Christina María Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in Rochester and Wexford, Pennsylvania, she appeared on the television series Star Search and The Mickey Mouse Club in her early years. After recording "Reflection", the theme for Disney's 1998 film Mulan, Aguilera signed with RCA Records.
Aguilera has earned two number-one albums on the US Billboard 200 with her self-titled debut album in 1999 and Back to Basics in 2006. Her albums Stripped (2002), Bionic (2010), Lotus (2012), and Liberation (2018) reached the top-ten in the United States. Further, her Spanish-language album Mi Reflejo and the holiday album My Kind of Christmas each topped Billboard component charts in 2001. Several of Aguilera's songs have experienced international success, including "Genie in a Bottle", "What a Girl Wants", and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" from her self-titled debut which each topped the Billboard Hot 100, "Dirrty", "Beautiful", and "Fighter" from Stripped, "Ain't No Other Man" and "Hurt" from Back to Basics, and the collaborations "Lady Marmalade", "Moves like Jagger", "Feel This Moment", and "Say Something". Beyond her music career, Aguilera starred in the film Burlesque (2010) and has been featured as a coach on six seasons of the reality competition television series The Voice since 2011.
Aguilera has been recognized as a pop icon and earned the title "Pop Princess" in her early years. Her work has earned her five Grammy Awards, one Latin Grammy Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Throughout her career, she has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. In 2009, she ranked at number 58 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, thereby becoming the youngest and the only artist under 30 to be named. Billboard recognized her as the 20th most successful artist of the 2000s, and Time listed Aguilera among the top 100 Most Influential People in the World of 2013. Aside from her work in the entertainment industry, Aguilera is involved in charitable activities through human rights, world issues, and her work as a UN ambassador for the World Food Programme.
Christina María Aguilera was born in the Staten Island borough of New York City, New York, on December 18, 1980, to Shelly Loraine Kearns (née Fidler), a musician, and Fausto Xavier Aguilera, a United States Army soldier. Her father is Ecuadorian, while her mother has German, Irish, Welsh, and Dutch ancestry. Her family moved frequently because of her father's military service, and lived in places including New Jersey, Texas, New York, and Japan. Aguilera and her mother alleged that her father was physically and emotionally abusive, claims which he denied; Aguilera used music as a form of escape from her turbulent household. Following her parents' divorce when she was six years old, Aguilera, her younger sister Rachel, and her mother (who later remarried Jim Kearns and gave birth to one more child, Michael 'Mikey' Kearns), moved into her grandmother's home in the Pittsburgh suburb of Rochester, Pennsylvania. After several years of being estranged, Aguilera expressed interest in reconciling with her father in 2012.
Growing up, Aguilera, known locally as "the little girl with the big voice", aspired to be a singer, singing in local talent shows and competitions. She won her first talent show at the age of 8, in which she performed Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)". In 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing "A Sunday Kind of Love", and was eliminated during the semi-final rounds. She later performed the same song during an appearance on Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV's Wake Up with Larry Richert. Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, Pittsburgh Steelers football, and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, in addition to the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals. She attended Rochester Area School District in Rochester and Marshall Middle School near Wexford, and briefly attended North Allegheny Intermediate High School before being home schooled due to bullying.
In 1991, Aguilera auditioned for a position on The Mickey Mouse Club, although she did not meet its age requirements. She joined the television series two years later, where she performed musical numbers and sketch comedy until its cancellation in 1994. Her co-stars included Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake. When she was fourteen, Aguilera recorded her first song, the duet "All I Wanna Do" with Japanese singer Keizo Nakanishi. She later sent her cover version of Houston's "Run to You" to Walt Disney Pictures in hopes of being selected to record the theme song "Reflection" for their animated film Mulan (1998). "Reflection" peaked at number 19 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.
After the recording of "Reflection", Aguilera attracted attention of RCA Records A&R Ron Fair and was signed with the label quickly afterwards. The label then started presenting Aguilera with tracks to record and laid foundation for her debut album. While initially catering to making Aguilera's debut a "wonder introduction of a singer" like Barbra Streisand, RCA was pressurized by contemporary teen pop craze involving Aguilera's peers including Britney Spears, leading to the label rushing the production process and aligning Aguilera to be part of the teen pop trend. They decided the lead single off the album would be "Genie in a Bottle", a trendy pop and R&B track released in June 1999. The single was a major commercial success, peaking atop the Billboard Hot 100 and record charts of 20 other countries. It has sold over 7 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling singles worldwide.
