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Featured Artist: CHRIS BROWN

This is the first of a series of music features we are starting here in Bay FM's blogsite. And what better way to begin this series than to highlight one of the hottest R&B artists (and also a favorite here in Bay FM) of this generation.

Our featured artist - CHRIS BROWN

Less than two years ago, he was the 16-year-old boy next door, a teenager from the small town of Tappahannock, VA (population: 2,000), with a world of talent and big dreams, fueled by the artists he grew up with, from Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder and Donnie Hathaway to Michael Jackson and Usher.

The son of Joyce Hawkins and Clinton Brown and one of two children, Chris Brown was born May 5, 1989. A dancer since the age of two, Brown was not aware of his vocal talents until the age of eleven. Before becoming a vocalist, he was interested in becoming a rapper.

At thirteen, Brown was discovered by a local production team who visited his father's gas station searching for new talent. Since then, he began his recording career and moved to New York, staying there for two years. Brown's local production team organized an audition before Def Jam Vice President Tina Davis, who currently works as his manager. At the age of 15, Brown was then sent to perform for L.A. Reid and was subsequently signed in 2004 to Jive Records. By early 2005, Brown began work for his debut album, working with the likes of Scott Storch, The Underdogs, Dre & Vidal, Bryan Michael Cox, Bow Wow, and Jermaine Dupri.

At the age of 16, he made his recording debut in late 2005 with his self-titled album, Chris Brown. The album featured the hit single "Run It!", which topped the Billboard 100, making Brown the first male artist to have his debut single go to the top.The album sold two million copies in the United States and was subsequently certified multi-platinum by the RIAA.

The album scored Brown three Billboard Awards in 2006, one of them being the most prestigious, Artist of the Year. The album has also received a nomination for a Grammy, in the Best Contemporary R&B Album category.

Brown's second studio album, Exclusive, was released worldwide in November 2007. It spawned two successful singles; his second US number one hit, "Kiss Kiss" featuring T-Pain, and "With You", which topped out at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The latest single "Forever" was released in May 2008 off the deluxe Exclusive: The Forever Edition and has so far peaked at number 2 on Billboard Hot 100. Exclusive has gone platinum, moving over one million units.

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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 topped out #3, #9 and #10 on the Hot 100 respectively. Brown has been compared due to his vocal and dance talents to renowned R&B artists such as Usher and Michael Jackson and has named both as large influences on his music.

Other than his singing career, Brown has branched into some acting. He made short appearances on UPN's One on One and The-N's The Brandon T. Jackson Show on its pilot episode. In addition, Brown landed a small role as a band geek in the fourth season of FOX's The O.C. in January 2007. Originally scheduled to guest in eight episodes, it was cut to only three, so that Brown could work on his second studio album. Brown made his big screen debut in Stomp The Yard (originally titled Steppin') alongside Ne-Yo, Meagan Good and Columbus Short in January 2007. According to TRL, Brown began filming for his second film, and first true leading role in This Christmas.

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