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Christina Aguilera

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Christina Maria Aguilera (born December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York; also known as Xtina) is a Hispanic-American popular music singer and songwriter. She is most often recognized by her notable vocal ability and unorthodox fashion sense. Her vocal skills have been compared to those of singers such as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, and she is one of the most prominent recording artists of her generation. She has achieved four #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as two top five albums and four Grammy Awards in the United States.

Early years

Christina Aguilera grew up primarily in Wexford, Pennsylvania (just outside Pittsburgh), after living in various places around the world. Her father, Fausto Aguilera, is a U.S. Army sergeant of Ecuadorian descent, and her mother, Shelly Loraine Fidler (now known as Shelly Kearns), is a Spanish translator from Newfoundland, Canada, and of remote Irish descent. Christina's parents met while Fausto was serving at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since Christina was able to talk, she set a goal to become a professional singer. As a child she performed at block parties and in talent competitions—defeating opponents with little effort. Christina soon gained media attention, and was known to some as "the little girl with the big voice".

On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing Ella Fitzgerald’s Sunday Kind Of Love, but failed to win. Soon after losing on Star Search, she appeared on KDKA-TV local access show Wake Up With Larry Richert to perform the same song again. Later on, she would sing "Vision Of Love", Mariah Carey's first single, and astonished everybody in attendance by hitting every riff and note, including Carey's trademark whistle register note. People remarked that the then-ten year old "sounded twenty".

Throughout her youth in Pennsylvania, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before 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, as well as Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez (who went on to join NSYNC) and Keri Russell (who would go on to become the star of Felicity).

Aguilera's first hit single was "All I Wanna Do," which was a collaborative effort recorded in Japan with Japanese pop sensation Keizo Nakanishi. In 1997, Aguilera competed in an international singing contest at the Golden Stag Festival in Transylvania, Romania, where she shared the stage with Sheryl Crow and Diana Ross. In 1998, after proving herself as a whistle register singer, singing the High "E" note above middle "C" during audition, she was selected to perform the song "Reflection" for the Disney animated production of Mulan (1998). The music video promoting the film featured a young Aguilera with bobbed hair. It was her first music video.

Christina Aguilera: debut

Under the exclusive representation of Steve Kurtz, her self-titled album, Christina Aguilera, was released on August 24, 1999, and reached the top of the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts, selling over 8 million copies in the United States alone. It was released the same week as Puff Daddy's long-awaited sophomore album Forever, and showed Aguilera's instant rise to fame by beating him to the #1 spot. "Genie in a Bottle," "What a Girl Wants" and "Come on Over (All I Want is You)" all reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 during 1999 and 2000, and "I Turn to You" peaked at #3. However, Aguilera did not only enjoy just commercial success; it became obvious that the industry thought she had talent when she won for Best New Artist at the 2000 Grammy Awards. She was also nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Genie in a Bottle."

In 2000, Aguilera first emphasized her Latino heritage, following the Latino trend of the time, by releasing her first Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo. This album contained Spanish-language versions of songs from her English debut as well as new Spanish tracks. It reached #27 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Latin album charts. In 2001, the album won Christina a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. The single "Falsas Esperanzas" from the album reached the top 40 in Argentina in 2001. Ricky Martin asked her to duet with him on the track "Nobody Wants to be Lonely" from his album Sound Loaded; the song was released as the second single from the album in 2001, reaching the top five in the United Kingdom and Germany, top 20 in the US, and top 40 in Canada, Switzerland and Australia.

Change in management

Although Aguilera's 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 has in part caused her to seek legal means of terminating their management contract.

On October 13, 2000 Christina 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 what he was allotted, and had paid other managers to assist him. She also petitioned the California State Labor Commission to nullify the contract.

When she terminated 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.

Kurtz countersued on October 27 for breach of contract, claiming that the singer violated the same agreement she had sued to void. In the lawsuit, he included others close to Aguilera, alleging their intent to sabotage his business relationship with Aguilera. He also singled out Azoff for being in violation of the terms of Kurtz's contract.

Stripped: career development

Initial indications of a raunchier image for Aguilera were demonstrated in her appearance in the video for a remake of the 1975 Patti LaBelle hit "Lady Marmalade." The video showed Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Pink and Mya dressed in lingerie. The track was produced by Rockwilder and Missy Elliott, and appeared on the soundtrack for the Baz Luhrmann film Moulin Rouge. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The song also topped the charts in Australia, with the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack being the best- selling album of 2001 in that country.

In late August 2002, "Dirrty," the first single from Stripped, was leaked on the Internet and radio stations. The song was a hip-hop-influenced track, based on rapper Redman's song "Let's Get Dirty". As a play on the similarities, Redman was included on the track, rapping for one verse of the song.

