November 7, 2018
By William Glanz
Britney Spears has sold nearly 150 million albums worldwide.
But there’s a smaller number that holds greater significance. The number is two. That’s how many children the singer has, and her boys provide the primary argument in support of the 36-year old pop star’s decision three weeks ago to sign up for a second Las Vegas residency.
With the announcement that Britney: Domination will begin in February 2019 in Park MGM’s Park Theater, we wanted to speak with Spears about the upcoming residency. After begging and pleading for an interview with the glamorous global icon, we caught up with the incomparable Britney Spears last week.
Spears explained that a residency provides enormous practical advantages. It allows her to stay close to her kids (whom she shares custody of with ex-husband Kevin Federline) and eliminates some of the rigors associated with a lengthy tour.
Celine Dion started the trend of Las Vegas residencies in 2003 and will wrap up her final residency next year after more than 1,000 shows. Britney ended her first residency, Britney: Piece of Me, in December 2017. The show ran for four years and grossed $137 million before she took it on the road in a tour that just concluded in Europe.
Britney isn’t the only recording artist holding a Las Vegas residency in 2019. Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, Van Morrison, James Taylor, ZZ Top, Billy Idol, Cher, Gwen Stefani, Backstreet Boys and Mariah Carey all signed up for an extended run there next year.
Britney’s residency wasn’t the only thing on our mind. We also asked Spears about her long career as an international pop star, whether she’s thinking about her legacy and if she plans to get back into the studio.
SoundExchange: You’ve mentioned before that one reason your first residency was important is because you’re a parent. Can you go into more detail about why and how a residency is preferable to a tour when you’re raising kids? For instance, are you able to fulfill the endless parent duties when you’re booked in the same place for an extended period?
Britney: Yes, doing shows in one place makes it so much easier for me to be with my boys. It also helps that Vegas is just a short plane ride away from L.A., so I don’t have to miss sports games, birthdays and holidays. The boys also love to come visit me on show day, which makes it so fun for me. I love having my boys around.
SoundExchange: So, it’s possible to have a career as a musician and raise a family at the same time?
Britney: It is! It’s about finding work-life balance, which is so important. It’s about learning how to prioritize.
SoundExchange: The first residency was wildly successful AND got great reviews. But what will you remember most about the first residency?
Britney: Putting that first show together was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I wanted to make sure to give something amazing to my fans and there weren’t any other pop artists doing residencies at the time, so there wasn’t really anyone or anything to look to. We really had to figure out how to make the show exciting and interesting night after night and year after year, for both the fans and for myself and the cast.
SoundExchange: With the second residency approaching, is there anything you plan to do differently, whether it’s the stage production or the other visual and musical details that contribute to the fan experience?
Britney: I can’t really give away too many details! What I can say is I am working with creative team Nappytabs to put together a new show that’s going to be really spectacular. I know that my fans will not only love the music, but also the visuals. It’s going to be amazing!
SoundExchange: People attend the Las Vegas shows to hear the music they remember so fondly, but what are your thoughts about getting into the studio and releasing new music?
Britney: I always have new music on my mind! Right now, it’s really about finding the time to get into the studio between taking care of my boys and this new show!
SoundExchange: You’ve had a long career already, so to some degree your musical legacy is already established. But you also have a long career ahead of you and opportunities to further establish your legacy. Is one of your goals to be thought of in the same realm as other genre-defining artists like Aretha, Prince or Bruce Springsteen? And what will it take to achieve that goal?
Britney: It’s so hard to imagine even being mentioned in the same category as Aretha, Prince or Springsteen! They are icons and I really look up to all of them. I just try to tackle each show, year, milestone with doing and giving the best that I can. All I can hope is that everyone that comes to my show and my fans are loving what I am doing.