It’s roughly one hour before Britney Spears will take the stage for another performance of her hit Las Vegas show, Britney: Piece of Me, when she smiles and leaps out of a chair. Hair and makeup complete, Britney’s ready. But first, the pop star makes a beeline to a small area backstage where she meets with anywhere from two to three dozen eager fans. As she poses for pictures and greets each of them, another sellout crowd is making its way into The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Photos complete, she runs back to her green room to dress for her opening number, Work Bitch.
It all happens in what seems like a flash. For Britney, it’s a routine she’s perfected over the past couple years. In fact, when it comes to green-room demands, Britney is rather easy. The girl from Kentwood, Louisiana simply requires some sweet iced tea, a few candles (she says they calm her nerves) and a CD player. “Yes, I still use CDs,” she admits, then adds. “Believe it or not, I still do get a bit nervous before I go onstage. But once the show starts and I hear the roar of the crowd, I’m totally energized.”
Now entering its third year, Britney: Piece of Me, has become one of the city’s top-selling, and most talked about, shows. “Vegas has really been a fabulous experience for me. I say it all the time, it’s become like a second home,” Britney explains. “I love everything about it.”
That includes dinners at MR CHOW, hitting the shops and lounging by the pool. She’s learned to make Las Vegas home.
One look at Britney and it’s clear she’s been hitting the gym. Not only has the spunky, always on-the-go mother of two found the energy to keep up with her equally active boys, she’s taken her workout routine beyond just cardio and light weights. She spent this summer mastering Planet Hollywood’s FlowRider — an intense wave simulator — and tackled parkour, an obstacle course training discipline often used by contestants of the show American Ninja Warrior.
Both her boys, Sean Preston, 11, and Jayden, 10, have adapted to their desert home. And these days, they’re getting a kick out of seeing their mom onstage performing songs they hear on their iPods. To their delight, Britney has already added their favorite songs, Make Me and Do You Wanna Come Over from her latest album, Glory, to her Planet Hollywood set list. “Right now, they comment the most on ‘Wanna Come Over’,” she says. “I think because along with ‘Make Me’, it’s the newest song in the show.”
When asked how she feels about them following in her famous footsteps and pursuing a career in entertainment, she doesn’t outright dismiss the idea. “We’ll see!” she says. “They’re both really into DJ’ing right now.”
Motherhood, as Britney tells it, has changed her outlook on life. “It’s taught me how to put others’ needs ahead of my own. My sons are my most precious gift, and I always want to do right by them.” She says that fighting through adversity in her life has helped keep her grounded and preserved her identity. “I’ve learned to always be true to yourself,” she says. “I try not to do anything in my personal and professional life that isn’t organic to who I am.”
To that, Britney has immersed herself into the community, aligning with the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. To date, she’s contributed over $1 million to NCCF towards construction of a new facility through donations from ticket sales and special appearances, including an event in late October when she partnered with Zappos and XCYCLE to host a charity ride for the organisation.
A late-summer media blitz had Britney in the spotlight. In a matter of weeks, she released her ninth studio album, Glory, hit the talk-show circuit (including Carpool Karaoke with James Corden) and performed at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. It was her first VMA appearance in 10 years. Why so long? “It really just had to be the right song,” she explains. “I wanted the VMA performance to be its own thing. That’s what makes it special.”
The VMA performance helped promote Glory, her first studio album in three years. “I think the vibe of ‘Glory’ is a lot different than my previous albums,” she says. “We experimented with so many things while we were making the record. I feel like this time, I was really able to be hands on. I’m so proud of every song that we put on the album.”
“It took us a couple of years to make this album, and of course over time, musical styles change and sometimes other ideas pop up that you just like better. The songs on ‘Glory’ were no-brainers for me — they were the best of all the songs we recorded.”
As Britney talks enthusiastically about how much she enjoyed the recording process, it was only natural to ask if a follow-up could come quickly. “I’m not sure what I want the next album to sound like. I just know that I’m excited to get into the studio again and actually have already been back recording,” she reveals.
And while her musical future is rooted in Las Vegas, when asked if she has plans to tour soon, she answers, “I’m not sure yet.” Just like Britney to keep her fans always wanting more.