Brown performing at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, November 1, 2008
|Birth name||Christopher Maurice Brown|
|Born||May 5, 1989 (1989-05-05) (age 22)|
|Genres||R&B, pop, urban, hip hop, soul|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, dancer, rapper, actor|
|Labels||Jive, Zomba, RCA, Zone 4,|
|Associated acts||Tyga, Polow Da Don, Game, Lil Wayne, Bow Wow, T.I., Big Sean, Busta Rhymes, Juelz Santana|
Christopher Maurice “Chris” Brown (born May 5, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter, dancer, rapper, and actor. He made his recording debut in late 2005 with the self-titled album Chris Brown at the age of 16. The album featured the hit single “Run It!“, which topped the Billboard Hot 100, making Brown the first male artist as a lead to have his debut single top the chart since Puff Daddy in 1997. The album has sold over two million copies in the United States and was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Brown’s second studio album, Exclusive was released worldwide in November 2007. It spawned two successful singles; his second U.S. number one hit, “Kiss Kiss” featuring T-Pain and “With You“, which peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Brown has released a deluxe version of his album called The Forever Edition. The first single from it, “Forever“, was released in May 2008 and reached number two on Billboard Hot 100. Exclusive has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The third studio album, titled Graffiti, was released on December 15, 2009. The first official single was “I Can Transform Ya“, featuring Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz, which peaked at number-twenty on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Brown’s eighth Top 20 hit on that chart. He has had various other hit singles, and his dance routines have been compared to the likes of Michael Jackson.
Brown received widespread notoriety in 2009 after pleading guilty to felony assault of singer and then-girlfriend Rihanna. He was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service. The case received extensive media attention and negatively affected his career as a singer and all-around entertainer.
1989–2004: Early life and career beginnings
Christopher Maurice Brown was born on May 5, 1989, in the small town of Tappahannock, Virginia, to Joyce Hawkins, a former day care center director, and Clinton Brown, a corrections officer at a local prison. The youngest child of the couple, he has an older sister, Lytrell Bundy, who works in a bank. Since his childhood, music was something which always had been present in Brown’s life. He used to listen soul albums that his parents had owned, but eventually, Brown began to show interest in the hip-hop scene.
Brown taught himself to sing and dance at a young age, often citing Michael Jackson as his inspiration. He then began to perform in his church choir and in several local talent shows. While mimicking an Usher performance of “My Way“, his mother recognized his vocal talent and they began to look for opportunities of a record deal. At the same time, Brown had been through personal issues. His parents had already been divorced, and he said his mother’s boyfriend made him terrified all the time due to the domestic violence his mother endured from her boyfriend.
At the age of 13, Brown was discovered by a local production team, Hitmission Records, who visited his father’s gas station while searching for new talent. Hitmission’s Lamont Fleming provided voice coaching for Brown, and the team helped to arrange a demo package and approached contacts in New York to seek a record deal; Brown moved to New York at around the same time. Tina Davis – then-senior A&R executive at Def Jam Recordings loved what she heard and saw when Brown auditioned in her office at Island Def Jam Records in New York. She immediately took him to meet the former president of the Island Def Jam Music Group Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who offered to sign him at the same day. “I knew that Chris had real talent,” says Davis. “I just knew I wanted to be part of it.”
The negotiations with Def Jam lasted two months until Davis lost her job due to a corporate merger. Brown then asked her to be his manager and Davis accepted, starting to “promote” the singer to labels such as Jive Records, J-Records and Warner Bros. Records. According to Mark Pitts in an interview with HitQuarters, Davis presented Brown with a video recording and Pitts’ reaction was: “I saw the potential … I didn’t love all the records, but I loved his voice. It wasn’t a problem because I knew that he could sing, and I knew how to make records.” Brown ultimately choose Jive, due to its successful work with then-young acts such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Brown claims, “I picked Jive because they had the best success with younger artists in the pop market, […] I knew I was going to capture my African American audience, but Jive had a lot of strength in the pop area as well as longevity in careers.”
