Avril Lavigne

Born: September 27, 1984 (age 28), Belleville, Canada
Height: 5' 1" (1.55 m)
Spouse: Deryck Whibley (m. 2006–2010)
Siblings: Michelle Lavigne, Matthew Lavigne

Avril Ramona Lavigne was born 27 September 1984 is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent most of her youth in the small town of Napanee. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million. In 2002, when she was 17 years old, Lavigne broke onto the music scene with her debut album Let Go. Since her professional debut, she has become one of the most successful artists in the world, selling more than 30 million albums and over 50 million singles worldwide.

Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She was born in Belleville, Ontario, but spent most of her youth in the small town of Napanee.

Lavigne branched out from recording music, pursuing careers in feature film acting and designing clothes and perfumes. She voiced a character in the animated film Over the Hedge in 2006. That same year, she made her on-screen feature film debut in Fast Food Nation. In 2008, Lavigne introduced her clothing line, Abbey Dawn, and in 2009, she released her first perfume, Black Star, which was followed by her second perfume, Forbidden Rose, in 2010 and her third perfume, Wild Rose, in 2011. In July 2006, Lavigne married her boyfriend of two years, Deryck Whibley, lead singer and guitarist for Sum 41. The marriage lasted a little over three years, and in October 2009, Lavigne filed for divorce. Whibley and Lavigne continued to work together, with Whibley producing her fourth album, as well as Lavigne's single, "Alice", written for Tim Burton's film Alice in Wonderland.

Let Go made Lavigne the youngest female soloist to reach number 1 in the UK. As of 2013, it has sold nearly 7 million copies in the United States and over 17 million copies worldwide. Her breakthrough single, "Complicated", peaked at number 1 in many countries around the world, as did the album Let Go. Her second album, Under My Skin, was released in 2004 and was her first album to peak at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, eventually selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The Best Damn Thing, Lavigne’s third album, was released in 2007, becoming her third number 1 album in the UK Albums Chart and featuring her first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number 1 single, "Girlfriend". Lavigne has scored six number-one singles worldwide, including "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi", "I'm with You", "My Happy Ending", "Nobody's Home", and "Girlfriend". Lavigne is one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 11 million copies certified by the RIAA. Her fourth studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, was released in March 2011. Goodbye Lullaby gave Lavigne her fourth top 10 album on the U.S. Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart and her third number 1 album in both Japan and Australia. Three months after the release of Goodbye Lullaby, Lavigne began work on her fifth album, which will be released on Epic Records following her departure from RCA Records.

Early life

Avril Ramona Lavigne was born in Belleville, Ontario. Her father, Jean-Claude Joseph Lavigne, named her "Avril" after the French word for the month of April. At the age of two, she began singing church songs with her mother, Judith-Rosanne "Judy" (née Loshaw). Judy recognized her two-year-old daughter's talents after hearing her sing "Jesus Loves Me" in church. Lavigne has an older brother, Matthew, and a younger sister, Michelle, both of whom teased her when she sang. "My brother used to knock on the wall because I used to sing myself to sleep and he thought it was really annoying."

By 2013, Lavigne would go on to sell more than 50 million singles and 30 million copies of her albums worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling artists releasing albums in the U.S., with over 10.25 million copies certified by the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named Lavigne the number 10 pop artist in the "Best of the 2000s" chart. She was listed as the 28th overall best act of the decade based on album and single chart performance in the U.S.

In 1999, Lavigne won a radio contest to perform with fellow Canadian singer Shania Twain at the Corel Centre (now Scotiabank Place) in Ottawa, before an audience of 20,000 people. Twain and Lavigne sang "What Made You Say That", and Lavigne told Twain that she was going to be "a famous singer". During a performance with the Lennox Community Theatre, Lavigne was spotted by local folksinger Stephen Medd. He invited her to contribute vocals on his song, "Touch the Sky", for his 1999 album, Quinte Spirit. She later sang on "Temple of Life" and "Two Rivers" for his follow-up album, My Window to You, in 2000. In December 1999, Lavigne was discovered by her first professional manager, Cliff Fabri, while singing country covers at a Chapters bookstore in Kingston, Ontario. Fabri sent out VHS tapes of Lavigne's home performances to several industry prospects, and Lavigne was visited by several executives.[16] Mark Jowett, co-founder of the Canadian management firm Nettwerk, received a copy of Lavigne's karaoke performances recorded in her parents' basement. Jowett arranged for Lavigne to work with Peter Zizzo during the summer of 2000 in New York, where she wrote the song "Why". Lavigne was noticed by Arista Records on a subsequent trip to New York.

