Formed in Des Moines, Iowa in 1995, Slipknot is a heavy metal band that consist of nine members. The current lineup is Sid Wilson, Joey Jordison, Paul Gray, Chris Fehn, Jim Root, Craig Jones, Shawn Crahan, Mick Thomson, and Corey Taylor. The band is predisposed to theatrics and every single member wears a unique and frightening mask on stage and in their videos. They released their debut self titled album in the summer of 1999 under the Roadrunner Records Label.
Though met with critical acclaim the album only managed to make it to the number fifty one position of the Billboard Top 200. Slipknot than followed it up with it’s second album “Iowa”, released in 2001 and their third album ,”Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)” in 2004. Their current album, All Hope Is Gone, is their fourth studio album and was released in 2008. It has been met both with critical and commercial accolades. In December of that year it was certified gold. Also in December 2008, Total Guitar ranked “All Hope Is Gone” as one of the “50 Best Guitar Albums of the Year”. It was the first Slipknot album to make it to the top of nine music charts.
Linkin Park is a band that was formed in Agoura Hills, California in 1996. The band consist of 6 members, Chester Bennington,Rob Bourdon,Brad Delson,Joe Hahn,Dave “Phoenix” Farrell and Mike Shinoda. They are best known for their hybrid musical style which includes influences from heavy metal, rap and alternative rock. Linkin Park’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, was released through Warner Brothers Records in October of 2000. The album was a smash hit, selling over ten million copies and becoming certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005. As of 2009, it has sold almost twenty five million copies making it the band’s best selling album as well as the best selling debut album of all time.
Their sophomore album was titled Meteora and was released in March of 2003. It has since sold fifteen million copies worldwide. Their recent album, Minutes To Midnight, was released in May 2007. It has sold over six million copies and has spawned several hit singles such as “What I’ve Done”, “Bleed It Out” and Shadow of the Day. In April of 2009, Linkin Park announced that they would be working on the soundtrack for the movie,Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. They are also currently working on a new studio record.
Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He is the youngest of seven children and started his career at the age of 11 by performing in the Jackson Five. Then in 1971 he started what would become a very successful solo career. Michael Jackson has created some of the highest grossing records of all time including Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and Off The Wall. All together he has released ten albums. During the eighties Michael Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moon walk. His highly stylized videos transformed music videos to an art form and helped popularize the fairly new music channel, MTV.
Michael Jackson is one of the most successful entertainers of all time. He has had over seven hundred and fifty million record sales worldwide and has13 Grammy Awards and 13 number one singles. Michael Jackson also has the honor of having the most expensive music video of all time. It was to the single “Scream” , directed by Mark Romanekand and co-starring his sister Janet Jackson. It cost roughly seven million dollars. In 1984 Michael Jackson was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice. Once for his role in the Jackson 5 in 1997 and as a solo artist in 2001.
Usher was born Usher Raymond IV on October 14, 1978 in Dallas, Texas. Though he was born in Texas, he spent the majority of his childhood living in Chattanooga, Tennessee where he sang in his church’s choir. At the age 13, Usher competed on the television show Star Search, where he was spotted by an A&R representative from LaFace Records. LaFace Records signed Usher to a record deal and on August 30, 1994 he released his self titled debut album. It peaked at number one hundred and sixty-seven on the Billboard 200. Despite the fact that many of the singles were hit, Usher’s debut album was his lowest selling record, managing to move only fifty thousand units.
His second album was his breakthrough album. It was entitled “My Way” and was released in 1997. It eventually ended up selling over eight million copies worldwide. He has since released four more albums which include 8701, Confessions, Here I Stand and Monster. Usher has sold over 21.5 million albums in the United States alone. In 2002, Usher founded US Records, a vanity label which is a subsidiary of Clive Davis’s J Records, and which is distributed by Sony BMG.
Taylor Swift is a country pop singer songwriter that was born on December 18, 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. At the age of ten, Swift began writing songs and singing in various contests and fairs including karaoke contest. It was at this age that she developed a love for country performers like Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. When she was twelve, Taylor Swift started writing songs with her friend Kevin Kuscavage and playing acoustic guitar. When she turned fifteen, Taylor Swift performed at a Nashville’s songwriters’ venue, The Bluebird Café, catching the attention of Scott Borchetta. He immediately signed her to his new record company, Big Machine Records.
On October 26, 2006 Taylor Swift released her self titled debut album. The album spent 23 weeks on the Country Music Charts and spawned 5 hit singles. Than in 2008 Taylor Swift released her second album, Fearless to many positive reviews. It debuted at number one on the music charts and sold over a half million copies it’s first week. Fearless was the first album since Santana’s “Supernatural” to top the Billboard 200 for eleven non-consecutive weeks. It generated six hit singles including “Love Story” which reached number one on both the Canadian and US country charts.
