped the UK singles charts and like usual, also carried a fair amount of controversy for its video, which allegedly depicted the star committing suicide after a fight with her boyfriend, played by Stephen Dorff ; however, this was "changed" to an accident in which she drowns yet reincarnates. It was around this time that Britney began dating Kevin Federline, a former back up dancer who she had taken on tour with her a few months previously. The snag here was that Kevin came with baggage - in the form of an "ex" girlfriend, heavily pregnant "Moesha" (1996) actress Shar Jackson and their young child. Britney and Kevin soon became engaged and in September 2004 were married in a secret ceremony, soon after the birth of Kevin's second child. That same month, Britney released a single off her upcoming "Greatest Hits" album (released in November 2004) a cover of Bobby Browns 1988 hit "My Prerogative".
Britney was a changed woman, no longer concerned with what the public thought of her or her appearance, she parted ways with her manager who she had had since she was 13, and was increasingly stepping out looking more "trailer trash" than Multi-Millionaire. In February 2005, Britney won her first Grammy for the single "Toxic" as Best Dance Recording. Just two months later, it was announced Britney was pregnant her first child. A reality TV Series "Britney & Kevin: Chaotic" (2005), which featured the pair getting to know each other the previous year, leading up to their wedding aired on UPN and eventually got a world wide audience, despite harsh criticism. In September 2005, Britney evolved yet again, this time as a devoted wife and mother, with the birth of her first child, a Son, which she named Sean Preston. In November that year, she released a remix album "B in the mix, the Remixes".
Looking back over the last seven years of this remarkable ladies career and life, it really is hard to imagine what the face of Pop would look like without her. Here is a 24 year-old woman who has grown in the face of the glaring media from innocent School-girl to Sexual Pop Vixen to Young wife and Mother. Who knows what is next for Britney? Rumours of a comeback album for 2006 have been circulating for a while and also a few more movie productions, yet one thing is for certain: Britney Spears has worked hard to get to where she is today and by no means will she be disappearing any time soon. Her name and face is legend in the media and celebrity circuit and it's surely only a matter of time before Spears shocks us all again, with her next album or tour or movie or personal move. One thing is for certain though: the public will be watching.