When Lavigne was five years old, the family moved to Napanee, Ontario,a town with a population of approximately 5,000. Although she struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder  and was sometimes kicked out of class for misbehaving as a child, her parents supported her singing. Her father bought her a microphone, a drum kit, a keyboard, and several guitars, and converted their basement into a studio. When Lavigne was 14, her parents would take her to karaoke sessions Lavigne also performed at country fairs, singing songs by Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain. She also began writing her own songs. Her first song was called "Can't Stop Thinking About You", about a teenage crush, which she described as "cheesy cute".

Public image

Lavigne eventually took on a more gothic style as she began her second album, Under My Skin, trading her skating outfits for black tutus and earning an image marked by angst. During The Best Damn Thing years, Lavigne changed directions. She dyed her hair blonde with a pink streak, wore feminine outfits, including "tight jeans and heels",and modelled for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar. Lavigne defended her new style: "I don't really regret anything. You know, the ties and the wife-beaters and all... It had its time and place. And now I'm all grown up, and I've moved on". She now tries to eat healthy foods and practises yoga, soccer, surfing, rollerblading, and street hockey.

When Lavigne first gained publicity, she was known for her tomboyish style, in particular her necktie-and-tank-top combinations. She preferred baggy clothes, skater shoes or Converses, wristbands, and sometimes shoelaces wrapped around her fingers. During photo shoots, instead of wearing "glittery get-ups", she preferred wearing "old, crumpled T's". In response to her fashion and musical influences, the media would call her the "pop punk princess". Press and fans regarded her as the "anti-Britney", in part because of her less commercial and "real" image, but also because she was noticeably headstrong. "I’m not made up and I’m not being told what to say and how to act, so they have to call me the anti-Britney, which I’m not." By November 2002, however, Lavigne stopped wearing ties, claiming she felt she was "wearing a costume". Lavigne made a conscious effort to keep her music, and not her image, at the forefront of her career. "I'm just saying, I don't want to sell sex. I feel that's sort of lame and low. I've got so much more to say."

Britney Spears

Born: December 2, 1981 (age 31), McComb, Mississippi, United States
Children: Sean Federline, Jayden James Federline
Movies and TV shows: The X Factor (U.S.), Crossroads, More
Spouse: Kevin Federline (m. 2004–2007), Jason Allen Alexander (m. 2004–2004)

Britney Jean Spears (born December 2, 1981) is an American pop singer, dancer, actress, and occasional author. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, she performed acting roles in stage productions and television shows as a child before signing with Jive Records in 1997. 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. Spears's first and second studio albums ...Baby One More Time (1999) and Oops!... I Did It Again (2000) became international successes, with the former becoming the best-selling album by a teenage solo artist.[1] Title tracks "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" broke international sales records. In 2001, Spears released her third album Britney and played the starring role in the film Crossroads. She assumed creative control of her fourth album In the Zone (2003), which yielded the worldwide success "Toxic".

Britney Jean Spears is an American pop singer, dancer, actress, and occasional author. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, she performed acting roles in stage productions.

Spears was established as a pop icon and credited with influencing the revival of teen pop during the late 1990s. She became the 'best-selling teenaged artist of all time' before she turned 20, garnering her honorific titles such as "Princess of Pop". Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including a Grammy Award, six MTV Video Music Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award, nine 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) named Spears as the eighth top-selling female artist in the United States, with 34 million certified albums. Nielsen SoundScan ranked her 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 reported that Spears was the highest paid female musician of 2012, with earnings of $58 million, having last topped the list in 2002.

After the release of two compilation albums, Spears's personal struggles sent her career into hiatus. Her fifth album Blackout (2007) spawned hits "Gimme More" and "Piece of Me". Spears's erratic behavior and hospitalizations caused her to be placed under a conservatorship in 2008. Her sixth album Circus was released later that year, which included global chart-topping lead single "Womanizer". Its supporting tour The Circus Starring Britney Spears was the highest-grossing global concert tour in 2009. Later that October, "3" became Spears's third single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Her seventh album Femme Fatale (2011) became her first to yield three top ten singles in the United States: "Hold It Against Me", "Till the World Ends" and "I Wanna Go". In 2012, Spears was featured on will.i.am's single "Scream & Shout", which topped charts in over 24 countries. She also served as a judge during the second season of the American version of The X Factor.

