What It's Really Like To Work With Britney Spears

While there's no doubt she is one of the hardest-working women in pop music, Britney Spears' conservatorship may have left her vulnerable to being overworked and reportedly gave her little control over her finances. In her court statements regarding the situation, the pop icon explained, via Variety, "I've worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three-year break and just, you know, do what I want to do." In 2021, her conservatorship was officially terminated and Spears finally took that well-deserved breather.

Her R&R comes after decades of sweating it out and inspiring us all to do the same. May we never forget the motivational lyrics to her song "Work B**ch," wherein she reminds listeners that getting a hot body, a Bugatti, and a Maserati all come at the high cost of some serious hard work. But pop smashes aren't created in a vacuum, and the truth is that it can take an army to build an icon. Accordingly, the princess of pop has toiled alongside a lot of individuals over the years. So what is it really like to work with Spears? Let's take a closer look at what a few of her collaborators, co-stars, and employees have had to say throughout the years.

She's 'genuine' and 'inspiring' according to Tinashe

Singer-songwriter Tinashe, who was once a member of girl group The Stunners and a former child actor, is now a pop star in her own right. But that didn't make her immune from being starstruck when she had the opportunity to work with Britney Spears in 2016. As most girls growing up in the '90s, especially ones who dreamt of being a pop star, Tinashe was a fan of the musical legend. "She's one of my absolute idols," she told The New York Post. "The first album I ever had of my own was Britney Spears' '... Baby One More Time,' and then to be on one of her albums, it's kind of trippy." 

The two collaborated on the song "Slumber Party" from Spears' album "Glory." In the accompanying music video, Tinashe got up close and personal with her hero in what some fans celebrated as a sapphic fantasy. If you're wondering what it was like sharing some on-screen sexiness with Spears, wonder no more. According to Tinashe, "She's such a professional, she's such a superstar. Just being that close to her, being part of that energy and seeing her come to life in front of the camera was really amazing and inspiring," she told Entertainment Tonight. The pop star added, "[Spears] is a genuine, genuine person."

Will.i.am praised Britney's discipline as an artist

When Will.i.am isn't busy being a prolific musician or creating super high-tech face masks, he's producing and collaborating on music with a number of high-profile stars, like Britney Spears. The two worked together on the 2012 hit "Scream & Shout," but the Black Eyed Peas star was also the executive producer of the pop superstar's 8th studio album, "Britney Jean."

As executive producer, his job was to keep everything on track, and apparently, Spears made that easy for him. When Pop Justice asked what he learned about the pop star when working with her, he replied, "How dedicated and disciplined she is." He noted that many artists will sit around for hours but not Britney. In fact, according to Will.i.am, "Britney is the most focused and disciplined of all the artists in the industry." He added, "I just love her dedication and love for music ... I love how sweet she is, and how genuine she is. Shy, but fierce. And I want to see her win."

Indeed he does. In 2021, he made a point to show his support for Spears after the release of "Framing Britney Spears," a documentary from The New York Times that highlighted Spears' conservatorship struggles. In response to the documentary, Will.i.am told Metro, "The treatment of women goes way beyond the music industry ... Britney has endured some pretty harsh treatment from her own and she's an amazing person and her heart is pure."

Songwriter Justin Tranter was mesmerized by her talent

Behind the scenes, Justin Tranter is one of the biggest hitmakers in pop music, writing chart-toppers for stars including Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Halsey. In 2016, the songwriter worked with Britney Spears on her album "Glory," where they co-wrote several songs on the album. Suffice to say, the musician was more than impressed with the star. "When you witness [her] talent face-to-face, it's so beautiful and humbling and shocking," Tranter said in a "Beats 1" interview with Zane Lowe via People. The songwriter (who uses they/he pronouns) also discussed how they were figuratively and literally floored by her singing voice and personality while recording. "Hearing her vocal tone in real life ... your whole body gets chills, and I literally fell to the ground. There's something about her that's not of this world," they explained.

In an interview with Out, Tranter elaborated that Spears also brings a lot to the table as a songwriter, herself. Citing the track "Just Like Me" as an example of her creative prowess, the musician praised the pop star's wild inventiveness when it comes to song concepts and lyric ideas. "She was like, 'What if we write a song where I'm so excited to go and meet with my man and I walk in and he's hooking up with a girl who looks just like me?' I was like, 'OK, Britney Spears. I'll write that song with you. Let's f***ing do this,'" Tranter shared.

