Born in Tappahannock, Virginia, he was involved in his church choir and several local talent shows from a young age. Having signed with Jive Records in 2004, Brown released his self-titled debut studio album the following year, which became certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). With his first single "Run It!" peaking atop the Billboard Hot 100, Brown became the first male artist since 1995 to have his debut single top the chart. His second album, Exclusive (2007), reached an even bigger commercial success worldwide, also spawning his second Billboard Hot 100 number one "Kiss Kiss". In 2009, Brown pled guilty to felony assault of his then girlfriend, singer Rihanna. In the same year of the episode there was the release of his third album Graffiti, which was considered to be a commercial failure compared to his previous works. Following Graffiti, Brown's fourth album F.A.M.E. (2011) became one of his biggest successes, being his first to top the Billboard 200, containing internationally successful singles such as "Yeah 3x", "Look at Me Now" and "Beautiful People", also earning him the Grammy Award for Best RB Album. His fifth album Fortune, released in 2012, also topped the Billboard 200.
Following the releases of X and Royalty, his 2017 critically acclaimed eighth studio album, and first double-disc, Heartbreak on a Full Moon, consisting of 45 tracks, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over 500,000 units after one week, and in 2019 it has been certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Brown's ninth studio album Indigo was released in 2019, and became his third Billboard 200 number-one album. It included the Drake featured track "No Guidance" which peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its chart success was outdone with the single "Go Crazy" released the following year, alongside Young Thug as part of their collaborative mixtape Slime B (2020). The track reached number 3 on the Hot 100.
Brown has sold over 140 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling music artists. Throughout his career, Brown has won several awards, including a Grammy Award, eighteen BET Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, and thirteen Soul Train Music Awards. According to Billboard, Brown has the seventh most Billboard Hot 100 entries with 106. Regarded to be an icon and sex symbol, Brown's personal life has been publicized. Following his felony domestic assault of his ex-girlfriend Rihanna, which happened in 2009, his legal troubles were particularly highlighted by yellow journalism. Brown has also pursued an acting career. In 2007, he made his on-screen feature film debut in Stomp the Yard, and appeared as a guest on the television series The O.C. Other films Brown has appeared in include This Christmas (2007), Takers (2010), Think Like a Man (2012), and Battle of the Year (2013).
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. He has an older sister, Lytrell Bundy, who works in a bank. Music was always present in Brown's life beginning in his childhood. He would listen to soul albums that his parents owned, and eventually began to show interest in the hip-hop scene.
Brown taught himself to sing and dance at a young age and often cites Michael Jackson as his inspiration. He began to perform in his church choir and in several local talent shows. When he mimicked an Usher performance of "My Way", his mother recognized his vocal talent, and they began to look for the opportunity of a record deal. At the same time, Brown was going through personal issues. His parents had divorced, and his mother's boyfriend terrified him by subjecting her to domestic violence.
2002–2004: Career beginnings
At age 13, Brown was discovered by Hitmission Records, a local production team that 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, under the name of "C. Sizzle", and approached contacts in New York, where Brown started to sojourn, to seek a record deal. Brown attended Essex High School in Virginia until late 2004, when he moved to New York to pursue his music career. Tina Davis, senior AR executive at Def Jam Recordings, was impressed when Brown auditioned in her New York office, and 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 that day, but Brown refused his proposal. "I knew that Chris had real talent," says Davis. "I just knew I wanted to be part of it."
The negotiations with Def Jam continued for two months, and ended when Davis lost her job due to a corporate merger. Brown asked her to be his manager, and once Davis accepted, she promoted the singer to other 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 huge 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 chose Jive due to its successful work with then-young acts such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Brown stated, "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." Brown said that during his permanence in Harlem, when he was trying to get his music heard by major labels, his artistic intention was to both rap and sing on his records, but Jive convinced him to stick to just singing, because he said that "it wasn't acceptable yet" for an RB singer to also rap on records.
2005–2006: Chris Brown and acting debut
Main article: Chris Brown (album)
Brown performing at KISS 106.1 Seattle Jingle Bell Bash 8, December 4, 2005
After signing to Jive Records in 2004, Brown began recording his self-titled debut studio album 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, Sean Garrett and Jazze Pha among them—commenting that they "really believed in [him]". Brown co-wrote half of the 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 album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 154,000 copies. Chris Brown was a commercial success with the time; selling over three million copies in the United States—where it was certified three times platinum by the RIAA—and six 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 additional 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. Brown has made appearances on UPN's One on One and The N's Brandon T. Jackson Show on its pilot episode.
Main article: Exclusive (album)
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, 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.