Musical style

Oops!...I Did It Again and subsequent albums saw Spears working with several contemporary R&B producers, leading to "a combination of bubblegum, urban soul, and raga." Her third studio album, Britney derived from the teen pop niche, "[r]hythmically and melodically ... sharper, tougher than what came before. What used to be unabashedly frothy has some disco grit, underpinned by Spears' spunky self-determination that helps sell hooks that are already catchier, by and large, than those that populated her previous two albums." Guy Blackman of The Age wrote that while few would care to listen to an entire Spears album, "[t]he thing about Spears, though, is that her biggest songs, no matter how committee-created or impossibly polished, have always been convincing because of her delivery, her commitment and her presence. For her mostly teenage fans, Spears expresses perfectly the conflicting urges of adolescence, the tension between chastity and sexual experience, between hedonism and responsibility, between confidence and vulnerability." Since her self-titled album, Britney, Spears has explored and heavily incorporated the electropop genre in her albums, including songs from the albums Blackout and Femme Fatale.

Following her debut, Spears was credited with leading the revival of teen pop in the late 1990s. The Daily Yomiuri reported that "[m]usic critics have hailed her as the most gifted teenage pop idol for many years, but Spears has set her sights a little higher-she is aiming for the level of superstardom that has been achieved by Madonna and Janet Jackson." Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone wrote: "Britney Spears carries on the classic archetype of the rock & roll teen queen, the dungaree doll, the angel baby who just has to make a scene." Rami Yacoub who co-produced Spears's debut album with lyricist Max Martin, commented, "I know from Denniz Pop and Max's previous productions, when we do songs, there's kind of a nasal thing. With N' Sync and the Backstreet Boys, we had to push for that mid-nasal voice. When Britney did that, she got this kind of raspy, sexy voice." Following the release of her debut album, Chuck Taylor of Billboard observed, "Spears has become a consummate performer, with snappy dance moves, a clearly real-albeit young-and funkdified voice ... "(You Drive Me) Crazy", her third single ... demonstrates Spears's own development, proving that the 17-year-old is finding her own vocal personality after so many months of steadfast practice."[166] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic referred to her music as a "blend of infectious, rap-inflected dance-pop and smooth balladry."[167] Spears later commented, "With ...Baby One More Time, I didn't get to show my voice off. The songs were great, but they weren't very challenging".

Katy Perry

Born: October 25, 1984 (age 28), Santa Barbara, California, United States
Height: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
Movies and TV shows: The Smurfs, The Smurfs 2, More
Parents: Keith Hudson, Mary Perry

Katheryn Elizabeth "Katy" Hudson[1] (born October 25, 1984), known by her stage name Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, businesswoman, and actress. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Having had very little exposure to mainstream pop music in her childhood, she pursued a career in gospel music as a teen and released her debut self-titled studio album. She also recorded a second solo album which never received release. In 2007, she signed with Capitol Records and adopted her current stage name.

Katheryn Elizabeth "Katy" Hudson, known by her stage name Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, businesswoman, and actress. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. 

Perry has received numerous awards and nominations. She has also been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and was named by Billboard as 2012's Woman of the Year. She remains the only artist to spend 69 consecutive weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100. She has ventured into celebrity endorsement and released fragrances Purr, Meow and Killer Queen. She made her film debut voicing Smurfette in The Smurfs (2011). Perry was ranked at number fourteen on Billboard's list of top moneymakers of 2011, grossing more than $11 million.[5] She was spotlighted in her own 3D autobiographical film Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012), which concentrated on her life as a touring artist and the breakdown of her one-year marriage to English comedian Russell Brand.

Her commercial breakthrough came when she released her first mainstream studio album One of the Boys (2008). This was preceded by the release of her single "I Kissed a Girl". Other singles included "Hot n Cold", "Thinking of You" and "Waking Up in Vegas". She embarked on the Hello Katy Tour in support of the album. She followed this up with her second studio effort Teenage Dream which was an instant commercial success, topping the album charts in several countries. It spawned five number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100—"California Gurls", "Teenage Dream", "Firework", "E.T." and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"; it became the first album in history recorded by a female artist to achieve this, and the second album after Michael Jackson's Bad (1987). In support of the album, she embarked on the California Dreams Tour. Teenage Dream was re-released in March 2012 as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection which spawned an additional number one, "Part of Me".

