CHRISTINA AGUILERA

Christina Aguilera

Christina María Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American pop singer and songwriter. She began working in the entertainment industry at a young age, making several appearances on television shows such as The Mickey Mouse Club. She was signed to RCA Records after recording the song "Reflection" for the film Mulan, and her bubblegum pop-influenced debut album Christina Aguilera (1999) was a critical and commercial success: it produced four hit singles, including "Genie in a Bottle", and helped Aguilera win a Grammy Award. A Latin pop album and a Christmas LP released during this period also sold strongly.

Aguilera took creative control over her second studio album Stripped (2002), which produced the R&B-influenced "Dirrty" and the award-winning "Beautiful". It received mixed reviews, and Aguilera's increasingly sexual image during its promotion became the subject of much criticism and controversy. She contributed to several other artists' songs in 2004 and 2005 and married record executive Jordan Bratman. Her third studio album Back to Basics (2006), which was preceded by the hit single "Ain't No Other Man", included elements of soul, jazz and blues music and was released to high sales and positive critical reception.

Christina Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York to Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a U.S. Army sergeant, and Shelly Loraine Fidler. Aguilera's father was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador while her mother has German, French, English, Portuguese, Irish, and Dutch ancestry. Aguilera's parents met while Fausto was serving at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador. They were both Catholics. Her parents married when her mother was 20 years old and her father was almost 32. Aguilera lived with her father and mother until she was 6 or 7 years old, when her parents divorced and her mother took her and her younger sister Rachel to her grandmother's home in Rochester, Pennsylvania, a blue-collar suburb of Pittsburgh. According to Aguilera and Fidler, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive.

Aguilera's grandmother was the first person to recognize her vocal skills. Since Aguilera was a small child, she wanted to be a singer. She grew up admiring artists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Barbra Streisand, Otis Redding, Madonna, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Donna Summer, Minnie Riperton, Bessie Smith, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. As a child she performed at block parties and in talent competitions, where she defeated her opponents. Aguilera soon gained media attention, and was known as "the little girl with the big voice".

According to VH1's Driven, this label eventually became cross-productive. When competitors learned they would be up against her in any given week, they immediately backed out, prompting insiders to claim it was "like sending a lamb to the slaughter." Her peers soon became jealous of her and would frequently subject her to ridicule, ostracism, and, in one gym class, attempted assault. Acts of vandalism around her house included the slashing of the tires on the family car. Eventually the family relocated and, by her own order, swore to secrecy about her talent lest another backlash occur.

Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey games, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games. Her first major role in entertainment came in 1993 when she joined the Disney Channel's variety show The New Mickey Mouse Club. Her co-stars included Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Rhona Bennett (who later became a member of En Vogue), Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. According to the documentary Driven, Aguilera's Mickey Mouse Club co-stars called her "the Diva". One of her most notable performances was of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing."

In 1998 she sang the High "E" (second "E" above middle "C") in full voice on a cover of Whitney Houston's "Run to You" which she recorded with an old tape recorder in her bathroom. She was then selected to record the song "Reflection" for the Disney animated production of Mulan (1998). Recording "Reflection" led to Aguilera earning a contract with RCA Records during the same week. "Reflection" peaked within the top twenty on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart, and it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song" in 1998.

Under the exclusive representation of Steve Kurtz, Aguilera's self-titled debut album Christina Aguilera was released in the United States in August 1999. It reached the top of the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts, shipping over eight million copies in the United States alone. "Genie in a Bottle", "What a Girl Wants" and "Come on Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" topped the Billboard Hot 100 during 1999 and 2000, and "I Turn to You" reached the top five. Aguilera won the "Best New Artist" award at the 2000 Grammy Awards, and she was nominated for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" for "Genie in a Bottle". According to the album's songwriters who appeared on the documentary Driven, Aguilera wanted to display the power and audacity in her voice during the promotion of the album, and performed acoustic sets and appeared on television shows accompanied only by a piano. She ended the year on MTV's 2 Large New Year's Special, as she performed and was MTV's first artist of the millennium.

Later in 2000 Aguilera first emphasized her Latino heritage, following the Latin pop trend of the time, by releasing her first Spanish album, Mi Reflejo. This album contained Spanish versions of songs from her English debut as well as new Spanish tracks. It reached the top thirty on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Latin album charts, and in 2001 it won Aguilera a Latin Grammy Award for "Best Female Pop Vocal Album". The single "Falsas Esperanzas" from the album reached the top forty in Argentina. Ricky Martin asked her to duet with him on the track "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" from his album Sound Loaded; released in 2001 as the album's second single, it reached the top five in the United Kingdom and Germany, top twenty in the U.S., and top forty in Canada, Switzerland, and Australia.

Although Aguilera's debut album was very well-received, she was dissatisfied with the music and image her management had created for her. At the time, Aguilera was marketed as a bubblegum pop artist, because of the genre's upward financial trend. However, she publicly mentioned plans of her next album to have much more depth, both musically and lyrically. Steve Kurtz's influence in matters of the singer's creative direction, the role of being her exclusive personal manager and overscheduling had in part caused her to seek legal means of terminating their management contract.

In October 2000 Aguilera filed a Breach of Fiduciary Duty lawsuit against Kurtz for improper, undue and inappropriate influence over her professional activities, as well as fraud. According to legal documents, Kurtz did not protect her rights and interests. Instead, he took action that was for his own interest, at the cost of hers. The lawsuit came about when Aguilera discovered Kurtz used more of her commissionable income than he was allotted, and had paid other managers to assist him. She also petitioned the California State Labor Commission to nullify the contract. After terminating Kurtz's services, Irving Azoff was hired as her new manager. The change in management marked a new change in how Aguilera was marketed, as well as what music she would do in the future.

