Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, she began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album ...Baby One More Time in 1999, which became the best-selling album by a teenage solo artist. During her first decade in the music industry, she became a prominent figure in mainstream popular music and popular culture, followed by a much-publicized personal life. Her first two albums established her as a pop icon and broke sales records, while title tracks "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" became international number-one hits. Spears was credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s, and became the 'best-selling teenaged artist of all time' before she turned 20, garnering her honorific titles such as "Princess of Pop".
In 2001, she released her third studio album Britney and expanded her brand, playing the starring role in the film Crossroads. She assumed creative control of her fourth studio album, In the Zone (2003), which yielded chart-topping singles "Me Against the Music", "Toxic" and "Everytime". After the release of two compilation albums, Spears experienced personal struggles and her career went into hiatus. Her fifth studio album, Blackout, was released in 2007 and despite receiving little promotion, it spawned hits "Gimme More" and "Piece of Me". In 2008, her erratic behavior and hospitalizations caused her to be placed in a conservatorship. The same year, her sixth studio album Circus was released, with the global chart-topping lead single "Womanizer", and hits such as "Circus" and "If U Seek Amy". She embarked on her highest-grossing global concert tour, The Circus Starring Britney Spears, in 2009. In October of the same year, she released a chart-topping single, "3", which became her third single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Her seventh studio album Femme Fatale, released in 2011, has become the first of her albums to yield three top ten singles in the United States, "Hold It Against Me", "Till the World Ends" and "I Wanna Go". The same year, she also gained her fifth number one single when she featured on the remix of "S&M" alongside Rihanna.
Spears's work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, 6 MTV Video Music Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award, 9 Billboard Music Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, Billboard ranked her as the 8th overall Artist of the Decade, and also recognized her as the best-selling female artist of the first decade of the 21st century, as well as the fifth overall. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also recognized Spears as the eighth top-selling female artist in the United States, with 34 million certified albums. Nielsen SoundScan ranked Spears the tenth best-selling digital artist of the country, with more than 28.6 million digital singles as of January 2012. She has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Rolling Stone recognized her instant success as one of the Top 25 Teen Idol Breakout Moments of all time, while VH1 ranked her eleventh on their "100 Greatest Women in Music" list in 2012, and Billboard named her the sexiest woman in music. Forbes also revealed that Spears was the sixth most powerful celebrity, and the third best paid musician of 2011–12, having topped the list back in 2002.