2005–06: Chris Brown and acting debut
After being signed to Jive Records in 2004, Brown started the recording process in February 2005. By May, there were 50 songs already recorded, 14 of which were picked to the final track listing. The singer worked with several producers and songwriters—Scott Storch, Cool & Dre and Jazze Pha among them—commenting that they “really believed in [him]”. Brown also made some input on the album, receiving co-writing credits of five tracks. “I write about the things that 16 year olds go through every day,” says Brown. “Like you just got in trouble for sneaking your girl into the house, or you can’t drive, so you steal a car or something.” The whole album took less than eight weeks to produce.
Released on November 29, 2005, the self-titled Chris Brown debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 154,000 copies. Chris Brown was a relative commercial success with the time; selling over two million copies in the United States—where it was certified two times platinum by the RIAA—and three million copies worldwide. The album’s lead single, “Run It!“, made Brown the first male act (since Montell Jordan in 1995) to have his debut single to reach the summit of the Billboard Hot 100—later remaining for four additionally weeks. Three of the other singles—”Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” “Gimme That” and “Say Goodbye“—peaked within the top twenty at the same chart.
On June 13, 2006, Brown released a DVD entitled, Chris Brown’s Journey, which shows footage of him traveling in England and Japan, getting ready for his first visit to the Grammy Awards, behind the scenes of his music videos and bloopers.
On August 17, 2006 to further promote the album, Brown began his major co-headlining tour, The Up Close and Personal Tour. Due to the tour, production for his next album was pushed back two months. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital received $10,000 in ticket proceeds from Brown’s 2006 “Up Close & Personal” tour.
In January 2007, Brown landed a small role as a band geek in the fourth season of the American television series, The O.C.. Brown then made his film debut in Stomp the Yard, alongside Ne-Yo, Meagan Good and Columbus Short on January 12, 2007. In April 2007, Brown was the opening act for Beyoncé Knowles, on the Australian leg of her The Beyoncé Experience tour. On July 9, 2007, Brown was featured in an episode of MTV‘s My Super Sweet 16 (for the event, it was retitled: Chris Brown: My Super 18) celebrating his eighteenth birthday in New York City.
In November 2007, Brown starred as video host for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital‘s Math-A-Thon program, to show his support by encouraging students to use their math skills to help children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Shortly after ending his summer tour with Ne-Yo, Brown quickly began production for his second studio album, Exclusive, which was released in the United States on November 6, 2007. The album debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 294,000 copies in its first week. As of March 23, 2011, it has sold over 1.9 million copies in the United States. The album’s lead single, “Wall to Wall“, peaked at number 79 on US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 22 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Kiss Kiss“, featuring and produced by T-Pain, was released as the album’s second single. It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and became Brown’s second number one single following “Run It!” in 2005. “With You“, a song produced by Stargate, was released as the third single from Exclusive, and reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
On November 21, 2007, Brown appeared in This Christmas, a family drama starring Regina King. To further support the album Exclusive, Brown embarked on his The Exclusive Holiday Tour, visiting over thirty venues in United States. The tour began in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 6, 2007 and concluded on February 9, 2008 in Honolulu, Hawaii. In March 2008, Brown was featured on Jordin Sparks‘ single “No Air“, which peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. He also made a guest appearance on Ludacris‘ single “What Them Girls Like” alongside Sean Garrett. The song peaked at number 17 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and number eight on the US Hot Rap Songs chart. Brown re-released Exclusive on June 3, 2008 as a deluxe edition, renamed Exclusive: The Forever Edition, seven months after the release of the original version. The re-released version featured four new tracks, including the single “Forever“, which reached number two on Billboard Hot 100. In August 2008, Brown guest-starred on Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as himself. In October 2008, he was featured on T-Pain’s single “Freeze“, from his third studio album Thr33 Ringz. Towards the end of 2008, Brown was named Artist of the Year by Billboard magazine.
2009–10: Graffiti and mixtape
In 2008, Brown began work on his-then upcoming third studio album. According to him, he would experiment a different musical direction for his new album—titled Graffiti—while hoping to emulate fellow American singers Prince and Michael Jackson. He says, “I wanted to change it up and really be different. Like my style nowadays, I don’t try to be typical urban. I want to be like how Prince, Michael and Stevie Wonder were. They can cross over to any genre of music.” The album’s lead single “I Can Transform Ya” was released on September 29, 2009. The song peaked at number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 11 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Crawl” was released as the album’s second single on November 23, 2009. The song reached number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100. Graffiti was then released on December 8, 2009. The album debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 102,000 copies in its first week. As of March 23, 2011, it has sold 341,000 copies in the United States.