Early life

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born in Santa Barbara, California[6] to devout Pentecostal pastors Keith Hudson and Mary Perry. She is the second of their three children. She has an older sister named Angela Hudson and a younger brother named David Hudson.[8] Mary's half-brother was director Frank Perry.

As a child, Perry attended Christian schools and camps. She was incorporated into her parents' ministry, singing in the church between the ages of nine and seventeen.She grew up listening to gospel music, and in an interview she said, "Growing up I wasn’t really allowed to listen to a whole lot of what my mom would call, secular music," She learned how to dance in a recreation building in Santa Barbara. She was taught by seasoned dancers and began with swing, Lindy Hop, and jitterbug. She took her GED during her freshman year at Dos Pueblos High School and decided to leave school in the pursuit of a career in music. Perry initially started singing "because [she] was at that point in [her] childhood where  was copycatting [her] sister and everything she [would do]." Her sister Angela practiced with cassette tapes, while Perry took the tapes herself when her sister was not around. She rehearsed the songs and performed them in front of her parents, who suggested she take vocal coaching. She grabbed the opportunity and began taking lessons at the age of nine and continued until she was sixteen.

Public image

Perry was ranked 7th in Rolling Stone's global Queen of Pop poll in July 2011. Men's Health dubbed her the "sexiest woman of 2013". She is known for her sex appeal. and unconventional style of dress. It is often humorous, bright in color, reminiscent of different decades, and often includes candy-related themes such as her trademark peppermint swirl bra. Her transformation into an artist began with fashion, inspired by American film actress Dominique Swain's portrayal in the 1997 film Lolita. She defines her fashion style as "a bit of a concoction of different things". Her fashion has caught the attention of designers.

She is also known for charity and volunteering, such as working with UNICEF in early April 2013 to assist children in Madagascar with education and nutrition. Later that month, she appeared in a video clip for the "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment.

Perry is a gay activist. According to Dosomething.org, she voted no on Prop 8 (California’s Nov. 4, 2008, amendment declaring that marriage is defined as a union solely between a man and a woman. Through Twitter and by performing at his rallies, the singer supported President Barack Obama in his run for re-election in 2012 due to his stance on same-sex marriage, and believing in "equal rights for all"

In June 2008, a photo of her posing with a switchblade was criticized. The picture was defended as only an effort to give her a "sexy, harder edge". She later posed with a spoon, mocking the criticism.

Demi Lovato

Born: August 20, 1992 (age 20), Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Height: 5' 3" (1.61 m)
Parents: Dianna Hart, Patrick Lovato
Siblings: Dallas Lovato, Madison De La Garza

Demetria Devonne "Demi" Lovato (born August 20, 1992) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actress. She made her debut as child actress in Barney & Friends. In 2008, she came to prominence as a starring cast member in the television film Camp Rock. She signed to Hollywood Records the same year, and released her debut studio album Don't Forget in September. It has been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 2009, Lovato was commissioned her own television series Sonny with a Chance. That year, her second album Here We Go Again became her first to debut to top the U.S. Billboard 200.

Demetria Devonne "Demi" Lovato is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actress. She made her debut as child actress in Barney & Friends. In 2008, she came to prominence as a starring cast member in the television film Camp Rock.

Throughout her music career, Lovato has embarked on several concert tours. In 2008, she served as the opening act for the Jonas Brothers' Burnin' Up Tour and Avril Lavigne's Best Damn Tour. Later that year, she embarked her first headlining tour, the Demi Live! Warm Up Tour, and has held four additional promotional tours in the ensuing years. Her work has additionally earned several accolades, including one MTV Video Music Award and several Teen Choice Awards nominations. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Lovato is involved in philanthropic activities through charity work and various social and environmental causes.

After the release of additional television films and their accompanying soundtracks in 2010, Lovato's personal struggles the following year sent her acting career into hiatus. Her third album Unbroken (2011) addresses several of her difficulties, notably her lead single "Skyscraper". Since 2012, Lovato has served as a judge and mentor on the American version of The X Factor. Her fourth album Demi (2013) was preceded by its lead single "Heart Attack".