Following the success of the single, Aguilera's eponymous debut album was released in August to commercial success, peaking at number one on the Billboard 200 and was certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It moved 14 million copies worldwide, and produced three singles, including two Billboard Hot 100 number ones "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)", and an All-4-One cover of "I Turn to You". The album helped Aguilera win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 2000 ceremony. Aguiera's two following studio albums Mi Reflejo and My Kind of Christmas were subsequently released in the end of 2000. The former topped the Billboard Top Latin Albums for nineteen consecutive weeks and was certified six times platinum in the Latin field by the RIAA. It won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album at the 2001 ceremony.
In support of her albums, Aguilera embarked on her first concert tour Christina Aguilera in Concert from mid-2000 to early 2001, visiting North America, Europe, South America, and Japan. During this time, Aguilera was involved in a romantic relationship with dancer Jorge Santos, which ultimately ended in September 2001.
Thanks to her success throughout 2000, Billboard recognized Aguilera as the Top Female Pop Act of the Year. Despite her early success, Aguilera was displeased with the music and image her management Steve Kurtz had aligned her to, feeling unable to control her own image. Aguilera's views of Kurtz's influence in matters of her creative direction, the role of being her exclusive personal manager, and over-scheduling 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. After terminating Kurtz's services, Irving Azoff was hired as her new manager.
Aguilera's first take on more artistic control was expressed in the 2001 Moulin Rouge! cover of Labelle's "Lady Marmalade", which also saw the contribution of Pink, Mya and Lil Kim. Originally opposed by RCA executives for being "too urban" and "too Rockwilder and Missy", Aguilera insisted on recording the song. "Lady Marmalade" topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks based on airplay alone, becoming the first airplay-only track in history to remain on the chart's top spot for more than one week. It earned a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2002 ceremony. Later in 2001, an album titled Just Be Free containing demo tracks recorded by Aguilera in 1994 and 1995 was released by Warlock Records without Aguilera's permission. She subsequently filed a suit against Warlock Records and the album's producers to stop the release. The two parties came to a confidential settlement to release the album, in which Aguilera lent out her name, likeness, and image for an unspecified amount of damages.
When planning her fourth studio album, Aguilera leaned towards a new artistic direction that she felt had more musical and lyrical depth. She named the album Stripped and explained that the title represented "a new beginning, a re-introduction of (herself) as a new artist in a way". For the album, Aguilera served as executive producer and co-wrote most of the songs. The album was preceded by the single "Dirrty", which was released to shed Aguilera's teen pop image and express her sexuality and aggression. Its accompanying music video generated controversy for depicting various sexual fetishes and concepts. Aguilera's new image presented in the video started to overshadow her music, generating widespread criticism from both her peers including Shakira and Jessica Simpson and the public. Aguilera defended her new image, explaining that "I'm in the power position, in complete command of everything and everybody around me. To be totally balls-out like that is, for me, the measure of a true artist."
The final cut of Stripped incorporated various genres from flamenco and R&B to rock and lyrically revolved around the theme of self-esteem while also discussing sex and gender equality. It was released in October 2002 to mixed critical reviews; Jancee Dunn from the Rolling Stone praised Aguilera's vocals yet panned the album for its lack of musical concentration. The album was nonetheless a commercial success, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 4.3 million copies in the United States. It was a major success in the United Kingdom, having sold 2 million copies and became the second highest-selling album by a female US artist of the 2000s decade, behind Norah Jones with Come Away with Me. Stripped has sold over 12 million copies worldwide. The album was followed by four singles, "Beautiful", "Fighter", "Can't Hold Us Down", and "The Voice Within". "Beautiful" received universal acclaim for positive portrayal of the LGBT community and was the album's most commercially successful single, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It earned Aguilera a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2004 ceremony. The song was later listed at number 52 among the 100 Best Songs of the 2000s by the Rolling Stone in 2011.
During the promotion of Stripped, Aguilera cultivated a new image by adopting the alter ego Xtina, dyeing her hair black, and debuting several tattoos and piercings. She co-headlined the Justified and Stripped Tour alongside Justin Timberlake from June to September 2003 in support of Stripped and Timberlake's album Justified, before embarking on her solo The Stripped Tour until December. Aguilera garnered media attention after attending the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in August, where she and Britney Spears kissed Madonna during their performance of "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood". Later that year, she was the host of the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards, where she won an award for Best Female. Billboard also announced Aguilera as the Top Female Pop Act of 2003.
