Britney Spears is one of music‘s most popular singers. Known for her soft, nasally sound, she has a voice that helped her stand out from her peers and attracted a devoted fan base. But to some fans, Spears’s voice is totally different from the one heard in the beginning stages of her career.
Britney Spears’s rise to fame, explained
Born on Dec. 2, 1981, Spears took an interest in the performing arts when she was a kid.
“Ever since I was 7 or 8 years old, my mom would have company over, and I was always performing for everybody in front of the TV. … Even when I went to school, I was always the weird child; I would go outside and instead of playing, I wanted to have Star Search competitions,” she previously told The Hollywood Reporter (via Biography).
When she was 8-years-old, Spears auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club, but she didn’t make the cut, according to Good Housekeeping. However, she soon got to go on Star Search, which helped spotlight her as a singer.
In YouTube clips of her performance, Spears presented a voice that is lower and more powerful than the one she would later become known for. The audience seemed to love her performance, but Spears ultimately lost the competition. Her big break would eventually come when she was cast on The All-New Mickey Mouse Club along with Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and others.
How Britney Spears’s singing career began
While The New Mickey Mouse Club helped get Spears’s name out there, she still struggled to find a record label. At the time, they reportedly weren’t interested in any more solo performers. “There wasn’t going to be another Madonna, another Debbie Gibson, or another Tiffany,” a label explains in Mark Hughes’s book Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff (via NME).
But after executives at Jive Records caught on to her talent, Spears’s luck started turning around. She reportedly got to audition for the label; then she was set up to work with producer Eric Foster White, who reportedly helped develop her sound from “lower and less poppy” to “distinctively, unmistakably Britney.”
After then-President Clive Calder heard some of the material, he allegedly signed Spears to the label and ordered an album. Her debut, …Baby One More Time, released in 1999 to widespread critical and commercial acclaim and helped set the tone for her legendary career, which now includes a total of nine albums.
Britney Spears’s earlier performances have resurfaced
In the comment section of a YouTube video collage, one person wrote, “Wow her voice as a child is nothing like what she has as an adult.”
“this is crazy because it’s clear she has a very solid alto voice. such a beautiful one,” commented another.
“She has such a solid mezzo/alto foundation that could have just flourished if she was given proper training!” said a third. “Her voice was still developing and she could have been a true powerhouse. Maybe would not have blown up as a pop sensation like she did at the time, but she would definitely still have rose up. Hearing her real voice though, I honestly can’t help but imagine her belting on a Broadway stage, and with her performance skills, I’m sure she could have thrived in theater and with multiple music genres.”
A fourth chimed in saying, “We demand a documentary on Britney’s voice Netflix.”
But for what it’s worth, Spears told Rolling Stone in 1999 that she agreed with her label’s decision to go for a pop sound over more sultry and emotional music. “It made more sense to go pop, because I can dance to it — it’s more me,” she said.
And judging from her success, it’s safe to say the decision worked out great for her.
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