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AVRIL LAVIGNE

Discography:

 

Let Go, Arista, 2002.

 

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Biography: 

Avril Lavigne first appeared in summer 2002, touting an addictive debut single (the spunky pop/rock gem "Complicated") and a skatepunk image that purposely clashed with the polished glamour of mainstream pop. Lavigne, who was 17 at the time, quickly rose to teen idol status, selling several million copies of her debut album, Let Go (the best-selling album by a female artist in 2002), while inspiring a genuine fashion craze with her penchant for tank tops and neckties. As the decade progressed, so did Lavigne's marketable sound, which took a contemplative turn on the sophomore effort Under My Skin before reaching an aggressively upbeat tone for 2007's The Best Damn Thing.

Born into a devout Christian household in the small town of Napanee, Ontario, Lavigne sharpened her vocal talents in church choirs, local festivals, and county fairs. She began playing guitar and writing songs in her early teens, focusing her early efforts on country music and contributing vocals to several albums by local folk musician Steve Medd. Arista Records caught wind of the singer and brought her aboard at the age of 16, with CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid personally taking Lavigne under his wing. She quit high school, relocated to Manhattan, and set to work with a handful of prime songwriters and producers, but the partnerships only produced country songs -- not the rock music in which Lavigne had become increasingly interested. Arista relented and instead sent Lavigne to Los Angeles, where she fashioned her melodic, edgy debut alongside such writing teams as the Matrix. Released in 2002, Let Go was the polished product, and its four high-charting singles -- "Complicated," "Sk8er Boi," "I'm with You," and "Losing Grip" -- led the album to multi-platinum status within its second month of release. Lavigne became the youngest female musician ever to have a number one album in the U.K., and she supported the wildly popular disc (which eventually gained eight Grammy nominations) with a tour of Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia.

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Compared with the skin-bearing antics of other teen idols -- Britney Spears chief among them -- Avril Lavigne was a new kind of superstar, one whose appeal didn't rely on sexy videos or suggestive music. She further distinguished herself by bypassing the assistance of professional writing teams during the creation of her second album, choosing instead to collaborate with singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, Evanescence's Ben Moody, and Evan Taubenfeld (who had previously worked with Lavigne as her touring guitarist). Released in May 2004, Under My Skin was more serious than its predecessor, dealing with such issues as premarital sex ("Don't Tell Me"), depression ("Nobody's Home"), and the death of Lavigne's grandfather ("Slipped Away"). The album debuted at number one in more than ten countries, went platinum within one month, and further established Lavigne as a pop icon. Incidentally, a song that was co-written by Lavigne and ultimately cut from the final track list -- "Breakaway" -- was later given to Kelly Clarkson, who used it as the title track and leadoff single for her Grammy-winning sophomore album.

Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Sum 41's Deryck Whibley, in July 2006, just one month after the animated film Over the Hedge announced her cinematic debut (Lavigne voiced the part of Heather, a hungry opossum). She also appeared in Richard Linklater's fictional adaptation of Fast Food Nation, which was released that November. Nevertheless, she spent most of the year working on her third album, enlisting former blink-182 drummer Travis Barker to play drums and cherry-picking a variety of producers (including her husband) to helm the recording sessions. The Best Damn Thing appeared in April 2007, and its leadoff single, "Girlfriend," marked a return to the bratty, spunky punk-pop of her first album. "Girlfriend" soon became the subject of controversy as the '70s power pop band the Rubinoos sued Lavigne, claiming that her tune reworked their 1979 song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." No amount of bad publicity could hurt the singer, however, as "Girlfriend" became her biggest U.S. single ever and The Best Damn Thing topped album charts worldwide. ~ All Music Guide

Born Avril Ramona Lavigne on September 27, 1984, in Napanee, Ontario, Canada.

Won contest to perform with Shania Twain, 1999; signed with Arista Records, 2002; released Let Go, 2002; released Under My Skin, 2004.

Awards: MTV Music Video Award, Best New Artist, 2003; Juno Award, Single of the Year for "Complicated," 2003; Juno Award, Album of the Year for Let Go, 2003; Juno Award, New Artist of the Year, 2003; SOCAN Awards for "Complicated," "Sk8er Boi," and "I'm With You," 2003.

Addresses: Record company—Arista Records, 6 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019. Management—Nettwerk Management, 8730 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 304, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Website—Avril Lavigne Official Website: http://www.avril-lavigne.com.