In 2004, Aguilera recorded a revised version of Rose Royce's "Car Wash" with Missy Elliott for the animated film Shark Tale, in which she was also a voice actress. Later that year, she and Nelly performed "Tilt Ya Head Back" at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards; the song was subsequently released as a single from Nelly's album Sweat. Aguilera also contributed vocals to Herbie Hancock's 2005 cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You", which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 48th ceremony. During this time, Aguilera started working on her follow-up studio album while embracing an image inspired by public figures of the "Old Hollywood glam era" including Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and Mary Pickford, debuting blonde curly hair and retro-styled makeup. In February 2005, Aguilera became engaged to music marketing executive Jordan Bratman after dating for two years. The couple married on November 19, 2005 at an estate in Napa County, California.
Aguilera's fifth studio album Back to Basics was released in August 2006. The double album, according to Aguilera, was "a throwback to the 20s, 30s, and 40s-style jazz, blues, and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist". During the recording process, Aguilera was much inspired by works of classic blues and soul singers including Otis Redding, Millie Jackson, and Nina Simone, which she described as "music that really had heart". The album was released to generally positive critical feedback, with compliments regarding its retro-oriented styles and Aguilera's vocals. It debuted atop the Billboard 200 and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide, of which 1.7 million copies were sold in the United States. The album was preceded by "Ain't No Other Man", which reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold 1.7 million digital copies in the United States. The song's music video saw Aguilera portraying her new alter ego Baby Jane. The single won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards, where Aguilera performed a rendition of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" in tribute of James Brown.
Back to Basics was succeeded by two singles, "Hurt" and "Candyman". "Slow Down Baby" was released exclusively in Australia as the fourth single, while "Oh Mother" was the fourth in Europe. In support of Back to Basics, Aguilera embarked on the Back to Basics Tour, commencing in November 2006 in Europe, visiting North America, Asia, and Oceania, and ending in October 2008 in the United Arab Emirates. Billboard Boxscore announced the Back to Basic Tour as the highest-grossing solo female tour of 2007, with US$48.1M grossed. Forbes recognized Aguilera as the nineteenth-richest woman in entertainment as of January 2007, with a net worth of US$60 million.
On January 12, 2008, Aguilera gave birth to Max Bratman, her son with Jordan Bratman. Later that year, she appeared in the Martin Scorsese documentary Shine a Light chronicling a two-day Rolling Stones concert in New York City's Beacon Theatre, in which Aguilera performs "Live with Me" alongside the band's lead vocalist Mick Jagger. In commemoration of a decade-long career in the music industry, Aguilera released a greatest hits album titled Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits exclusively through Target on November 11, 2008 in the United States. In addition to previous singles, it included four newly-recorded electropop-oriented songs, two of which are remade versions of two previous singles. Aguilera revealed that the newly-recorded tracks featured "a very futurisic, robotic sound" that served as a preview for her follow-up studio album. The release peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200, while its titular single "Keeps Gettin' Better" charted at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2009, Billboard recognized Aguilera as the 20th most successful artist of the 2000s.
Aguilera's sixth studio album Bionic was released in June 2010. The album drew inspirations from electronic genres, which had influenced Aguilera during her pregnancy. Critical response to the album was mixed, with some of the critics did not welcome the change in musical styles as well as the content of the lyrics for being "cringeworthy". Bionic struggled to match the chart impact and sales of her previous albums, peaking at number three on the Billboard 200 and has sold 315,000 copies in the United States. "Not Myself Tonight" and "You Lost Me" were released as singles internationally, while "Woohoo" featuring rapper Nicki Minaj was released as a single in the United States and several European countries, and "I Hate Boys" was released exclusively to Australian airplay service.
In November 2010, Aguilera starred alongside Cher in the film Burlesque. The film was written and directed by Steve Antin, and grossed $90 million. It was met with mixed reviews from critics, who criticized it for being "campy and clichéd", yet praised Aguilera's acting. Burlesque received a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 68th Golden Globe Awards. Aguilera contributed eight tracks to the film's accompanying soundtrack, while Cher performed the other two. The soundtrack reached number 18 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA.