Plies is the stage name for American rapper Algernod Lanier Washington. He was born on July 1, 1976 in Fort Myers, Florida. On July 2, 2006, a shooting at a Florida nightclub saw Plies charged with illegal possession of a concealed weapon, and members of his entourage were charged with attempted murder. The shooting, in which 5 people were injured, started after Plies’ microphone was cut off for Lil’ Boosie to perform, after Plies’ performance ran over. According to the promoter, Plies became extremely angry. A fight then began with fists and shouting, and ended with at least six rounds of bullets being fired. In the late 1990s, Plies partnered with his brother Big Gates and established an independent record label named Big Gates Records.
It was under this label that Plies released his debut album entitled The Real Testament. It was released on August 7, 2007 and sold 96,000 copies it’s first week putting it at the number one spot in the Billboard 200. It eventually ended up receiving a gold ceritfication. In the summer of 2008, Plies released his sophomore album, Definition of Real. It sold over two hundred thousand copies it’s first week.Two singles were released from the record, Bust It Baby (Part 2) and Please Excuse My Hands. His third album, Da REAList entered the Billboard 200 at number 14 and has sold over three hundred thousand copies to date.
Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, othewise known by her stage name Shakira, was born on February 2, 1977 in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her name is a feminine Arabic name that means “thankful”. At the age of four she started writing poetry, which would later evolve into songs. Between the ages of ten and thirteen Shakira was invited to various events in Barranquilla Columbia and gained some recognition in the local area. It was at about this time that she met local theater producer Monica Ariza. He quickly became impressed by her talent and set up an audition in Bogotá. He arranged for Sony Colombia executives to arrive at the audition, with the idea of surprising them with Shakira’s performance.
She performed three songs for the executives and impressed them enough for her to be signed to record three albums. Her first album, Magia didn’t do very well commercially. Shakira recorded this CD with Sony Colombia in 1991, at the age of 14. In 1996, Shakira went on to release Pies Descalzos which many consider her breakthrough album. It has sold over 6 million copies worldwide. Shakira has since released 4 studio albums, 3 live albums and 4 compilation albums. She has won two Grammy Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards, and has been Golden Globe-nominated. She is also the highest-selling Colombian artist of all time, having sold more than 60 million albums worldwide.
Ciara who’s birth name is Ciara Princess Harris was born on October 25, 1985 in Austin, Texas. She is the only child of Jackie Smith and Carlton Clay Harris. She grew up on Army bases in Germany, New York, Utah and California, since her father was in the United States Army. During her teens, Ciara and her family settled in Atlanta. In 2003 Ciara became friends with Jazze Pha, who helped get her a record deal with LaFace Records. Goodies was Ciara’s debut album and was released on September 28, 2004. Goodies debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and has been certified three times platinum by the RIAA.
In 2006 she released Ciara: The Evolution. This album debuted at the number one spot on the Billboard 200 and sold over 338,000 copies in its first week. This album produced the U.S. top ten single “Get Up”. The third studio album she released was entitled Fantasy Ride and was released in 2009. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, with sales of just under 81,000. The album fell to number ten in its second week, selling 26,000 copies. So far the album has sold almost 150,000 copies.
Amy Winehouse was born on September 14,1983 in Enfield, London. At the age of nine, her grandmother, Cynthia, suggested she attend the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School for further training. She stayed at the Earnshaw school for four years before seeking full time training at Sylvia Young Theatre School, but was allegedly expelled at fourteen for piercing her nose. It was also at this age she started writing music and playing around with her brothers guitar. Her boyfriend at the time, soul singer Tyler James, sent her demo tape to an A&R person at Island/Universal, which led to her signing with the label. In October 2003, Amy Winehouse released her debut album, Frank. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 60 before climbing to number thirteen in January 2004. It has since been certified double platinum for shipment of more than 600,000 copies.
In 2005, Amy Winehouse went through a period of drinking, heavy drug use and violent mood swings. She appeared to get better in the fall of that year as she was working on her second album Back To Black.Back to Black received universal critical acclaim and has been praised for its classic soul style. At the 50th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony, Back to Black won five awards including Best Pop Vocal Album and Record of the Year. The hit single “Rehab” off of the album won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Song of the Year. Amy Winehouse also won the Best New Artist Award. To date, Back To Black has sold over 11 million copies.
Soulja Boy was born DeAndre Ramone Way on July 28, 1990 in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 6 his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia and Soulja Boy became interested in rap music. At the age of 14, he relocated to Batesville, Mississippi with his father, who provided a recording studio for Soulja Boy to explore his musical ambitions. In November 2005, he posted his songs on the website SoundClick. In March 2007, he recorded “Crank That” and released his first independent album “Unsigned & Still Major: Da Album Before da Album”. By the end of May 2007, “Crank That” received its first airplay and Soulja Boy met with Mr. Collipark of Collipark Records to sign a deal with .
On July 13, 2007 he released his debut studio album, Souljaboytellem.com. In its first week, Souljaboytellem.com debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 with 117,262 copies sold in the first week. To date it has sold over 900,000 copies. Soulja Boy followed up that success with two subsequent albums in 2008 and 2009. These were titled, iSouljaBoyTellem and The DeAndre Way, respectively. In 2008, Soulja Boy was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Song for the single Crank That (Soulja Boy).