Early life and career beginnings

Lovato was born on August 20, 1992, in Albuquerque, New Mexico to parents Dianna Hart de la Garza, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and country singer, and Patrick Lovato. She has an older sister, Dallas, a younger half-sister, actress Madison De La Garza, and an older half-sister whom she first spoke to when she was 20. She is of Mexican, Irish, and Italian descent. Raised in Dallas, Texas, Lovato, alongside eventual friend Selena Gomez, began her acting career on the children's television series Barney & Friends portraying Angela at the age of 7. She started playing piano at the age of seven and guitar at the age of ten, at which time she also enrolled in dancing and acting classes.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Lovato revealed that she was bullied so severely that she requested a home-schooled education. Lovato earned a high school diploma through homeschooling in April 2009. She later became a spokesperson for anti-bullying organization PACER and appeared on America's Next Top Model to speak out against bullying. Lovato had suffered from eating disorders and self-mutilation of her wrists to cope with her emotions and depression. In 2006, she appeared on Prison Break, and she was on Just Jordan the following year.


Lovato possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range and her vocals have been met with positive responses from music critics. Nick Levine of Digital Spy commented that her vocals on Don't Forget were "consistently impressive". Singer and producer Ryan Tedder who worked on Unbroken said that "Demi blew me out of the water vocally! I had no idea how good her voice is. She's one of the best singers I've ever worked with. Literally, that good... I mean, she's a Kelly Clarkson-level vocalist. And Kelly has a set of pipes." Becky Brain of Idolator wrote Lovato has a "killer voice and the A-list material to put it to good use".The Hollywood Reporter writer Sophie Schillaci stated she "has a voice that can silence even the harshest of critics. Something not often found in her peers."

Public image

Lovato is a Christian and prays with her band before they perform.[8] She has described herself as very spiritual rather than very religious and confirmed her belief in God. She is best friends with Selena Gomez, whom she met at the auditions for Barney & Friends. Lovato was a vegetarian, but since entering treatment, has started eating meat.

On December 23, 2011, Lovato posted a message on Twitter criticizing her former network for airing episodes of Shake It Up and So Random! which featured characters making jokes about eating disorders. Disney Channel publicity officials quickly took action and apologized to Lovato, then removed those episodes from the network's airing cycle and video on demand sources, after further criticism in the wake of Lovato's message to the network's public relations account. In January 2013, it was reported that Lovato had been residing in a sober living facility in Los Angeles for more than a year, including during her judging stint on The X Factor. She reportedly decided to move there shortly after her release from rehab in 2011 because she felt it was the best way to avoid returning to her addictions and eating disorder.

Lovato stated that she has no interest in having a relationship with her estranged father Patrick; she wrote the song "For the Love of a Daughter" about him, which was reportedly prompted by a series of interviews given by her father to benefit himself from her fame.

In March 2009, Lovato commented "My first passion is music, because it comes naturally to me. Acting has been like a hobby." In 2010, Lovato briefly dated Joe Jonas. Later that year, on her eighteenth birthday, she bought her family a 2.25 million Mediterranean-style house in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles; she described giving to her family as the "best present" she had received. Lovato also purchased their current $1.88 million home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles when she was 16.

One Direction

Active from: 2010
Albums: Take Me Home, Up All Night, Wishing on a Star, Live While We're Young
Members: Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik
Awards: MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist, More
Record labels: Syco, Columbia, Syco Music

One Direction are an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, consisting of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson. They signed with Simon Cowell's record label Syco Records after being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of the British televised singing competition The X Factor in 2010. Propelled to international success by the power of social media, their two albums Up All Night and Take Me Home, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively, broke several records, topped the charts of most major markets, and generated hit singles, including "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Live While We're Young".

One Direction are an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, consisting of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson.

Often described as forming part of a new "British Invasion" in the United States, the group have sold over 14 million singles and 8 million albums, according to the band's management company, Modest! Management. Their achievements include two BRIT Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. According to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, One Direction represented a $50 million business empire by June 2012. They were proclaimed 2012's "Top New Artist" by Billboard.