At the Super Bowl XLV in February 2011, Aguilera omitted a few lines while performing the U.S. national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner". She later apologized, saying, "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through". She performed at the opening act of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, alongside Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams, and Florence Welch, paying tribute to Aretha Franklin. In April 2011, Aguilera served as a coach on the television series The Voice and went on for its three first seasons until December 2012. During the first season, Aguilera was featured on Maroon 5's single "Moves like Jagger" upon the invitation of the group's lead vocalist and Aguilera's The Voice fellow Adam Levine. The single peaked atop Billboard Hot 100 and became one of the best-selling digital singles worldwide with 7 million copies sold.
Having separated in September, Aguilera filed for divorce from Bratman in October 2010, requesting joint legal and physical custody of their son Max. After reaching a private settlement and custody deal, their divorce was finalized on April 15, 2011. Aguilera was concurrently involved in a romantic relationship with Matthew Rutler, who served as an assistant on the set of Burlesque. On March 1, 2011, the couple was arrested for public intoxication in West Hollywood. They were later released on bail and no charges were filed.
Aguilera's seventh studio album Lotus was released in November 2012. She described it as a "rebirth" of herself after the personal struggles she had overcome during the Bionic album era. The album has become her least commercially successful album so far. It peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 and has sold 290,000 copies in the United States. The album was preceded by two singles, "Your Body" and "Just a Fool". During the promotion of Lotus in December 2012, Aguilera was temporarily replaced by Shakira for the fourth season of The Voice and returned for the fifth season in September 2013.
While Aguilera's seventh studio album Lotus was commercially unsuccessful, she subsequently found her revitalized success through collaborations with other artists. She was featured on Pitbull's single "Feel This Moment" in January 2013, which peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified double platinum by the RIAA. She subsequently appeared on Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández's cover of "Hoy Tengo Ganas de Ti", which earned a diamond certification in Mexico. Aguilera's duet of "Say Something" with A Great Big World, released in November 2013, was met with critical acclaim and commercial success, earning a six-time platinum certification from the RIAA and winning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Aguilera became engaged to Rutler in February 2014. She gave birth to their daughter, Summer Rain Rutler, in August 2014. For the sixth and seventh seasons of The Voice, Aguilera was respectively replaced by Shakira and Gwen Stefani, clarifying that she wanted to devote her time to her family. She subsequently returned as a coach for the eighth and tenth seasons; for the latter she won with her contestant Alisan Porter and became the first female coach to win the show.
In April 2015, Aguilera played a recurring role as singer Jade St. John on the third season of ABC's musical drama series Nashville. In March 2016, Aguilera and Rutler were announced as executive producers for a new music-based game show, Tracks, to air on Spike TV. Aguilera recorded a song titled "Change", which was dedicated to the victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting as well as Christina Grimmie, who was fatally shot in Orlando the day before the nightclub shooting, in June 2016. The proceedings were donated to the National Compassion Fund to benefit the victims' families. She further recorded a disco song titled "Telepathy" featuring Nile Rodgers for the soundtrack of Netflix original series The Get Down in August 2016, contributed as a voice actress for The Emoji Movie, and was announced to had been cast for the upcoming film Zoe in May 2017.
Aguilera released her eighth studio album, titled Liberation, on June 15. Its lead promo single, "Accelerate", was released last May 3, while second single "Fall In Line", featuring Demi Lovato, was released on May 20, one day after they performed it together on the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. She will also embark on the Liberation Tour, her first concert tour in over a decade.
Aguilera is a soprano, having a vocal range spanning four octaves (from B♭2 to C♯7), four notes, a semitone and the whistle register. Since the start of her career Aguilera's voice has been compared to that of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. David Browne writing for The New York Times noted that Aguilera's vocal performance was highly influenced by Carey and Houston, sharing that "Aguilera has been one of the foremost practitioners of the overpowering, Category 5 vocal style known as melisma", and "Ms. Carey, Ms. Houston and Ms. Aguilera, to name its three main champions, are most associated with the period from the late '80s through the late '90s". A journal by Ann Powers for the Los Angeles Times said there are influences of Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin on Aguilera's vocal style, opining that the "Aguilera's Streisand-esque tendencies" "[help Aguilera] figure out how to become the 'great singer' she's been dubbed since she released her first single, the wise-beyond-its-years 'Genie in a Bottle', at 18". Sasha Frere-Jones wrote in The New Yorker, "Aguilera doesn't need to reincarnate Sarah Vaughan to be a serious singer. She already is one, in the tradition of nineteen-nineties pop and R&B, skillfully deploying melisma for razzle-dazzle". In 2003, Aguilera was placed 5th on MTV's "Best Voices in Music Ever" list, while ranking atop both COVE and Latina magazine's best Pop and Latina vocalist of all time in 2004 and 2013 respectively. In a review for Liberation Jon Pareles of The New York Times describes Aguilera's vocal versatility, stating; "Nothing less than high drama suits Christina Aguilera’s voice. She can be brassy, tearful, sultry, gritty, breathy, sweet or furious. She can belt and she can tease; she can aim a note as directly as a missile or turn its trajectory into an aerobatic spiral of leaping, quivering, scalloping melismas. Her voice is not an instrument for making modest statements; it’s about peaks of self-affirmation, indescribable sensual pleasures, steely counterattacks and abysses of sorrow".