Sources: Andrew Leahey; Sarah Parkin

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BACKSTREET BOYS

Discography:

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Biography: 

The Backstreet Boys were, in many ways, a contradictory band. Comprised entirely of white middle-class Americans, the group sang a hybrid of new jack balladry, hip-hop, R&B, and dance club pop that originally found its greatest success in Canada and Europe, with their 1996 debut album charting in the Top Ten in nearly every country on the Continent. Ironically, success in their native land did not follow until nearly two years later, when teen pop enjoyed a commercial explosion in America. Along with such artists as *NSYNC and Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys rose to the forefront of popular music during the turn of the 21st century, with albums like Backstreet's Back, Millennium, and Black & Blue enjoying worldwide success.

The core of the Backstreet Boys was comprised of cousins Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell, both of whom hailed from Lexington, KY. The two began singing in local church choirs and festivals while they were children, performing doo wop and R&B songs in the style of Boyz II Men. Two of the group's other members, Howie Dorough and A.J. McLean, were natives of Orlando, FL, who met each other -- as well as transplanted New Yorker Nick Carter -- through auditions for local commercials, theater, and television. At one audition, the three discovered that they shared an affection for classic soul and could harmonize well together. Inspired, they formed a vocal trio. Shortly thereafter, Richardson moved to Orlando, where he became a tour guide at Disney World and concentrated on music at night. Eventually, he met Dorough, Carter, and McLean through a co-worker, and the four decided to form a group, naming themselves after an Orlando flea market. Littrell was later invited to join, thus turning the group into a quintet. 

With the help of Louis J. Pearlman (who would later rise to mogul status on the strength of his teen pop acts), the Backstreet Boys secured management from Donna and Johnny Wright, the latter of whom had managed New Kids on the Block during the 1980s. The Wrights put the group out on the road and enlisted several A&R reps to attend the performances, which eventually resulted in a contract with Jive Records in 1994. Jive set the Backstreet Boys up with producers Veit Renn and Tim Allen, who helped shape the group's eponymous album. Released throughout Europe in late 1995, the record enjoyed considerable success, spending several weeks in the Top Ten in most Continental countries where it charted. In the U.K., the Backstreet Boys were named Best Newcomers of 1995 at the Smash Hits Awards thanks to their international hit single "We've Got It Goin' On." After scoring another European hit with "I'll Never Break Your Heart," the group released its album in Canada. Despite the Backstreet Boys' popularity in Europe and Canada, "We've Got It Goin' On" stalled in the lower reaches of the U.S. charts in 1995. 

Combining their international singles with new tracks (which also formed the centerpiece of that year's European-only album Backstreet's Back), the American version of Backstreet Boys finally jump-started the group's success at home. "Quit Playin' Games (With My Heart)" and "As Long as You Love Me" proved to be popular singles, with the former track climbing to platinum status. The album continued to spin off hits well into 1999, with "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," "I'll Never Break Your Heart," and "All I Have to Give" all landing on the charts. Both the former and the latter were platinum Top Five hits, and the album eventually sold an astounding 14 million copies in America alone. 

In the meantime, the group saw its share of turmoil as Littrell underwent surgery in early 1998 to correct a congenital heart defect. Additionally, the Boys became embroiled in lawsuits against Pearlman and the rest of their management over royalties. When the dust settled, Pearlman remained the group's manager -- though the rest of the team was fired -- and the Boys began work on their follow-up album. Millennium was released in the summer of 1999 and debuted at number one, with first-week sales topping one million copies. Buoyed by songs like "I Want It That Way," "Larger Than Life," "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," and "The One", Millennium shattered a number of records, including the highest amount of shipments in one year and the most copies sold during an album's inaugural week. The group released its Christmas Album before the end of the year, by which time Millennium was well on its way to sales of 12 million copies in the U.S. On an international level, the album eventually sold more than 40 million units. 

Once again, the group struck immediately after its previous album stopped producing hits, issuing Black & Blue in fall 2000. More Top 40 singles followed, including "The Call" and "Shape of My Heart", and Black & Blue followed its predecessor by selling over one million copies during its first week. A popular tour supported the album, but after seven years of nonstop touring and recording, the band agreed it was time for a break. Brian Littrell became a father while Kevin Richardson tried his hand at Broadway and took a starring role in the musical +Chicago. Nick Carter released his solo album Now or Never in 2002, Howie Dorough did charity work for the Dorough Lupus Foundation in honor of the sister he had lost to the disease, and A.J. McLean made headlines with his stint in rehab. 