Musical style

One Direction's debut studio album, Up All Night (2011), is predominantly a pop music record, containing elements of teen pop, dance-pop, pop rock, and power pop, with electropop and rock influences. Digital Spy's Robert Copsey described the album as a "collection of pg pop rock with killer choruses", while The New York Times considered it "full of easy rock-inflected pop, blithe and sometimes clever." Jason Lipshutz of Billboard acknowledged that the album demonstrates an originality in sound that was "necessary for the revitalization of the boy band movement". The songs "One Thing" and "What Makes You Beautiful" were particularly noted for the genres of power pop and pop rock, for their "powerhouse" guitar riffs and "forceful" choruses.

Erica Futterman for Rolling Stone favoured their live acoustic performances as both showing, "Horan's ability to play guitar, as well as One Direction's admirable live vocals. There was no need to worry about a backing track or a bum note, a pleasant realization at a pop show." Herald Sun's Cameron Adams opined that One Direction have "strong pop voices". Melody Lau of the National Post wrote, "It's easy to get lost in inherent appeal of their perfectly coiffed dos and almost-too-put-together preppy style but somewhere in the midst of all the love-struck squeals of teenage girls are guys who can actually sing and, to a certain extent, entertain." Jane Stevenson of the portal site Canoe concurred: "What I didn't really prepare myself for was that they all can actually sing in concert." Chris Richards, writing in The Washington Post, dissented from the approval: "As the five traded couplets, it was tough to imagine a future Justin Timberlake, Ricky Martin or Bobby Brown emerging from the pack. No one voice stood out." Mike Wass of Idolator felt One Direction's "surprisingly accomplished effort" of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" proved that One Direction are "more than capable" of evolving their sound.

Their second studio album, Take Me Home (2012), is characterised by rock-inherited pop, prominent electric guitar riffs, bright synthesizers, double entendres for sexual intercourse, a homogeneous sound and message, and the pitch-correcting software Auto-Tune. Alexis Petridis for The Guardian interpreted its signature sound as a "peppy, synth-bolstered take on early-80s new-wave pop, heavy on clipped rhythms and chugging guitars," which, he said, is at least an improvement on the substitute R&B "that was once the grim lot of the boyband." Jon Caramanica, writing in The New York Times, considered the album "far more mechanical" than their debut album, although noted that it is sonically and lyrically similar. The album's lyricism speaks of falling in love, unrequited love, the insistence that flaws are what make a person unique, commitment, jealousy and longing for past significant others.


Sonny Takhar, the chief executive officer of Syco Records, attributes the breakthrough to the power of social media. "Sometimes you feel the song's the star, but it's not like that here – it's the act," he said. "It's a real moment. Social media has become the new radio, it's never broken an act globally like this before." Will Bloomfield, the group's manager, added, "These guys live online, and so do their fans." Their management employs a social media team and the members all tweet themselves, "which helps create the illusion that they couldn't be any closer to their fans," according to Caspar Llewellyn Smith, writing for The Guardian.[103] One Direction's Twitter account had amassed 10 million followers by February 2013, with the account gaining followers at an average of 21,000 per day. Each member is known for his feature; Horan is "the cute one", Malik is "the quiet and mysterious one", Payne is "the sensible one", Styles is "the charming one" and Tomlinson is "the funny one". Horan commented on One Direction as a boy band, "People think that a boy band is air-grabs and [being] dressed in all one colour. We're boys in a band. We're trying to do something different from what people would think is the typical kind of boy band. We're trying to do different kinds of music and we're just trying to be ourselves, not squeaky clean." Leah Collins, writing for the National Post, remarked that One Direction had succeeded on the latter front, "For the most part, that just means the group presents themselves as typical, goofy and uncensored teenage boys – posting jokey YouTube videos, for instance, or boozing at awards shows." Writing for The Observer, Kitty Empire opined, "One Direction fulfil a great many boy band prerequisites (looks, soppy lyrics, tune-grasp, fame-lust) but their lack of routines points to the subtle digressions afoot here".

Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph published an article on the nature of One Direction's success in North America, noting that Americans had left a gap in the market, writing that it took the prominence of Justin Bieber to demonstrate that there was still a market for "clean cut, wholesome, whiter-than-white, middle class parent friendly pop: cute boys advocating puppy love. And what could be better than one cute boy, if not five?" One Direction have been described as sparking a resurgence in the interest in boy bands, and as forming part of a new "British Invasion" in the United States. Bill Werde, a representative of Billboard magazine, commented, "There's a lot of possibility here, there's a lot of upside, that level of talent with those kinds of looks, it's really a perfect storm for a massive, massive successful phenomenon."