Aguilera has, however, been criticized for her excessive use of melisma and oversinging on songs and in concerts. John Eskow of The Huffington Post named Aguilera a main proponent for "oversouling", described as the "gratuitous and confected melisma". Lucy Davies, a writer for BBC Music, opined that although Aguilera had "a stunning voice", she "could be more varied, simply by cutting out some of the 'y-e-e-eeeh, woah yeh's'". Longtime producer Linda Perry, who wrote the song "Beautiful", revealed about the recording sessions with Aguilera, "I tried to keep it straight. I told her to get rid of the finger waves. Every time she'd start going into 'hoo-ha', I'd stop the tape. I'm like, 'You're doing it again'". Perry ended up using the song's first take adding, "She had a hard time accepting that as the final track. She's a perfectionist. She knows her voice really well, and she knows what's going on. She can hear things that nobody else would catch." An editor from Entertainment Weekly, Chris Willman, stated that the oversinging on Aguilera's albums was inspired by Carey, writing that "the Mariah venerators don't get away with it so easily. Aguilera, for one thing, has a slightly nasal tone that really only becomes obvious when she's overselling a song".
Aguilera has credited blues singer Etta James as her main influence and inspiration, elaborating, "Etta is my all-time favorite singer. I've said it for the last seven years – since I had my first debut record out – in every interview". Following James' death in 2012, Aguilera was asked to perform "At Last" at James' funeral. Prior to the performance, Aguilera revealed, "There's a line in this song that says 'I found a dream that I could speak to.' And for me that dream, all my life, has been Etta James". Other classic artists, including Billie Holiday, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald, are also Aguilera's major influences; her fifth studio album Back to Basics is inspired by vintage jazz, blues and soul music records by them.
Aguilera mentions Whitney Houston as another influence, having performed many of her songs in her early years during talent shows. She also cites Mariah Carey and Celine Dion as an inspiration, and covered the latter's songs: "These Are the Special Times" on My Kind of Christmas, and "The Prayer" on the NBC reality singing competition The Voice. Aguilera's debut album producer Ron Harris revealed that Aguilera during her recording sessions for Christina Aguilera would constantly listen Brandy's music, studying and trying to replicate her adlibs. According to author Pier Dominguez of the book Christina Aguilera: A Star is Made, Aguilera stated that Carey and her debut single, "Vision of Love" (1990), had the biggest influence on her vocal style. Aguilera points out the musical film The Sound of Music and its lead actress, Julie Andrews, as her first inspiration for singing and performing. At the age of six, the film helped Aguilera cope with her violent childhood, "Bad things happened in my home; there was violence. The Sound of Music looked like a form of release." Aguilera credits Madonna and Janet Jackson as two biggest inspirations for her image, "for being re-inventive and being brave as strong females, to explore whatever, even if they do get bad press. It's just like they were fearless." During the promotion of Back to Basics, her image was also inspired by the "Golden age of Hollywood" actresses including Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo and Veronica Lake. Aguilera is also inspired by her Burlesque co-star, Cher: "I have always had tremendous respect for her. She is a woman who did everything before anyone else did it. She is an icon and she inspired me through some of my career. We've had similar costumes too!"
Aguilera frequently blends elements of pop, R&B, dance-pop and soul music into her projects, her records typically include a combination of ballads and uptempo tracks. Christina Aguilera (1999) prominently displayed teen pop and dance-pop music, while Mi Reflejo (2000) takes inspiration from Latin music. Her first Christmas album, My Kind of Christmas, combines covers of Christmas standards and several original dance-pop tracks. Aiming for musical diversity and artistic growth, Aguilera worked with R&B, rock, hip hop, and Latin music for Stripped (2002). David Browne from Entertainment Weekly credited the release with distancing Aguilera from her pop contemporaries. Aguilera leaned towards R&B, blues, jazz, and soul on Back to Basics (2006).