In 2004, the Backstreet Boys re-formed and began work on a new album. The result, Never Gone, was released in June 2005 to platinum sales, followed by Unbreakable in 2007. The latter was the first album not to feature all five original members, as Kevin Richardson had quietly exited the group in 2006. It was also the group's first album not to go platinum, a fact that seemingly cemented the end of the Backstreet Boys' heyday. 

In 2009, Backstreet Boys released their seventh studio album entitled 'This Is Us'. It featured a number of artists including Ne-Yo and T-Pain. They released their second greatest hits compilation in early 2010 called 'Playlist: The Very Best Of The Backstreet Boys'.

For The Record:

Members include Nick Carter (born January 28, 1980 in Jamestown, NY; son of Robert and Jane Carter), vocals; Howie Dorough (born August 22, 1973), vocals; Brian Littrell, (born February 20, 1975 in Lexington, KY; son of Harold and Jackie Littrell), vocals; A. J. McLean (born January 1, 1978 in West Palm Beach FL), vocals; and Kevin Richardson, (born October 3, 1972 in Lexington, KY), vocals.

Awards: MTV Europe Viewers Choice 1996.

Addresses: Home—Orlando, FL. Manager—Donna and Johnny Wright, Wright Stuff Management, 7380 Sand Lake Road, Suite 350, Orlando, FL 32819.

From Europe the Backstreet Boys' popularity spread throughout the world—Japan, Australia, Canada, South-east Asia. Their first album, Backstreet Boys, released in April 1996, sold over eleven million copies and was certified platinum in 26 different countries. Backstreet Boys: The Video was also a number-one seller in Canada for three months. The group toured overseas for 18 months and their concerts recalled the days of High Beatlemania, complete with crowds of crazed teenage girls, narrow escapes out back Windows, and screams so loud the music was barely audible. At home in Florida, foreign fans wait in the parking lots outside the apartment houses where the Backstreet Boys live, hoping for autographs. German fans have torn up their lawns for a blade or two of souvenir grass. Yet back in Orlando, the Backstreet Boys pass everywhere in the city unrecognized.

In 1997 the United States was the final frontier for the Backstreet Boys. As 1998 approached and the band prepared for its second U.S. tour, it was looking forward to seeing whether America had taken to them to the degree everyone else had. "I think the (U.S.) market is more ready for a group like us now," Howie Dorough told USA Today. "I think at the time we released our first record, alternative, grunge and urban were hot. Now we feel that pop music is starting to come back a little bit." Their album was finally released in the United States in August 1997, nearly a year and a half after the rest of the world heard it for the first time. They included some of their newer songs on the American version, songs that were used on their second international album, Backstreet's Back. Jive promoted the album heavily, concentrating on its key female audience. Free Backstreet Boys cassettes were distributed with J.C. Penney makeup, at cheerleader camps, and with books in the teen romance series, "Love Stories." "The Backstreet Boys have made a great choice in selecting their music. When you listen to it you'll know why they are probably going to be the next new thing," wrote Christina Psoros, a 12-year-old reviewer for Newsday.

The Backstreet Boys were also working on broadening their musical foundations. Ali members of the group took up songwriting—though in December 1997 no Backstreet Boys penned number had made it onto a record—and all were learning how to play instruments. In addition, they have focused more attention on dancing, which has become a major part of their stage show. 

 

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Justin Timberlake

Source: artistdirect.com, eNotes, Wikipedia

Justin Timberlake

Biography: 

Justin Timberlake has been one ofthe biggest popstars on the planet since the late nineties. Since leaving oneof the largest boy bands of the time ‘Nsync, Justin has had a successful solo career with the albums ‘Justified’ and ‘Future Sex/Love Sounds’ selling a combined total of close to seventeen million records worlwide. Justin Timberlake has shaken off the boy band pomp to stamp his authority as on the most respected song and dance men in the music industry.

Justin Timberlake was born on January 31st 1981 in the soul music Mecca that is Memphis, Tennessee also home to Elvis Presley and the Stax record label. Justin showed he was a potential star at an early age with two TV shows first it was Star search (an American version of pop idol) and then the Mickey Mouse Club a weekly songdance and acting TV show for kids (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and JC Chasez were his fellow cast members). When the show was cancelled in 1994, Timberlake Began to form the boy band Nsync, this would be the first important stint in his music career.

