Chris Brown Biography: Life and Career of the R&B Singer

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Born born May 5th, 1989 in Tappahannock, Virginia, Chris Brown began performing as a child. Jive Records soon discovered him and released his self-titled debut when he was 16. The album went to number two and spawned his first number one single. Brown continued his top ten success with his second album and started to act. Unfortunately, Brown's career took a hit after he assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna. The entertainer bounced back shortly thereafter, topping the charts, collaborating with artists and even winning a Grammy. In this video, we take a look at the life and career of Chris Brown.
This entertainer traded in his boyish charm for tattoos, blonde hair and a bad boy attitude. Welcome to and today we're taking a look at the life and career of Chris Brown.


Christopher Maurice Brown was born May 5th, 1989 in Tappahannock, Virginia. After teaching himself to sing and dance, Brown participated in local talent shows and his church choir as a child. His mother recognized her son’s gifts, and decided to help him land a record deal. By the time he was 13, Hitmission Records discovered this young talent.

Jive Records

Brown recorded his first demo while still in high school, and Hitmission shopped it around to New York labels. He finally signed with Jive Records in 2004, and soon moved to New York.


His self-titled debut dropped in 2005. The commercially successful record went to number two on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified double platinum. It also contained his first number one hit, “Run It!” as well as three other top twenty singles. That Grammy-nominated effort was supported by a co-headlining effort on “The Up Close and Personal Tour,” during which Brown showcased his killer dance skills.

Acting Debut

He became a true triple threat when he began to act: Brown appeared on TV shows like “The O.C.,” and jumped to the big screen in 2007 with the dance drama “Stomp the Yard” and the family drama “This Christmas.”

Second Album

It was also in 2007 that Brown released his second album: Exclusive. It entered the Billboard 200 chart at number four and eventually sold close to two million units in the U.S. That record spawned the number one single “Kiss Kiss,” and the popular track “With You.” The next year, an expanded edition of the album hit store shelves and produced the successful track “Forever.”

Collaborations and Success

With two huge albums under his belt and a blossoming acting career, Brown was unstoppable. He headlined an American tour and was featured on the singles “No Air” with Jordin Sparks and “What Them Girls Like” with Ludacris. By the end of 2008, he was named Billboard Artist of the Year.


However, Brown’s reputation took a hit in early 2009 after a physical altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna before the Grammy Awards. He was arrested, and given a five-year probationary sentence and restraining order. Public outcry was huge: radio stations refused to play Brown’s songs and sponsors dropped him.

Return to Music

After a break from music, Brown returned with a new sound: he switched up his urban feel by incorporating styles similar to his idols: Prince, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Though 2009’s Graffiti received negative reviews and sold poorly, the album still reached the Billboard top ten and earned two Grammy nominations.

BET Awards

The next year, Brown made headlines with an emotional tribute to his late idol Michael Jackson at the BET Awards. He also collaborated with rapper Tyga on the Fan of a Fan mixtape and acted in the crime thriller “Takers.”


In 2011, Brown had his best debut ever with F.A.M.E.: the album entered the Billboard 200 at number one. The disc generated the international smash hit “Yeah 3x” and the top ten single “Look at Me Now” with Busta Rhymes and Lil’ Wayne. Meanwhile, “Beautiful People” gave Brown and featured DJ Benny Benassi their first number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

Media Scrutiny

Brown’s attempts to turn his image around after the Rihanna incident proved relatively successful. Unfortunately, in 2011 he was back in the spotlight: after being asked about his ex during a “Good Morning America” appearance, Brown made an angry backstage tirade. Media scrutiny increased when F.A.M.E. won Best R&B album at the 54th Grammy Awards the next year.


Brown decided to ignore critics in 2012 by collaborating with Rihanna on some remix tracks. Also that year, he appeared in the comedy “Think Like a Man,” and released the record Fortune. That album mixed elements of R&B, pop and hip hop, and contained the top ten single, “Turn Up the Music.”

Triple Threat

Chris Brown is a hit songwriter, amazing singer, smooth dancer and accomplished actor. By bringing energy and artistic flair to every performance, he makes them his own. While Brown has certainly evolved from an innocent boy to a mature man, he makes no apologies for it, and that’s why you can’t help but look at him now.