In contrast, Bionic (2010) sees significant use from futuristic electronic music, described as an electropop album. The soundtrack for her 2010 feature film Burlesque (2010) was influenced by Cabaret, and featured several established songs that were redone as dance numbers in a fashion similar to Moulin Rouge! (2001). Aguilera partnered with mainstream producers including Shellback and Max Martin during production of Lotus (2012); when discussing her interactions with the latter, she commented that "He's known about me but we haven't crossed paths," adding "Those records were the kind I wanted to stray apart from. If you look at what I did in the past (after my debut), I always try to do things that will challenge me and challenge the listener, too."
Aguilera has commented that she feels a sense of responsibility to reference portions of her personal life so that "people that can relate might not feel as alone in the circumstance." Many of her works consequently discuss love; she has also co-written two tracks which dealt with the domestic abuse throughout her childhood. Aguilera has frequently mentioned feminism in her music; she has expressed her belief that sexuality is "very empowering", and has commented that "If I want to be sexual, it's for my own appreciation and enjoyment! That's why I like to talk about the fact that sometimes I am attracted to women. I appreciate their femininity and beauty." She has alluded to her physical attractions to women in other interviews as well. Her "Can't Hold Us Down" from Stripped denounces gender-related double standards, in which men are applauded for their sexual behaviors, while women who behave in a similar fashion are disdained. The main theme of Bionic was also about woman empowerment; Hermione Hoby from The Guardian opined that "she incites more of a sisterly spirit of collaboration, including riot grrrl feminists Le Tigre. Aguilera's not shy of the odd feministic declaration herself." In regards to production, Aguilera has often verbalized her preference of working with more "obscure" collaborators, and noted that she is not necessarily inclined to contact "the No.1 chart-toppers in music" because of their popular demand. The New York Times' Kelefa Sanneh described her decision to work with DJ Premier on Back to Basics as "a decision to snub some of the big-name producers on whom pop stars often rely."
Aguilera has reinvented her public image on numerous occasions throughout her career. In the later 1990s, her then-manager Steve Kurtz marketed her as a bubblegum pop entertainer to capitalize on the genre's financial lure, which earned her recognition as a teen idol. Aguilera introduced her alter ego "Xtina" during 2002 and 2003, which presented an increasingly provocative persona. During this time, she dyed her hair black, debuted several piercings, and participated in several nude pictorials for publications. In 2004, Aguilera embraced a more "mature" image with retro-styled hair and makeup, which was inspired by classic movie stars including Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich and Mary Pickford. This reinvention was named "Baby Jane" in 2006, an alter ego which was taken from the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Aguilera received widespread criticism over her curvy figure from gaining weight in 2012. She later received favorable media attention after a significant weight loss in 2013. In 2018 Aguilera appeared bare-faced without makeup and retouching on the cover of Paper magazine and received widespread praise.
Aguilera is considered a pop icon, and has frequently garnered comparisons to Britney Spears. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said that Aguilera is "too eager not to offend" in her mild-mannered music, making her a "good girl pretending to be bad", and also said that Spears' "artificial-sweetener voice" was a welcome change of pace from Aguilera's "numbing vocal gymnastics". Matthew Horton from Virgin Media suggested that Aguilera was a more impressive performer than Spears despite her lower sales figures. Aguilera has also been regarded as a sex symbol. A 2003 issue of Maxim magazine that she covered became its best-selling issue; Aguilera was named "Sexiest Woman of the Year" by its subscribers later that year, and also earned the magazine its best-selling issue after posing on the cover that year. Additionally recognized as a gay icon, she was the first honoree on The Abbey's Gay Walk of Fame for her contributions to the LGBT community. The music video for "Beautiful" earned Aguilera a GLAAD Media Award for its positive portrayal of the LGBT community.
Fashion has also been a part of Aguilera's music career and image. She has frequently worn clothes designed by Roberto Cavalli, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, and Alexander McQueen. During the Back to Basics Tour in 2006, Aguilera performed in a stole made of fur designed by Roberto Cavalli, unaware that it was made from real fur of a white fox. After receiving a video about the treatment of foxes from PETA vice president Dan Mathews, Aguilera replaced it with a faux-fur stole, further stating that she was "very upset" because she "only ever wears fake fur". Aguilera's costumes from Burlesque were featured in the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising's Art of Motion Picture Costume Design exhibition. Wax figures of Aguilera are located at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London and New York City.
