Britney Spears’ new album “Britney Jean” is due to launch on next week’s Billboard 200, but this week, her younger sister swoops in and steals chart headlines. Twenty-two-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears makes her first Billboard chart appearances, as “How Could I Want More” enters Hot Country Songs at No. 29 and Country Digital Songs at No. 8. The midtempo, traditional-country love song starts with 28,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“I can’t believe that my song has reached Billboard,” Spears beams. “It’s a dream come true.”
Her newfound chart success follows her earlier spotlight starring on Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101” in 2005-08. After becoming a mother to daughter Maddie in 2008, Spears has returned with her self-released new single.
Chart Beat caught up with Spears upon her maiden chart arrival for her take on topics ranging from her lifelong love of country music, whether her last name can be a hindrance and her “second mom,” Britney.
Billboard: Have you always been a country music fan? People might’ve expected you to go the pop route.
Jamie Lynn Spears: I get this question a lot, as you can imagine. I think people forget that I grew up in Louisiana, and that my father is as southern as they come (laughs). Country music was a big part of me and my dad’s relationship, and still is.
I understand where people would assume I’d [be a] pop [act]. I mean, my sister is a pop icon, so I completely get where people would’ve expected that!
Major congratulations on your first Billboard chart hit. What can you tell us about the origins of “How Could I Want More” (a co-write with Rivers Rutherford)?
It’s about having everything, and still struggling with wanting more. My experience was with a relationship at the time, but I think it’s very relatable in many other situations, as well. We have all had those times in life.
I sang this song when I was in a vulnerable place, and I believe that translates onto the record. The honesty behind my voice in that moment is what I think everyone can connect to.
What plans do you have to promote the single? And, is a full album on the way?
I just want to get out there and do my part as an artist. I hope to go to every country radio station that I can and personally shake hands and give a reason to believe in me. I also want to meet as many fans as I can and play as many shows as I can for them.
I think the best way to “promote” your music is to personally take the time with people, whether it be with a fan or a label executive.
Yes, a full album is in the works!
OK, the obvious: What kind of sibling rivalry is there between you and Britney, if any? Do you plan to tease her with your new chart success? More seriously, I’m guessing that you share a relationship, as sisters, that’s unique and all yours, away from prying paparazzi.
Me and Brit, I’m sure no one believes me when I say, there is no rivalry! You have to remember that we are 10 years apart, so I always saw her as a second mom. We have fun like only sisters can, but we don’t have that young sibling rivalry.
She was one of the first people to call and tell me how proud she was of the success of [‘More’], so charts won’t come between me and her – never will!
You’ll quickly add to your Billboard chart history next week when “Britney Jean” debuts in the Billboard 200’s upper reaches. What was the experience like of recording the set’s “Chillin’ With You” with Britney?
It wasn’t some thought-out plan for us to do a song together or anything. It was super natural the way it all went down. I had been playing her some things that I had been writing, and she really liked them, so she asked me to come to the studio with her while she worked on her album. I went with her for a few days, and she asked me to sing on one of the songs. So, I jumped in and did it!
It was fun, and the song is fun. I feel blessed to be on a song with my sister for the first time.
In addition to your own enviable Nickelodeon success, a benefit of having a big sister in the entertainment business is that you can learn valuable lessons from her career and apply them to yours.
I started working when I was very young, so I believe that taught me responsibility at a young age. I was blessed to have that experience.
As a child [ed. note: Jamie Lynn was just seven when her sister’s “…Baby One More Time” entered the Billboard Hot 100 in 1998], Britney really taught me work ethic. She never expected anything from anyone and earned her way by hard work. But, she always appreciated every moment of it.
So, I learned you have to really care, and really work your ass off!
Is having the last name Spears a double-edged sword as you promote the new single? Hopefully people will judge you on what’s a quickly-charting hit.
Hopefully! I think people assume that the name Spears just makes record labels’ doors fly open (laughs). It may open some doors, but it’s quite the opposite in certain situations. People don’t want to put money and time into someone they think is just [looking] to take the easy road to success.
And, I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who only worked with me just because of my last name instead of my music, anyway. I want to have people love my music first, and then love me.
Being a mom probably puts any musical success into perspective. How are you enjoying motherhood?
It really has! Being a mom makes you have to stop and think. You can’t be irrational, and everything must be thought-out so that your child ultimately is always the first priority. It’s been the main thing I have harped on to my team: “Maddie comes first.”
As far as being a mom, I am in my element when I’m in “mom-mode.” that’s where I’m most confident and get my most joy, when I’m being a mom.
Bonus question: What’s the Spears’ family Christmas going to be like?
My dad’s cooking will be going on, but who knows? You’ll have to check back in on that one!