On September 30, the music video for "Dirrty" premiered on MTV in the US. The video features a scantily-clad Aguilera, dancing lecherously with members of both sexes in a run-down, underground boxing venue. Because of the mature nature of the video, it was heavily-criticized by other musicians as well as the media. In response, Aguilera pointed out that the video was more about power and control. "I'm not just some lame chick in a rap video; I'm in the power position, in complete command of everything around me."

On October 29, after much delay, Aguilera's second full-length English album, Stripped, was released in the US. The album was not received as well as her debut by most critics. The majority of Stripped was co-written by Aguilera, was about eighty minutes long, and influenced by many different subjects and music styles. "Impossible," a collaboration with Alicia Keys, is a jazz-inspired song about someone who's trying to get through to one who is quiet and withdrawn. "Soar" is a gospel-inspired song about becoming self-reliant. Aguilera's most emotionally- challenging song on the album could possibly be "I'm OK." This track chronicles in detail how Aguilera was abused as a young child by her father, and she thanks her mother for her love through that time in her life.

However, Aguilera's vocals were much overlooked as she began to cultivate a more sexually- provocative image. After the release of the album, she took part in photo shoots for magazines such as Maxim, Rolling Stone and Cosmo Girl. 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.

Initially, the raunchy image had a negative affect on Aguilera in the US. While the video for "Dirrty" became a huge hit on MTV, it stalled at a disappointing #48 on the Hot 100 and quickly fell off the singles chart. However, the song was a huge hit worldwide, hitting #1 in several countries and on the World Chart. The album debuted at #2 on the UK and US album charts and #3 in Canada, where they all ultimately peaked. Despite going double-platinum in the US after only eight weeks on the chart, the album began to drop quickly with nothing but Aguilera's star power to back it up. The second single, "Beautiful," was quickly released in the US in late 2002. It instantly became a huge radio hit and allowed three more hits to be released from the album in the following two years. The success of subsequent singles off the album gave Stripped massive staying power, as it stayed on the album charts well into 2004. This staying power was mostly shown in the UK, when the album was consistently in the top 20 on the charts between late 2002 and late 2004. Stripped went on to ship solid a 4 million copies in the US and ended up at #10 on Billboard's Year-End Album Chart. The album also went 4x platinum in Australia despite only reaching a peak of #7, again a reflection of its consistency between late 2002 and 2004.

The five singles released from Stripped are the following:

  • "Dirrty" is a hip-hop-influenced song about not being afraid to conform to one's own standards. The track went to #1 in the UK and Ireland, and was a top ten hit in the Netherlands, Spain and Australia. It only reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100, reflecting the early sales backlash.

  • "Beautiful," perhaps Aguilera's most well-known single to date, is a ballad about not letting others' negativity affect oneself. This Linda Perry-written, cello-driven, classically-flavored track was called one of the best pop recordings ever made by Simon Cowell. The video garnered great attention, as it touched on the subjects of anorexia nervosa, homosexuality, and cross-dressing. It went to #1 in the UK, Canada and Ireland as well as making the US top 40 and adult contemporary charts; the song peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. "Beautiful" earned Aguilera the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2004 Grammy Awards. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) presented a special award for her in February 2003 for including positive images of gay and transgender people.

  • "Fighter" is a track known to be a response to Aguilera's management change of 2000 as well as to others who wronged her in the past. The video was based on the metamorphosis between a silkworm and a moth; it was the first video to feature Aguilera with long black hair that she sported for much of 2003. It went to #20 on the Hot 100 and reached the top 10 on world airplay charts.

  • "Can't Hold Us Down" is a collaboration with Lil' Kim that describes and condemns the existence of the double standard in society's views of men and women. The video ties in with the theme and features the duo in New York's Lower East Side, wearing heavily 1980s- inspired clothing and taking on a rowdy group of guys with some help from their friends. It was another top Five hit internationally and reached #12 on the Hot 100.

  • "The Voice Within" is a ballad about turning to one's self if all else fails. The video features a black-and-white, one-shot take of Aguilera wearing a thin white slip dress, walking out of an abandoned theater. It peaked at #33 on the Hot 100 and #9 in the UK.

The Stripped tours

In early 2003, Aguilera aroused much commentary when she gained a noticeable amount of weight. Unflattering photographs of her flabby midsection spilling out of her conventionally- skimpy costumes were circulated. She was quoted as saying, "I couldn't care less about stupid diets. Eating is sensual and fun. I'm not going to let it be spoiled by calorie-counting." Later, she gave the reason for her weight gain as preparation for her upcoming Summer tour.

On June 4, Aguilera joined Justin Timberlake on the final leg of his international "Justified" tour, held in the US. This portion of the tour became a co-headliner called the "Justified & Stripped" tour. On August 9, an overhead lighting grid collapsed from the ceiling of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, causing major damage to the sound and video equipment below. Since the collapse occurred hours before the performance, only a few stagehands were injured. As a result, a few shows were cancelled or postponed. In the fourth quarter of that year, Christina continued to tour internationally without Timberlake, and changed the name of the tour to simply the "Stripped" tour. Meanwhile, she dyed her hair black. The tour was one of the top-grossing tours of that year, as it sold out most of its venues. It also was named by Rolling Stone readers as the best tour of the year.