Aguilera has sold 17.9 million records in the United States, and over 50 million records worldwide. Gregory Hicks from The Michigan Daily opined that "Aguilera deserves to be known as one of the greatest artists to ever hit the pop industry." In 2012, VH1 named Aguilera the eighth greatest woman in the music industry. Aguilera has also been recognized as one of the greatest vocalists of all time, and is commonly referred to as "The Voice of a Generation". Aguilera topped Cove magazine's list of "The 100 Outstanding Pop Vocalists". She was ranked fifth in MTV and Blender magazine's 2003 countdown of the 22 Greatest Voices in Music. In November 2008, Rolling Stone placed Aguilera at number 58 on its list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, writing that "[Aguilera] has had the finesse and power of a blues queen ever since she was a child star". At the 2013 People's Choice Awards, Aguilera was awarded the People's Voice Award, which recognized Aguilera's ability to reach millions of people across various genres. In 2013, Aguilera was one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World. In the article for the magazine, Celine Dion wrote, "Without a doubt, [Aguilera]'s one of the most talented artists the world has ever seen and heard, and I think she's going to continue to amaze us for many, many years to come."
Aguilera is also well known for her television and music video impact; in 2012, Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented that Aguilera "will be remembered for her glamour, her scandalous take on femme-pop and her Brobdingnagian voice, and ... as the person who almost single-handedly reshaped music-competition reality programming". She was considered as one of the greatest women of the music video era by VH1. Aguilera's use of sexual imagery has catalyzed public discourse on sexuality and feminism. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, co-founder of The Vagenda, opined that the provocative dance routines in Aguilera's music videos are "empowering". Writing for The Hampton Institute, critic Terry Young, Jr. commented that Aguilera "redefined the 21st century female pop performer". He added that following the release of Stripped, "artists like Spears and Beyoncé became more comfortable expressing sexuality and no longer felt the need to sell the notion of innocence". Aguilera's works have earned her numerous awards and accolades, including five Grammy Awards. In November 2010, Aguilera was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In October 2012, Aguilera's costumes and video collection was included on the "Women Who Rock" exhibition by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Aguilera has inspired various artists, including: Ariana Grande, Tinashe, Meghan Trainor, Jordin Sparks, Demi Lovato, Camryn, Kelly Clarkson, Alexandra Burke, Charli XCX, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Ashley Tisdale, Charice, Sam Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Candice Glover, Jasmine Trias, Karmin, Jessie J, and Louisa Johnson.
Lady Gaga cited Aguilera and her cover of All-4-One's "I Turn to You" as an inspiration for Gaga's vocal range, elaborating; "When I was 15, I was singing "I Turn to You" at the top of my lungs. She was an inspiration to me to have a wider vocal range." Demi Lovato explained that she was inspired by Aguilera's themes, "I had a lot of respect for Whitney Houston, and Christina Aguilera, on some songs where she was really amazing and wasn't trying to be sexy or anything like that. I just found that I had more respect for artists that didn't talk about that stuff, and those were the ones that were more successful." Aguilera's works has also inspired some athletes, including American figure skater Johnny Weir and American swimmer Dana Vollmer.
In 2000, Aguilera supported a program called Come on Over and Do Something, which aimed to "encourage kids to get involved in their communities and make a difference." A year later, she signed a letter from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to the South Korean government requesting that the country stop its alleged killing of dogs for food. In 2010, Aguilera auctioned tickets for her planned tour for Christie's A Bid to Save the Earth, which benefited the non-profit environmental groups Conservation International, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, and The Central Park Conservancy. Aguilera contributed US$200,000 to the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh in December 2003, and has worked with Lifetime Television's "End violence against women" campaign.
In 2005, Aguilera contributed "Beautiful" to the compilation album Love Rocks, which proceeds benefited the Human Rights Campaign. Aguilera participated in the AIDS Project Los Angeles' Artists Against AIDS "What's Going On?" cover project, and became the face for MAC Cosmetics and spokesperson for MAC AIDS Fund in 2004. Singer Elton John featured Aguilera in his charity book 4 Inches, which benefitted the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
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, non-profit campaign "Declare Yourself". In these political advertisements, shot by David LaChapelle, Aguilera was shown with her mouth sewn shut to symbolize the effects of not voting. In late 2007, Aguilera became the spokesperson for "Rock the Vote", through which she encouraged young people to vote in the 2008 presidential election. In 2005, Aguilera donated her wedding gifts to American charities in support of Hurricane Katrina victims, and performed at "Unite of the Stars" concert for Unite Against Hunger in Johannesburg, South Africa and for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund at the Coca-Cola Dome.
