Read an Interview With a 17-Year-Old Britney Spears
: ‘Oh My Goodness, These Guys Are, Like, Old’

Two decades ago, “… Baby One More Time” was a new single and Britney Spears was another young singer hoping to ride the fast-rising wave of teen pop. As the song rose on the charts across the globe, the burgeoning star, who’d just turned 17, went on a promotional visit to Canada, where “One More Time” would ultimately hit No. 1.

During that visit early in 1999, we met for an interview in a Toronto hotel room. She looked like any high school girl; she was friendly, polite, a little quiet and very sweet — far from the python-wielding enchantress we would see just a couple of years later, let alone the seasoned entertainer who will be returning to Las Vegas for another residency in February.

In the interview below, fame is all new to her: She talks about screaming when she first heard herself on the radio — around 20 years ago this week, when the single was first released — the loneliness of touring, the increased recognition from fans (including too much attention from a certain older male fan) and getting accustomed to being onstage and in the public eye. Her answers, which have been lightly edited for clarity, provide a rare glimpse of a superstar at the very beginning of her rise.

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