Britney Spears’ long-awaited memoir, ‘The Woman in Me,’ delves deep into her life’s highs and lows. She opens up about her challenging childhood, her journey through the spotlight, her tumultuous relationship with Justin Timberlake, and her 13-year conservatorship. But it’s not just the juicy details that will captivate fans; Britney shares her early love for singing and dancing, revealing how performing became her sanctuary from a turbulent home life. From humble beginnings to her rise on shows like ‘The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ and securing a record deal with Jive Records, her memoir showcases her unwavering determination to become a global pop sensation.
‘Baby One More Time’ Was Almost Space-Themed
Spears reveals that label executives initially wanted her debut music video, ‘Baby One More Time,’ to be space-themed with her as a futuristic astronaut, an idea she wasn’t keen on. She felt the concept didn’t resonate with her or her audience, envisioning a scenario of her and her friends sitting bored at school and then breaking into dance as soon as the bell rang. The video’s director, Nigel Dick, was receptive to her ideas, including the school bell cue and the presence of “cute boys.”
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She Had to Face Criticism For Her 2000s VMAs Set
At the 2000 VMAs, Britney Spears performed The Rolling Stones’ ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ and her own hit ‘Oops!… I Did It Again.’ She started in a suit and transitioned to a bikini top with matching flesh-toned bottoms. MTV decided to film people reacting to her performance, and the public’s response was mixed. While some praised her, others criticized her for the “skimpy outfit” and saw her as a bad influence on children.
Spears, however, emphasized that she never claimed to be a role model; her sole desire was to sing and dance. She faced questions about corrupting America’s youth from the MTV host but asserted that she wasn’t responsible for parenting and that not everyone had to like her.
“It shook me up,” she wrote. “And it was my first real taste of backlash that would last for years.”
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The Snake in Her 2001 VMA Performance Terrified Her
In 2001, Britney Spears prepared for her MTV VMAs performance of ‘I’m a Slave 4 U’ with a surprise guest, a yellow python. Despite the snake’s handler being smaller than her, Spears was terrified. She felt fine when the handler was nearby, but as she performed, the snake hissed and brought its head close to her face. Though this moment wasn’t shown on TV, Spears had a nerve-wracking encounter with the snake, relieved when she finally handed it back.
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The 2003 VMA Kiss With Madonna
In Spears’ memoir, Madonna is described as a trusted mentor and confidant. Their connection spanned Spears’ career, but one iconic moment that lingers in fans’ memory is the 2003 VMAs kiss. According to Spears, their rehearsals always featured an air kiss. Just minutes before the performance, on the side of the stage, she contemplated her significant VMA moment and decided to go for it with the kiss. The infamous kiss, scrutinized by Oprah and celebrated as a cultural milestone, gained tremendous attention for both Madonna and Spears.
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Madonna on ‘Me Against the Music’
Spears believed in her song ‘Me Against the Music’ when her record company had reservations. To boost its success, she proposed adding a feature. During rehearsals for the 2003 VMAs, she suggested this idea to Madonna, who enthusiastically agreed. This direct approach led to their iconic collaboration, making ‘Me Against the Music’ one of Spears’ cherished songs.
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Her Favourite Album and Her Least Favourite Performance
Despite the chaos surrounding the release of her fifth studio album, ‘Blackout,’ Britney Spears holds it dear as her favourite. In her words, she expressed, “Blackout, the thing I’m most proud of in my whole career, came out right around Halloween in 2007.” This career-defining album boasted hits like ‘Gimme More,’ ‘Break the Ice,’ and ‘Piece of Me.’
However, when she performed ‘Gimme More’ at the 2007 MTV VMAs, she faced personal struggles. The night was marred by costume and hair extension issues, sleep deprivation, and postpartum depression. Encountering her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake backstage, she had a panic attack before her performance. Britney, although not at her best, persevered. She later learned of comedian Sarah Silverman’s mockery, which left her in tears backstage.
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Spears Loved Making ‘Glory’
After struggling with two albums that didn’t meet her satisfaction, the singer found solace in collaborating with new songwriters, Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter for her 2016 album, ‘Glory.’ They worked closely, reigniting her passion for music. This project became a beacon of confidence for her during the 13 years of her conservatorship. Upon completing the album, she played it for her sons, who suggested the title of the album. Their pride in the music brought her a sense of accomplishment she had long yearned for.
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She Silently Rebelled During Her Vegas Shows
During her four-year ‘Britney: Piece of Me Las Vegas’ residency, Britney Spears faced criticism for her seemingly lacklustre enthusiasm during the shows. This was largely due to her frustration with her father and the management team’s refusal to allow changes to the performance. Subtly, she rebelled on stage, often wearing tight wigs and dancing without a hair out of place, contrary to their wishes. Reflecting on this period, Spears now recognizes how she held back, on stage as a form of rebellion, impacting her fans and herself. It was a way of coping with the trauma she had experienced over the past 13 years, a silent protest manifested in her performance energy, or rather, the lack thereof.
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She Doesn’t Like Her Works With Will.i.am
In her memoir, Spears briefly touches on the period when she worked on her 2011 and 2013 albums, ‘Femme Fatale’ and ‘Britney Jean,’ produced by Will.i.am. She candidly admits that these albums didn’t showcase her best work, stating, “I made one good song with Will.i.am, ‘Work Bitch.’ But I wasn’t making a lot of music that I was proud of, probably because I wasn’t into it.” She attributes her lack of enthusiasm to the demoralizing environments her father chose for her to work in, which left her feeling manipulated and unhappy. Spears reflects on the importance of regaining her empowerment and artistic control during that time.
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In her memoir’s conclusion, Spears shares her shift away from music and live performances, emphasizing a new focus on her spiritual journey and personal well-being. She expresses a desire to step back from the pressure of being what others expect and find her true self. Over the past five years, her passion for performing live has waned, and she now does it primarily for her fulfilment, feeling a stronger connection with her spirituality during moments of peace.