In 2008, Aguilera headlined London's Africa Rising charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which raised awareness for finding substantial issues facing the continent. That year, Aguilera appeared on the Turkish version of Deal or No Deal, Var mısın? Yok musun?, and donated proceeds to a charity program for orphans. In 2009, Aguilera became the global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief; she and Bratman traveled to Guatemala with the World Food Programme to bring awareness to issues including its high malnutrition rate, and met with local families and beneficiaries of WFP's nutrition programs. Aguilera has helped raise over $148 million for WFP and other hunger relief agencies in 45 countries.
In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Aguilera donated a signed Chrysler 300 which was auctioned for relief efforts. She additionally appeared on the Hope for Haiti telethon that January, where donations directly benefited Oxfam America, Partners In Health, Red Cross and UNICEF. She was featured on a public service announcement alongside former boxer Muhammad Ali to raise funds for the World Food Programme's efforts to bring food to survivors of the earthquake. Aguilera was nominated for a VH1 Do Something Award for her work with the organization and her efforts in response to the earthquake. In 2010, Aguilera was appointed UN ambassador for the World Food Programme. Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Aguilera performed "Beautiful" to open the Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together benefit telethon; all proceeds went to the American Red Cross. That year, Aguilera and David Novak received the George McGovern Leadership Award. The following year Aguilera was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award.
In 2000, Aguilera was the face for make-up line Fetish, where she worked in choosing colors and packaging for the line. That same year, an interactive CD-ROM was produced called Christina Aguilera: Follow Your Dreams released by Simon & Schuster Interactive which features games and quizzes, plus Aguilera herself talking about accomplishing her goals. Throughout her career, Aguilera has endorsed several brands, including Sears, Levi's, Skechers, Mercedes-Benz, Versace, Virgin Mobile, Orange (UK), Oreo, Sony Ericsson and soft drink giants Coca-Cola, and Pepsi in 2001 and 2006, respectively. In 2004, Aguilera earned £200,000 (about $300,000) for opening the summer sale at London's Harrods store and appeared in an advertisement for MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam V campaign. Following the birth of her son in 2008, she was reportedly paid $1.5 million by People for her baby pictures, which became the ninth most expensive celebrity baby photographs ever taken. In 2008, jewelry designer Stephen Webster and friend of Aguilera released "Shattered", a collection of sterling silver pieces, through Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Aguilera, who inspired the collection, was featured as a Hitchcock heroine. They reprised their work together for Webster's 2009 spring line. In 2011, Aguilera attended São Paulo Fashion Week to premiere her new line of clothing for Brazilian department store C&A, which launched in April.
Aguilera is the No. 1 awarded celebrity brand, winner of 13 awards globally. Her first fragrance, Xpose, was released in Europe in late 2004 and sold relatively well. Through Procter & Gamble, Aguilera released her signature fragrance, Simply Christina, in 2007. In Christmas 2007, the fragrance became the number one perfume in the United Kingdom, and later in 2009 it was the country's 4th best selling perfume. The perfume won as the people's choice for favorite celebrity fragrance at the annual UK Fifi Awards 2008. She released her third fragrance, Inspire, accompanied with a body care collection, in September 2008. It was Aguilera's first fragrance released outside of Europe. Her worldwide ad campaign included a television ad shot by David LaChapelle and was released in the United States in Macy's department stores. The release coincided with Macy's 150th anniversary which featured Aguilera in commemorative photos. She released her fourth fragrance, By Night, in October 2009, which became the third best selling fragrance in the United Kingdom in 2009. The range was further augmented by Royal Desire in 2010, Secret Potion in 2011, Red Sin in 2012, Unforgettable in 2013, Woman in 2014, Touch of Seduction in 2015, Glam X in 2016 and Definition in 2017.
• Christina Aguilera (1999)
• Mi Reflejo (2000)
• My Kind of Christmas (2000)
• Stripped (2002)
• Back to Basics (2006)
• Bionic (2010)
• Lotus (2012)
• Liberation (2018)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
Christina Aguilera in the news
|Songs by Christina Aguilera|