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Nsync would go on to be one of the most successful acts of their time, their notable achievements include 27 million records sold and a record opening week of 2.4 million records sold. The band never officially split up as such, more like they all went on to pursue solo careers and Justin was first. Justin was the first to release a solo album with the release of 2002’s ‘Justified’, the album was predominantly produced by The Neptunes the album produced numerous hits including ‘Like I Love You' 'Senorita’ and ‘Cry Me A River’ the album sold 8 million copies worldwide. Justin’s second album FutureSex/Love sounds also sold over 9 million albums with three singles topping the billboard album chart.

Timberlake has demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit with ventures that include a clothing line (William Rast), record label (Tennman Records) restaurants (Destino and Southern Hospitality) and has also dabbled in acting (The Love Guru and Shrek the Third). Justin Timberlake's full legacy is still to be written but there is no doubt that he is one of the premier music performers of his time.

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BRITNEY SPEARS

Discography:

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Britney Jean Spears
Biography: 

‘The Princess of Pop’ doesn’t really come close to summing up this American music star. Not a day goes by where a picture of Britney doesn’t appear in the tabloid news, and some may say this has gone to her head faster than a cheap razor.

Britney Jane Spears, as she was born in 1981, has been in the spotlight, being linked to artists such as Madonna and Whitney Houston from the age of just 8. Between the ages of 11 and 13 she became a member of The Mickey Mouse Club, where she featured on the Disney channel following her big break featuring in various commercials.

Her breakthrough success came in 1998, when she released her first single ‘Baby One More Time’ through Jive Records, after her demo was snapped up due to her ‘commercial voice and appearance’. Her album, of the same title, shortly followed, alongside a string of TV appearances, magazine photo shoots and sell-out tours. The album topped the US charts, and similar success followed in the UK and Europe.

Her singles continued to top the charts, and she became one of the biggest media sensations of our time, often criticised for her claims of being a virgin following her sexiness in her videos. This didn’t stop the teen star however, and her second album, the aptly named ‘Oops! ... I Did It Again’ was released in May 2000. Her relationship with ladies man Justin Timberlake was now the main focus of the public eye.

Spears claimed her self titled third album, released in 2001, showed her new-found maturity, although through stories published about her, this is certainly debatable. In 2004, ‘The Zone’ was released, featuring collaboration with rival pop-princess, Madonna.

It was after the release of this album that Britney somewhat, went off the rails. She had a string of relationships, marriages, shaved her head and lost custody of her children. Despite this, in 2009 she is making a comeback, and is looking better than ever. Well, anything beats a skinhead!

Source: Carly Page

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Janet Jackson

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Janet Jackson
Biography: 

Janet Jackson is one of pop music’s most successful artists of all time. Billboard magazine reported that Janet Jackson was the second most successful female artist of all time and the ninth most successful solo artist in Rock and Roll history. It was Janet’s seminal, 1986 album “Control” that allowed her step out of the shadow of the Jackson family and into the light, to stake her claim as a serious recording music artist.

Janet Jackson was the youngest of nine kids and came from the show business family ‘The Jackson’sJackson was born in Gary, Indiana, although most of her childhood was spent in a wealthy neighbourhood in California, as the Jackson 5 (a band that consisted of her older brothers) had become hugely successful. From an early age, Janet Jackson never longed to be an entertainer, although being an entertainer was a prerequisite if you were a member of the Jackson family.

By age 16 Janet had recorded her debut album “Janet Jackson”, the album was a commercial flop and so was her next album “Dream Street”. It wasn’t until 1986 that the world sat up and took notice of Janet Jackson. By this time Janet had become disillusioned with her father Joe Jackson's management and decided to take command of her own career, hence the name of the album “Control”.

"Control" marked the beginning of Janet Jackson’s partnership with now legendary production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (who were once managed by Prince). The collaboration on "Control" helped skyrocket the career of Janet and the production duo, the album went on to sell 10 million records worldwide and won Grammys, American Music awards and Billboard music awards.

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Janet has since scored 6 multi-platinum albums, selling over 100 million records worldwide and has had 10, Billboard hot 100, number one singles. Janet’s legacy is defined by her ability to constantly push the bar in relation to choreography, music videos and stage shows, for someone that never wanted to go into entertainment Janet Jackson really has become the archetypal all around entertainer. Janet has influenced a whole crop of younger artists such as Destiny’s Child, Ciara and even Britney Spears, some of whom have commented on her influence on them, which all goes to prove that Janet Jackson has set the benchmark for mainstream female performers throughout her career. Janet continues to record and perform and will release her second compilation album "Number 1’s" in November 2009.

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This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com

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