Christopher Maurice Brown was born in Tappahannock, Virginia. Music was always present in Brown's life. He used to listen soul albums that his parents had owned. Eventually, Brown began to show interest in the hip-hop scene.
Brown taught himself to sing and dance at a young age. He then began to perform in his church choir and in several local talent shows. While mimicking an Usher performance, his mother recognized his vocal talent and they began to look for opportunities of a record deal. At the same time, Brown had been through personal issues. His parents had divorced, and he said his mother's boyfriend terrified him due to domestic violence endured by his mother.
At the age of 13, Brown moved to New York. In 2004, Tina Davis — then-senior A&R executive at Def Jam Recordings — discovered him while he was working with local producers. She loved what she heard and saw when Brown auditioned in her office at Island Def Jam Records in New York. She immediately took him to meet the former president of the Island Def Jam Music Group Antonio "L.A." Reid, who offered to sign him at the same day.
The negotiations with Def Jam lasted two months until Davis lost her job due to a corporate merger. Brown then asked her to be his manager and Davis accepted, starting to "promote" the singer to labels such as Jive Records, J-Records and Warner Bros. Records. Brown ultimately choose Jive, due to its successful work with then-young acts such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
Brown started recording in February 2005. By May, there were 50 songs already recorded, 14 of which were picked to the final track listing. Brown received co-writing credits of five tracks. The album took less than eight weeks to produce, and was released on November 29, 2005.
The album, titled Chris Brown, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 154,000 copies. Chris Brown has now sold over two million copies in the U.S. (three million copies worldwide) and was certified two times platinum by the RIAA.
The album's lead single, "Run It!" made Brown the first male act (since Montell Jordan in 1995) to have his debut single to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100—later remaining for four additionally weeks. Three of the other singles—"Yo (Excuse Me Miss)," "Gimme That" and "Say Goodbye"—peaked within the top twenty at the same chart.
On June 13, 2006, Brown released a DVD entitled, Chris Brown's Journey, which shows footage of him traveling in England and Japan, getting ready for his first visit to the Grammy Awards, behind the scenes of his music videos and bloopers.
On August 17, 2006 to further promote the album, Brown began his major co-headlining tour, The "Up Close and Personal Tour." Due to the tour, production for his next album was pushed back two months. Brown was also the opening act for R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles on the Australian leg of her "The Beyoncé Experience" tour.
Shortly after ending his summer tour with Ne-Yo, Brown quickly began production for his second studio album, Exclusive, which was released in November 2007. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, selling 294,000 copies in its first week. It has sold 1.9 million copies in the United States.
In December 2007, Brown released his third single from Exclusive, entitled "With You" which reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and had entered the charts in various countries around the world. It is one of Brown's most successful releases to date.
In May 2010, Brown released a collaborative mixtape with Tyga, titled Fan of a Fan. "Deuces" which features Tyga and Kevin McCall, was released from the mixtape in the U.S. on June 29, 2010. The song peaked at number one on U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven non-consecutive weeks, giving Brown his first number one on the chart since his 2006 hit single, "Say Goodbye." It also peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100.
On July 20, 2009, Brown released a two-minute video on his official YouTube page apologizing to fans and Rihanna for a domestic altercation, expressing the incident as his "deepest regret" and saying that he has repeatedly apologized to Rihanna and "accepts full responsibility."