Christopher Maurice Brown (born May 5, 1989) is an American recording artist 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 to have his debut single top the chart. 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 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.
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. In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault for his involvement in an altercation with singer Rihanna, and was sentenced to five years probation and six months of community service.
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 who works in a bank. Since his childhood, music was something which always had been present in Brown's life, though none of his familiars were related to music; 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, 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 claims his mother's boyfriend made the singer 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 who visited his father's gas station while searching for new talent. The singer then, moved to New York. In 2004, Tina Davis—then-senior A&R executive at Def Jam Recordings—discovered him while he was working with some local producers. She 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. Davis accepted, starting to "promote" the singer to labels such as Jive Records, J-Records and Warner Bros. Records. He 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."
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, being released on November 29, 2005. Self-titled Chris Brown, it 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 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 $50,000 in ticket proceeds from Brown's 2006 "Up Close & Personal" tour. Brown was also the opening act for R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles on the Australian leg of her The Beyoncé Experience tour.
Brown has made appearances on UPN's One on One and The N's 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. Brown then made his film debut in Stomp the Yard, alongside Ne-Yo, Meagan Good and Columbus Short in January 2007. Brown next appeared in This Christmas, a family drama starring Regina King, released on November 21, 2007. 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. Brown also guest-starred on Disney's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as himself. Brown is expected to star in the basketball drama film Phenom.
Shortly after ending his summer tour with Ne-Yo, Brown quickly began production for his second studio album, Exclusive, which was released in November 2007. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, selling 294,000 copies in its first week. It has sold 1.9 million copies in the United States.
According to MTV News, Brown stated: "I am still going to keep it so my younger fans can continue to listen to my music, but I got a couple of joints on there that's for some of the older people." The album's first single, "Wall to Wall", debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 96, and peaked at number 79 and number 22 on the Billboard R&B and Hip-Hop Chart becoming his lowest charting song to date. "Kiss Kiss", featuring and produced by T-Pain, was released as the second single. "Kiss Kiss," became more successful surpassing the success of "Wall To Wall," reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 to become Chris' second number one single and his highest chart peak since "Run It!" in 2005.
On December 4, 2007, Brown released the third single from "Exclusive," entitled "With You", a song produced by Stargate. "With You" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and had entered the charts in various countries around the world, becoming one of Brown's most successful released to date, entering the top ten in New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, the United States, Cyprus, Ireland, France, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, and Australia.
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 support of the album, Brown embarked on his The Exclusive Holiday concert tour, visiting over thirty venues in United States. He started the tour in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 6, 2007 and concluded it on February 9, 2008 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The documented footage was released on June 3, 2008 as the double disc of Exclusive: The Forever Edition. He performed "With You" at the BET Awards '08 in June 2008. He was then joined by Ciara to dance with him to a snippet of the song "Take You Down".
Brown, alongside The Game, is featured on Nas' untitled album on "Make the World Go Round", co-produced by the The Game and Cool & Dre. He is also featured alongside Sean Garrett for Ludacris' single "What Them Girls Like" off Ludacris's album Theater of the Mind. He was also featured on T-Pain's third single "Freeze" off T-Pain's new album Thr33 Ringz. Brown was named the top artist of 2008 by Billboard magazine. Brown lent his efforts to promote the Math-A-Thon benefiting that hospital by starring as the host in a film to promote it. Brown released his single "Take You Down" in January 2009 in the UK and Ireland.
Since 2008, Brown started to work on a upcoming studio album. According with him, he will experiment a different musical direction for his new album—currently 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 and Michael [Jackson] and Stevie Wonder were. They can cross over to any genre of music." Brown expects to debut the album's lead single in early 2009's summer, while Graffiti would follow with a late-summer release.
Brown 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 plead 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 has 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, as domestic violence is believed to be a learned behavior.
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. Brown is scheduled to be formally sentenced on August 27.