Taryn Manning had kind words for her Crossroads co-star

In 2002, Britney Spears made her silver screen debut in the movie "Crossroads." Speaking to Paris Hilton on the podcast "This is Paris," Spears' co-star Taryn Manning reminisced on what it was like to work on the movie with the pop icon. The "Orange Is the New Black" actor noted that it seemed like Spears' freedom was limited, even before the conservatorship. "She was never allowed to talk to anybody. I don't know if she was ever allowed to just have a friend, to be honest with you," she told Hilton. "... I don't know for sure, but it didn't seem like she could just call a friend and go kick it."

Though the two never got to form a close friendship, Manning spoke fondly of Spears and described her as being a sweet person. Hilton agreed and added, "She's like a little angel." Following her podcast appearance, however, Manning clarified her comments to Us Weekly. By all accounts, she still had plenty of love to show for the superstar. She explained, "I have not spoken to Britney in 10 years, but we had an amazing time on 'Crossroads.' We spent months in the car that we took 'cross country, sharing stories, joking, laughing, and had a friendship for years, especially while filming."

The cast of Jane the Virgin applauded her 'comedy chops'

After telling People that she loved watching the CW series "Jane the Virgin," Britney Spears was invited to be a guest star on an episode in 2015. Like any self-respecting millennial, the show's lead star, Gina Rodriguez, was super excited to work with Spears. But beyond being starstruck, the actor was also impressed with the pop star's comedic acting skills. "I mean, you can tell she's got comedy chops. Like nobody's business ... she held her own and more. She was very, very good," the "Jane the Virgin" star said in an interview with HuffPost Live (via UPI).

Jamie Camil, who played Rogelio de la Vega in the series, agreed. "Besides the fact that she is one of the most important pop icons worldwide ... she's a lovely girl. Always on time. Always willing to explore what's best for her for the comedic tone of the show," he said during an appearance on KTLA Morning News (via Yahoo!). On Instagram, Camil reiterated her comedy skills with a caption addressed directly to the pop star. He wrote, "You're beautiful inside and out and your comedic timing is superb." Spears was apparently just as delighted. On Twitter, the pop star celebrated how fun her on-set experience was along with a cheeky picture of herself and Camil flipping the bird together. Her appearance on the series was certainly a highlight for the cast and fans alike.

Working with Britney Spears can be nerve-wracking

Creative work comes with its fair share of pressures that are intensified when a big name like Britney Spears is involved. For producers, writers, and anyone else involved in the song-creating process, it's easy to imagine that working with a pop legend might come with some doubt and nerves. That certainly was the case for Ian Kirkpatrick, who worked on the song "If I'm Dancing." He was more than a little nervous to work with Spears, confessing to Fader, "I took an anti-anxiety medication before because I was absolutely freaking the f*** out."

While producer Fraser T. Smith wasn't quite as anxious, he still had his reservations. Speaking to the BBC he revealed that he was given the opportunity to work with Spears on very short notice and was nervous because he'd been told some startling rumors. "I'd heard stories before that if she wasn't feeling a song, she'd say, 'I need to go to the bathroom,' then get in the car and go home." Luckily that didn't happen with Smith. Instead, she started dancing when she heard the final version of "Trouble for Me." He told the outlet, "I played the song, not knowing how she was going to react ... We got to the end and she said, 'I absolutely love it.' So that was a great experience."

Britney Spears is a pro in the studio

After putting out nine studio albums, it's no surprise that Britney Spears knows her way in and out of a recording studio. Apparently, she's also a consummate professional through and through when she's working in one. Ian Kirkpatrick worked on the album "Glory" as a co-writer and producer and witnessed that behavior firsthand. Having worked closely with the artist, he attested to Spears' dedication to her craft in the studio, telling Fader, "She comes in. She knows what she wants to do. The thing is, she doesn't have to stay long because she's a pro when it comes to being vocal produced. You'll say, 'Try it like this,' and she'll just do it. There's no ego, she just f***ing delivers. She's a real one."