In light of the tour's success, another US tour was scheduled to begin in mid-2004 with a new theme and featuring Chingy as an opening act. The tour was scrapped due to Aguilera's vocal chord injuries suffered shortly before its opening date. It was later reported by The Sun tabloid that low ticket sales and lack of new material were actually the major factors in the tour's cancellation. Aguilera has since denied the report.

Post-Stripped events

In a tribute to Madonna's performance at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards' ceremony, Aguilera was involved in a much-noticed lesbian kiss with the singer-actress at the 2003 edition of the ceremony on August 28th. The incident occurred during the opening performance of Madonna's songs "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood"; however, it was overshadowed by the kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears during the same performance.

Aguilera met new controversy in late 2003 by viciously criticizing other teen-pop performers. In the December 2003 issue of Blender magazine, she is quoted as saying: "Look at people like Beyoncé or Britney. They're desperate to come across as sweet, good little girls, but then you see them in photo shoots that are extremely sexual—tight little booty shorts, and not much else. So why do they try to be virginal in interviews?" Concerning Spears, Aguilera claimed, "These people aren't artists; they're just performers—fake and superficial... I was up for kissing Britney, but Britney wasn't. She was... she seemed very distant, even during rehearsals. Every time I tried to start a conversation with her—well, let's just say she seemed nervous the whole time. I wanted to reach out to her, because I feel she needs somebody in her life right now to help guide her."

A January 2004, ZOO Magazine (a Danish men's magazine) article reported that Aguilera is possibly bisexual. The article quotes her stating in an interview: "I find it hornier looking at women then men. Sorry, I love experimenting with my sexuality. If that means girls, then so be it." The article also reports that Christina enjoys casual sex. "I have casual sex, I love casual sex. But that doesn't mean I'm incapable of keeping my legs together," Aguilera is quoted as saying. Because of the tabloid nature of articles in ZOO, the factual accuracy of the article is dubious.

Aguilera hosted Saturday Night Live on February 21, 2004, and participated in various parody skits such as "Do You Know Who My Father Is?" which lampoons Win Ben Stein's Money, and a skit dedicated to the movie You Got Served. She was praised for her dead-on impersonation of Kim Cattrall's Sex and the City character Samantha.

Aguilera later decided to take on 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; she is believed by many of her fans to be one of the main proponents (along with Gwen Stefani and Ashley Judd) of bringing back the old Hollywood glamour look.

In the run-up to the 2004 United States presidential election, Aguilera was featured on billboards for the "Only You Can Silence Yourself" online voter registration drive run by the nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign "Declare Yourself." In these political advertisements, Christina is shown with her mouth sewn shut, to symbolize the effects of not voting.

In late Summer 2004, Aguilera released, almost consecutively, two singles. The first, "Car Wash," was taken from the soundtrack of the hit movie Shark Tale. It is a collaboration with popular rapper Missy Elliott, and is a cover version of Rose Royce's disco hit. 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." Aguilera appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards to perform it with him; it was a visually striking and effective performance in which Aguilera, a la Judy Garland, started her belting perched atop a grand piano. Christina copied another legendary look for the video: Marilyn Monroe's. Both singles flopped commercially in the US, but did considerably well in other parts of the world; "Tilt" reached #1 in a few countries, including the Philippines. "Tilt Ya' Head Back," formerly rumoured to be "Tilt Cha' Head Back," was well-received in the US at first, but quickly deteriorated mainly due to its lack of radio appeal and promotion. In spite of its promotion, "Tilt" recently went platinum in Australia for selling over 40,000 copies, while "Car Wash" was certified gold for sales of over 25,000 copies. "Tilt" was later certified gold in the US by the RIAA in 2005.

After much delay, Aguilera's first DVD live-recording from a concert tour, Stripped Live in the UK, was released in November 2004, excluding her performance of "Make Over," due to its similarity with the song "Overload" by the Sugababes. In late December, she officially released a fragrance, Xpose, which has only been available in a few European countries.

The VH1 program The Fabulous Life Of... Christina Aguilera estimated that the singer had a net worth of $30-40 million USD.

After failed relationships with Latin dancer Jorge Santos (chronicled in her song "Infatuation" from her sophomore album Stripped) and an unnamed producer speculated to be Dallas Austin, she started dating music executive Jordan Bratman. After dating him for almost three years, their engagement was announced in February 2005. In an interview with MTV at an Oscar party, she announced she would like to have her wedding in the Winter of 2005.