While performing a Michael Jackson Tribute at the 2010 BET Awards, Brown started to cry and fell to his knees while singing Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror“. The performance and his emotional turmoil resonated with several celebrities present at the ceremony, including Trey Songz, Diddy and Taraji P. Henson. Songz said, “He left his heart on the stage. He gave genuine emotion. I was proud of him and I was happy for him for having that moment”. Michael’s brother, Jermaine Jackson, expressed similar sentiments stating, “it was very emotional for me, because it was an acceptance from his fans from what has happened to him and also paying tribute to my brother”. Later during the award ceremony, Brown stated, “I let y’all down before, but I won’t do it again…I promise”, while accepting the award for the AOL Fandemonium prize.
In May 2010, Brown released a collaborative mixtape with Tyga, titled Fan of a Fan. “Deuces“, which features Tyga and Kevin McCall, was released from the mixtape in the United States on June 29, 2010. The song peaked at number one on US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven non-consecutive weeks, giving Brown his first number-one on the chart since his 2006 hit single, “Say Goodbye“. It also peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. In August 2010, Brown starred alongside an ensemble cast, including Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen and T.I. in the crime thriller Takers, and also served as executive producer of the film.
2011–present: F.A.M.E. and Fortune
Brown’s fourth studio album F.A.M.E. was first released on March 18, 2011. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 270,000 copies, giving Brown his first number-one album in the United States. Its lead single, “Yeah 3x“, reached the top-ten in eleven countries, including Australia, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album’s second single, “Look at Me Now“, featuring rappers Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, reached number one on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where it remained for eight consecutive weeks. It also reached number one on the US Hot Rap Songs chart. The album’s third single, “Beautiful People“, featuring Benny Benassi, peaked at number one on the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and became the first number-one single on the chart for both Brown and Benassi. “She Ain’t You” was released as the album’s fourth US single, while “Next 2 You“, featuring Canadian recording artist Justin Bieber, served as the album’s fourth international single. To further promote the album, Brown embarked on his F.A.M.E. Tour in Australia and North America.
At the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards, F.A.M.E. won Album of the Year. The album has also earned Brown three Grammy Award nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album, as well as Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Look at Me Now”. On October 7, 2011, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. With the shutdown, Brown (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release future material on the RCA Records brand.
Image and personal life
Success and comparison to other artists
In addition to his solo commercial success, Brown has been featured on several hits such as “No Air“, a duet with singer Jordin Sparks, “Shortie like Mine” with the rapper Bow Wow and “Shawty Get Loose” alongside Lil Mama and T-Pain. The songs have peaked on number three, number nine and number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. Due to his dance routines, Brown has been compared to renowned R&B artists such as Usher and Michael Jackson, citing both as large influences on his music.
Domestic violence case
In 2008, Brown’s musical setbacks were partially attributed to a domestic assault. He turned himself in to the Los Angeles Police Department‘s Wilshire station on February 8, 2009, and was booked on suspicion of making criminal threats, while under investigation for domestic violence charges, following an argument with an unidentified woman. The police report did not name the female in the incident as is policy, but stated that the she had “suffered visible injuries”. However, various news media such as the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and MSNBC said that sources had identified the alleged victim as his girlfriend and fellow R&B singer Rihanna. Following his arrest, several of his commercial ads were suspended, his music was withdrawn from multiple radio stations, and he withdrew from public appearances, including one at the 2009 Grammy Awards, where he was replaced by Justin Timberlake and Al Green. Brown later released a statement saying, “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired.”