Taylor Swift

Born: December 13, 1989 (age 23), Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Height: 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Parents: Andrea Finlay, Scott Kingsley Swift
Siblings: Austin Swift

Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter. Raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of fourteen to pursue a career in country music.

Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter. Raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of fourteen to pursue a career in country music. She signed to the independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift's eponymous debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. "Our Song", her third single, made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number one song on the country chart. She received a Best New Artist nomination at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

Swift is known for her narrative songs about her experiences as a teenager and young adult. As a songwriter, she has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Swift's other achievements include seven Grammy Awards, eleven American Music Awards, seven Country Music Association Awards and six Academy of Country Music Awards. She has sold over 26 million albums and 75 million digital downloads worldwide. In addition to her music career, Swift has appeared as an actress in the crime drama CSI (2009), the ensemble comedy Valentine's Day (2010) and the animated film The Lorax (2012). Forbes estimates that she is worth over $165 million. As a philanthropist, Swift supports arts education, children's literacy, natural disaster relief, LGBT anti-discrimination efforts, and charities for sick children.

Swift's second album, Fearless, was released in 2008. Buoyed by the pop crossover success of the singles "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me", Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 and was supported by an extensive concert tour. The record won four Grammy Awards, with Swift becoming the youngest ever Album of the Year winner. Swift's third album, 2010's Speak Now, sold over one million copies in its first week of US release and was supported by the Speak Now World Tour. The album's third single, "Mean", won two Grammy Awards. Swift's fourth album, Red, was released in 2012. Its opening US sales of 1.2 million were the highest recorded in a decade, with Swift becoming the only female artist to have two million-plus opening weeks. The singles "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" were worldwide hits. The North American leg of Swift's Red Tour will run until September 2013.

Early life

Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her father, Scott Kingsley Swift, is a Merrill Lynch financial adviser. He was raised in Pennsylvania, and is the descendant of three generations of bank presidents. Her mother, Andrea (née Finlay), is a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. Andrea spent the first ten years of her life in Singapore, before settling in Texas; her father was an oil rig engineer who worked throughout Southeast Asia. Swift was given a gender-neutral name because her mother believed it would help her forge a successful business career. She has a younger brother, Austin, who attends the University of Notre Dame. She spent the early years of her life on an eleven-acre Christmas tree farm in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She attended preschool and kindergarten at the Alvernia Montessori School, run by Franciscan nuns, and was later educated at the Wyndcroft School, a co-ed private school located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. When Swift was nine years old, the family moved to Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, where she attended West Reading Elementary Center and Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School. She summered at her parents' beachfront vacation home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and has described it as the place "where most of my childhood memories were formed".

When Swift was fourteen, her father transferred to the Nashville office of Merrill Lynch and the family relocated to a lakefront house in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Swift later described this as "an incredible sacrifice" for her family to make. "My parents saw that I was so obsessed, that I wasn't going to drop it, that it wasn't some adolescent phase." In Tennessee, she attended Hendersonville High School for her freshman and sophomore years. Later, to accommodate her touring schedule, Swift transferred to the Aaron Academy, a private Christian school which offered homeschooling services. She earned her high school diploma in 2008, having completed her final two years of course work in twelve months.

After watching a Behind the Music episode about Faith Hill, Swift felt sure that she needed to go to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a music career. At the age of eleven, she traveled with her mother to Nashville for spring break to leave a demo of Dolly Parton and Dixie Chicks karaoke covers with record labels along Music Row. She received label rejections and realized that "everyone in that town wanted to do what I wanted to do. So, I kept thinking to myself, I need to figure out a way to be different". At the age of twelve, Swift was shown by a computer repairman how to play three chords on a guitar, inspiring her to write her first song, "Lucky You". She had previously won a national poetry contest with a poem entitled "Monster in My Closet" but now began to focus on songwriting. In 2003, Swift and her parents started working with New York-based music manager Dan Dymtrow. With Dymtrow's help, Swift modelled for Abercrombie and Fitch as part of their "Rising Stars" campaign, had an original song included in a Maybelline Cosmetics compilation CD and took meetings with major record labels. After performing original songs at an RCA Records showcase, the eighth-grader was given an artist development deal and began making frequent trips to Nashville.