The future

Aguilera announced her third full-length English album is nearly complete. Similar to Stripped, the album's feel will be completely different from previous efforts, as it focuses more on her vocal abilities and musical tastes. While interviewed during a post-Oscar party, Aguilera described the album as "a retro blues/jazz/soul record, but a really meaty, gritty, real raw record of soul." She is also working on her second Spanish album.

She has also shown an interest in becoming an actress. Although Aguilera has been offered many projects over the years, she continues to insist that she's looking for a particular role. She is said to prefer one similar to those played by Angelina Jolie. She still avoids roles that portray herself, or any character who resembles her.

Discography

 The factual accuracy of this section is disputed.

Albums

  • 1999: Christina Aguilera - #1 (Debut) US (1 week), #1 CAN, #14 UK; (8 million US), (16 million Worldwide)

  • 2000: Mi Reflejo - #27 US; (3 million US), (5 million Worldwide)

  • 2000: My Kind of Christmas - #28 US; (1 million US), (3 million Worldwide)

  • 2001: Just Be Free (recordings from 1995) (unofficial release) - #71 US

  • 2002: Stripped - #2 US, #3 CAN, #2 UK; (4 million US), (10 million Worldwide)

Singles

The following is a list of English-language singles, including their peak rank on record sales charts as well as RIAA certifications:

Christina Aguilera

  • 1999: "Genie in a Bottle" - #1 US (5 weeks), #1 CAN (3 weeks), #1 UK (2 weeks) - Platinum certification

  • 1999: "What a Girl Wants" - #1 US (2 weeks), #1 CAN (2 weeks), #3 UK - Gold certification

  • 2000: "I Turn to You" - #3 US, #10 CAN, #19 UK

  • 2000: "Come on Over (All I Want is You)" - #1 US (4 weeks), #19 CAN, #8 UK - Gold certification

My Kind of Christmas

  • 1999: "The Christmas Song" - #18 US

Stripped

  • 2002: "Dirrty" (ft. Redman) - #48 US, #5 CAN, #1 UK (2 weeks)

  • 2002: "Beautiful" - #2 US, #1 CAN, #1 UK (2 weeks)

  • 2003: "Fighter" - #20 US, #3 CAN, #3 UK

  • 2003: "Can't Hold Us Down" (ft. Lil Kim) - #12 US, #20 CAN, #6 UK

  • 2004: "The Voice Within" - #33 US, #10 CAN, #9 UK

Collaborations with other artists

  • 2001: "Nobody Wants to be Lonely" (with Ricky Martin) - #13 US, #4 CAN, #4 UK

  • 2001: "Lady Marmalade" (with Mya, Lil Kim and Pink) - #1 US (5 weeks), #1 CAN (2 weeks); #1 UK (1 week)

  • 2004: "Car Wash" (ft. Missy Elliot) - #63 US, #4 UK

  • 2004: "Tilt Ya' Head Back" (with Nelly) - #58 US, #27 CAN, #5 UK - Gold certification

DVDs

  • 1999: Genie Gets Her Wish - Autobiographical presentation - #1 US - Platinum certification

  • 2000: My Reflection - Video release of ABC special - #1 US - Gold certification

  • 2004: Stripped Live in the UK - Complete video of London, UK Stripped Tour concert (sans "Make Over"), extended version of The WB and MTV specials - #3 US - Platinum certification

Vocal capabilities

Her vocal abilities are frequently compared to those of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. In 2003, she placed at #5 (3rd for a female, behind Carey and Houston) on MTV's countdown of The 22 Greatest Voices in Music.

Vocal profile

  • Voice type: Spinto Soprano

  • Highest note: G#6, C7 (The Christmas Song)

  • Lowest note: C3, D3

  • Vocal range: 4 octaves (C3-C7)

  • Longest note: 20 seconds

  • Highest note in chest voice: G5 (Lady Marmalade) (Keep On Singing My Song)

Trivia

  • Time Magazine reports that the playing of Christina Aguilera music was part of the torture regiment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay by the United States.

  • She was born 10 days after John Lennon was murdered.

  • When Christina was called to LA to prove she could sing, she sang a song from "the preacher's wife" acappella, and Ron Fair loved it.

  • "Obvious" was one of the original demo tracks that was sent to Ron Fair before Christina was signed with RCA.

  • Christina was the first celebrity to sign a letter from PETA to the South Korean government asking that the country stop its alleged "abuse of dogs and cats killed for food".

  • That the recording of "Beautiful" was actually only the demo. Christina wanted to get it perfect but the producers said, "No, it shows your broken notes and your flats and sharps, leave it how it is".

  • Christina started her career singing the National Anthem for the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers at the age of ten

  • Christina North Allegheny High School up until the 9th grade in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

  • Kelly Clarkson's first single 'Miss Independent' was co-written by Christina

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Comments

she is remarkable and a god send to mankind!



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