On March 5, 2009, Brown was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. He was arraigned on April 6, 2009, and pleaded not guilty to one count of assault and one count of making criminal threats. On June 22, 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to a felony and accepted a plea deal of community labor and five years’ formal probation. Domestic violence counseling is also part of the deal by Judge Patricia Schnegg in court. Several organizations against domestic violence expressed criticism over the plea deal, advocating the punishment was not severe enough for the crime; the level of Brown’s influence over youth also came under scrutiny. On July 20, 2009, Brown released a two-minute video on his official YouTube page apologizing to fans and Rihanna for the domestic altercation, expressing the incident as his “deepest regret” and saying that he has repeatedly apologized to Rihanna and “accepts full responsibility”. Brown said he wanted to speak out earlier about the case but was advised by his attorney not to until the legal ramifications were settled. On August 25, Brown was sentenced to five years of probation, one year of domestic violence counseling, and six months of community service; the judge retained a five-year restraining order on Brown, which requires him to remain 50 yards away from Rihanna, 10 yards at public events.
On September 2, 2009, Brown spoke about the domestic violence case in a pre-recorded Larry King Live interview, his first public interview about the matter. He was accompanied in the interview by his mother and attorney Mark Geragos, as he discussed growing up in a household rampant with domestic violence; his mother had been repeatedly assaulted by his stepfather. Brown said of hearing details of what transpired the night of his own assault, his physical altercation with Rihanna, “I’m in shock, because, first of all, that’s not who I am as a person, and that’s not who I promise I want to be.” Brown’s mother, Joyce Hawkins, said Brown “has never, ever been a violent person, ever” and that she does not believe in the cycle of violence. Brown described his relationship with Rihanna as having been like Romeo and Juliet during widespread media reports of the domestic violence case, and that it was the media that drove them apart following news of the assault. He said he did not remember assaulting Rihanna but realized it occurred and is sorry for his actions that night. Following criticism of saying he did not remember, Brown later said in a statement, “Of course I remember what happened. Several times during the interview, my mother said that I came to her right afterwards and told her everything.” Brown said despite this, “[that night] was and still is a blur”. Earlier in the Larry King Live interview, he said that it is “tough” for him to look at the famous photograph released of Rihanna’s battered face, which may be the one image to haunt and define him forever, and that he still loves her. “I’m pretty sure we can always be friends,” said Brown, “and I don’t know about our relationship, but I just know definitely that we ended as friends.” In addition, he stated he does not feel that his career is over.
Brown appeared on the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 for an in-depth interview airing December 4, 2009. In the interview, which was conducted by Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, Brown further discussed his assault of Rihanna. In June 2010, Brown’s application for a visa to enter the UK was refused on the grounds of him “being guilty of a serious criminal offence.” Brown had been planning to do a tour of British cities as part of a European tour but Sony stated that due to “issues surrounding his work visa” the tour was to be postponed. The British Home Office confirmed that Brown was refused permission on the grounds of being guilty of a serious criminal offence – his assault on ex-girlfriend Rihanna.
On March 22, 2011, after his first performance of “Yeah 3x” and a contentious interview with Roberts on Good Morning America at the Times Square Studios where he was asked about the Rihanna situation and restraining order, Brown allegedly became violent in his dressing room during a commercial break before his second performance ending that day’s program, and threw an object at a window overlooking Times Square, causing damage to the window. Brown then took off his shirt and after several angry confrontations with the segment producer, other show staff and building security, left the building shirtless. Following the incident, Brown left a message on Twitter saying, “I’m so over people bring this past s**t up!! Yet we praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs for there[sic] bulls**t.” It was deleted moments later.
- 2006: Up Close and Personal Tour
- 2007: The UCP Exclusive Tour
- 2009: Fan Appreciation Tour
- 2011: F.A.M.E. Tour
|2006||Christmas in Washington||Himself||television special (TNT)|
|2007||Chris Brown: Journey to South Africa||Himself||Documentary film of Brown’s first trip to Africa (SABC 1)|
|2007||The O.C.||Will Tutt||three episodes|
|2008||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Himself||guest star|
|2007||Stomp the Yard||Duron||small role/film debut|
|This Christmas||Michael ‘Baby’ Whitfield||main role|
|2010||Takers||Jesse Attica||Executive Producer|
|2012||Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man|
- List of artists who reached number one in the United States
- List of awards and nominations received by Chris Brown
- List of number-one hits (United States)