Will.i.am also vouched for how on-schedule Spears stays. He told Pop Justice that during his time working with her, she would set a schedule, arrive early, and deliver without fail for the entire time block she committed to. "I've never seen anything like that. Her work ethic is pretty admirable," he said.

Kesha felt honored to write for the icon

Having been a chart-topping pop star more than a few times, you probably know singer-songwriter Kesha for tunes like "Tik Tok" and "Your Love is My Drug." What you might not know is that she's also written a number of hits for other pop stars, including Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and of course, Britney Spears. In 2011, the pop star recorded a Kesha-written tune called "Till the World Ends," and the musician couldn't have been more thrilled to hear her words sung by Spears. "I consider myself a songwriter before and above everything else, so it's an honor to write for one of pop music's biggest icons," she told MTV.

Several months later, the song became a single for Spears complete with an accompanying music video, prompting Kesha to reflect on the experience in a 2011 interview with MTV. Venturing into the realm of hyperbole, she stated, "It's better than any drug when you hear Britney Spears sing a song you wrote." The edgy statement was very on-brand for Kesha's sleaze-pop persona at that time.

Expect to pray ... and eat birthday cake

It's no secret that Britney Spears is a firm believer in the power of prayer. As of 2022, her Instagram bio even read, "Pray Every Day" and she's been known to post prayer memes every now and then. Dancer Sarah Mitchell, who worked on Spears' Las Vegas show can confirm that the pop star practices what she preaches. "Each night, right before curtain, Britney and the dancers come together for a prayer circle. No matter what you believe, it's a moment for us all to grab hands and remember what brought us here in the first place," she wrote for Dance Spirit.

The dancer also had positive words to say about her time working on the Spears show and suggested it was a great opportunity for professional dancers for obvious reasons — not least of all because the icon was so great to work with. "She is such a sweet person and works so hard," Mitchell said in an interview with XO Diva D. Spears also appears to be an attentive boss. The dancer recounted a particularly thoughtful moment in a journal entry shared with Dance Spirit where she wrote, "Before tonight's show we were invited to Britney's dressing room. Today was another dancer's birthday ... and Britney got a cake for her. It was very sweet."

Her former bodyguard made some ugly accusations

Britney Spears' former bodyguard, Fernando Flores, made some intense claims about his time working for Spears for a period of eight months in 2010. Eight years later, the bodyguard filed a lawsuit against Spears' conservators. He sued them for $10 million for alleged psychological damage that he claimed was caused by the star's behavior, per Radar. In lawsuit documents obtained by the outlet, he claimed, "Spears was mentally unstable and personally obnoxious and demanding." He also alleged the star made "repeated unwanted sexual advances" toward him.

Lawyers from the Spears estate denied the allegations and suggested it to be nothing more than the ex-employee seeking monetary gain. In official court documents obtained by Radar, they claimed, "[Flores] attempted to solve his financial problems by selling a tale of salacious and sensation allegations to the tabloids months before filing his complaint in the instant action."

Speaking to the Associated Press (via NBC News) Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline appeared to agree with this claim. His lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said, "[Federline] is satisfied that the allegations are a product of economic motives ... They are as baseless as they seem." In 2012, TMZ reported that the case was closed, though the details of the settlement remain confidential. 

Sean Garrett would love to work with her again

Sean Garrett has worked with a slew of hit-making artists like Ciara, Usher, and Rihanna, to name just a few. In 2007, he was one of the producers on Britney Spears' critically acclaimed album "Blackout," her first album after a notoriously rough year for the singer. Garrett never doubted her resiliency as an artist. "She will be coming back really strong, I promise ... It is possible for her to be big again and popular again. Hits always solve everything," he told EW in 2007. He was right. The album they worked on together famously starts with "It's Britney b**ch" and served as a reminder that Spears was just as much of a superstar as she had always been.

In 2021, TMZ asked the producer if he would work with the performer again, he stated, "I love Britney ... I would love to do anything positive to help her ... to get back to where she wants to be." He added that, first and foremost, Spears' health and wellbeing would be prioritized. "I would probably have to just make sure that ... she's comfortable and you know, she's stable ... But I don't ever count anybody out, man. As long as she's happy, that's the most important thing." Given Spears' alleged plans to enjoy a career hiatus, it's unknown if she'll return to work anytime soon. Instead, she may simply be happy raising a family with her fiancé, Sam Asghari.