In October 2002, after much delay, Aguilera's second full-length English album, Stripped, was released. The majority of Stripped was co-written by Christina Aguilera (who had recently signed a global music publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing), and was influenced by many different subjects and music styles, including rhythm and blues, gospel, soul, balladry, pop rock, hip-hop and jazz. The album was not received as well as her debut by most critics, and Aguilera's vocals were overlooked as she began to cultivate a more sexually provocative image. After the release of the album, she took part in photoshoots for magazines such as Maxim, Rolling Stone and CosmoGirl!. Many of these photographs featured her nude or semi-nude. She denied that this change was a matter of publicity, claiming that the image better reflected her true personality than did the image she cultivated back in 1999. It was during this time Aguilera referred to herself as "Xtina", stating that it was a "reflection of her darker self".

Initially, the raunchy image had a negative effect on Aguilera in the U.S. While the video for "Dirrty" became a huge hit on MTV, it disappointed on the U.S. singles chart. However, the single was a huge hit worldwide, reaching number one in several countries. The album reached the top five on the UK, U.S. and Canadian album charts, though it was initially considered a "sophomore slump". The second single, "Beautiful", became a huge radio hit and three more singles from the album ("Fighter", "Can't Hold Us Down" featuring Lil' Kim, and "The Voice Within") were released in the following two years to moderate success. Stripped stayed on the U.S. and UK album charts until well into 2004, and went on to sell four million copies in the U.S., ending up at number ten on Billboard's year-end album chart. Kelly Clarkson's second single "Miss Independent" was co-written by Aguilera, having been half-finished for Stripped. Aguilera was the numberr-one Billboard Female Artist (albums and singles) of 2003, and Stripped is said to have sold approximately twelve million copies worldwide.

Aguilera later decided to embrace a more mature image; this move was met with more praise than criticism, with articles using punch lines such as "From Crass to Class". She eventually dyed her hair cherry blonde and recorded a jingle, "Hello", for a Mercedes-Benz ad, becoming the new face of Mercedes-Benz. Shortly after, she dyed her hair blonde and cut it short, and took on a Marilyn Monroe look; many of her fans believe she is one of the main proponents (along with Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani and Ashley Judd) in bringing back the 1920s-1940s Hollywood glamour look.

In late summer 2004 Aguilera released two singles. The first, "Car Wash", was a remake of the Rose Royce disco song recorded as a collaboration with rapper Missy Elliott for the soundtrack to the film Shark Tale. The second song is also a collaboration, but this time as a second single from one of Nelly's double-release albums, Sweat, titled "Tilt Ya Head Back". Both singles failed commercially in the U.S., but did considerably better in other parts of the world. After much delay, Aguilera's first DVD live-recording from a concert tour, Stripped Live in the UK, was released in November 2004. In late December she officially released a fragrance, Xpose, which has only been available in a few European countries.

In March 2006 Aguilera signed a contract with European cellphone operator Orange to represent the company and promote the new Sony Ericsson Walkman phones across Europe. She was featured in a Pepsi commercial alongside Arab singer Elissa as well as well-known Korean pop singer Rain in May; the spot aired during the 2006 World Cup. Aguilera on the cover of the June 2006 issue of GQ.

Aguilera's third English studio album Back to Basics, was released in August 2006. Lead single "Ain't No Other Man" was a substantial success, reaching the top ten in the U.S. and the top five in the UK. Christina Aguilera described the double-CD as "a throwback to the 20s, 30s, and 40s-style jazz, blues, and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist." Producers on the album include DJ Premier, Kwamé, Linda Perry, and Mark Ronson. One track, "F.U.S.S.", was written as a response to the animosity between Aguilera and Scott Storch during the recording of Stripped. She received writing credit for every track and was the executive producer for the album, which debuted at number one in the U.S. and the UK. The album introduced the public to Aguilera's era-inspired alter-ego, Baby Jane. It was reported that one of her dancers gave her the name; in an interview with MTV she stated rapper Nelly gave her the name, but she never stated the reason for it.

In September 2006 she announced an eighteen-date European tour that is scheduled to begin on November 17 and end on December 17. Following this she plans to tour blues and jazz clubs for a more intimate setting. "We're definitely going to mix it up, change it up, do some things that are not on the record, do some favorite classics of mine," Aguilera said in an interview with MTV. "We're really going to have fun and experiment with new ideas and interesting places to go to that have a throwback appeal and vibe."

The New York Times has described Aguilera's vocal range as "striking". In 2003 she placed at number five (third for a female) on MTV's countdown of the "22 Greatest Voices in Music". Cove Magazine, an online-only e-magazine on pop music, placed her at number one in their countdown of the "100 Greatest Pop Vocalists", giving her a mark of 50/50 for her vocal capabilities. In the MTV special All Eyes on Christina, John Norris said that Aguilera "has a four octave range". Christina Aguilera possesses the ability to hit notes in the whistle register, as stated in a review of her song "Soar" from the album Stripped in an Entertainment Weekly article, which mentions her "tackling that dog-whistle high note" at the song's 3 minute 20 second mark.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA RESOURCES

Christina Aguilera Official Home Page
The official site. Includes news, photos, biographies, interviews, reviews, and tour dates

Wikipedia version of Christina Aguilera
Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York. Aguilera's father was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador while her mother has German, French, English, Portuguese, Irish, and Dutch ancestry.

caguilera.com
Commercial site with pop-ups but thousands of pictures of Christina Aguilera.

christinazone.com
Loads of articles, pictures and gossip.