Swift's family owned several Quarter horses and a Shetland pony and her first hobby was English horse riding. Her mother first put her in a saddle when she was nine months old and she later competed in horse shows. At the age of nine, Swift became interested in musical theatre. She performed in many Berks Youth Theatre Academy productions and traveled regularly to Broadway, New York for vocal and acting lessons. Swift then turned her attention to country music and spent her weekends performing at local festivals, fairs, coffeehouses, karaoke contests, garden clubs, Boy Scout meetings and sporting events. At the age of eleven, after many failed attempts, Swift won a local talent competition by singing a rendition of LeAnn Rimes's "Big Deal", and was given the opportunity to appear as the opening act for Charlie Daniels at a Strausstown amphitheater. This growing ambition began to isolate Swift from her middle school peers.

Beyoncé Knowles

Born: September 4, 1981 (age 31), Houston, Texas, United States
Height: 5' 7" (1.69 m)
Parents: Mathew Knowles, Tina Knowles
Siblings: Solange Knowles, Nixon Knowles

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, also known simply as Beyoncé, is an American singer, songwriter and actress.

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, also known simply as Beyoncé was born September 4, 1981, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas and performing in singing and dancing competitions as a child, she began her music career as lead singer of R&B girlgroup Destiny's Child. Managed by her father Mathew Knowles, the group became one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. Their hiatus saw the release of Knowles' debut album Dangerously in Love (2003), which established the singer as a viable solo artist worldwide, selling 11 million copies, earned five Grammy Awards and featured the Billboard number one singles "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy".

A self-described "modern day feminist", Knowles' songs are often characterized by themes of love, relationships and monogamy, as well as female sexuality and empowerment. On stage, she has attracted comparisons to entertainers Tina Turner, Prince and Michael Jackson for her dynamic, highly choreographed performances. Throughout a career spanning 15 years, she has won 17 Grammy Awards, and has sold over 13 million albums in the US and 118 million records worldwide (as well as a further 60 million records with Destiny's Child), making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America recognized Knowles as the Top Certified Artist of the 2000s.In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade,the Top Female Artist, and the fourth Artist of the Decade. In 2013, she was also included in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, she released her second solo album B'Day (2006), which contained hits "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar". Knowles also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe nominated performance in Dreamgirls (2006), and starring roles in The Pink Panther (2006) and Obsessed (2009). Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z and portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008) influenced her third album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the birth of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned her a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". Knowles took a hiatus from music in 2010, took over management of her career and explored 1970s R&B, rock and roll, and African and funk styles. As a result, her fourth album 4 (2011) deviated towards a more traditional R&B sound. In January 2012, Knowles gave birth to a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.

Early life

Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Mathew Knowles, a Xerox sales manager and Tina Knowles (née Beyincé), a hairdresser and salon owner. Mathew is African American; Tina, a Louisiana Creole, has African, French, Irish, and Native American ancestry, and is a descendant of Acadian leader Joseph Broussard. Beyoncé's name is a tribute to her mother's maiden name. She is the elder sister of Solange Knowles, also a singer, songwriter, and actress.

Aged eight, Knowles and childhood friend Kelly Rowland met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They were placed into a group with three other girls as "Girl's Tyme", and performed rapping and dancing on the talent show circuit in Houston. After seeing the group, R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his Northern California studio and placed them in Star Search, the largest talent show on national TV at the time. Girl's Tyme failed to win, with Knowles later saying the song they performed was not good. In 1995 Knowles' father resigned from his job to manage the group. The move reduced Knowles' family's income by half, and her parents were forced to move into separated apartments. Mathew cut the original lineup to four and the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups. Tina designed their costumes until the group split. The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, moving to Atlanta Records briefly to work on their first recording, only to be cut by the company. This put further strain on the family, and Knowles' parents separated. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins's Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, the girls began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, the Knowleses reunited, and shortly after, the group got a contract with Columbia Records.

Knowles was educated at St. Mary's Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when her dance instructor began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Knowles' interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show aged seven, singing John Lennon's "Imagine" to beat 15 and 16-year-olds. In fall of 1990, Knowles enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform with the school's choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. Knowles was also a member of the choir at St. John's United Methodist Church for two years, performing as a soloist.