Christina Aguilera

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Christina Maria Aguilera (born December 18 1980) is an American pop singer-songwriter, also known as Xtina. She is most often recognized by her notable vocal abilities 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 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as two top five albums and 4 Grammy Awards in the United States.

Aguilera is married to record executive Jordan Bratman, and her legal name is now Christina Maria Bratman.

Contents

Early years

Christina Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York but grew up mainly in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, Pennsylvania, 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. Aguilera's parents met while Fausto was serving at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since Aguilera 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. Aguilera soon gained media attention, and was known to some as "the little girl with the big voice".

According to the [life story] that appeared on 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, with Aguilera swearing them to secrecy about her voice talent.

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 returned home and appeared on Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV's "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 Pittsburgh, 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 met shared the stage with Sheryl Crow and Diana Ross. In 1998, after proving herself as a singer with a high, powerful chest voice, singing the High "E" note an octave above middle "C" on a cover of Whitney Houston's "Run to You" which she recorded with an old tape recorder in her bathroom, 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. "Reflection" peaked at number fifteen on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for a Motion Picture in 1998.

Christina Aguilera: debut

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File:ChristinaAguileraalbumcover.jpg
Aguilera on the cover of her 1999 debut album, Christina Aguilera.

Under the exclusive representation of Steve Kurtz, her self-titled album, Christina Aguilera, was released on August 24, 1999. It reached the top of the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts, selling over eight million copies in the United States alone. It was released the same week as Puff Daddy's long-awaited second album Forever, and showed Aguilera's instant rise to fame by beating him to the number one 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 number three. However, Aguilera did not only enjoy 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". "Obvious", the final track of the album was one of the original demo tracks that was sent to Ron Fair before Christina was signed with Aguilera's record label, RCA.

In 2000, Aguilera first emphasized her Latino heritage, following the Latin Pop 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 twenty-seven on the Billboard 200 and number one 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 forty 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 twenty in the U.S., and top forty in Canada, Switzerland, and Australia.

Just Be Free: unauthorized material

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File:AguileraJustBeFree.jpg
Aguilera on the cover of Just Be Free at the age of 15.

In 2000, a single emerged into record stores called "Just Be Free", one of the demos Aguilera recorded when she was about 15 years old. When RCA Records discovered the single, they officially advised fans not to purchase it and had German authorities pull the single off shelves as well. Months later, Warlock Records was set to release Just Be Free; an album which contains the demo tracks.

Aguilera filed a breach of contract and unfair-competition suit against Warlock and the album's producers to block the release. Instead, the two parties came to a settlement to release the album. Aguilera lent out her name, likeness and image for an unspecified amount of damages. Many of the details of the lawsuit remain confidential. When the album was released on August 21 2001, it had a photograph of Christina when she was fifteen years old.

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 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.

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

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File:Christina Aguilera - Stripped.jpg
Aguilera on the cover of Stripped

On October 29 2002, after much delay, Aguilera's second full-length English album, Stripped, was released in the U.S. 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 is trying to get through to one who is quiet and withdrawn. "Soar" is a gospel-inspired song about becoming self-reliant. "Make Over" is a pop rock song about becoming an individual and people trying to change her. 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 effect on Aguilera in the U.S. While the video for "Dirrty" became a huge hit on MTV, it stalled at a disappointing forty-eight on the Hot 100 and quickly fell off the singles chart. However, the song was a huge hit worldwide, reaching number one in several countries and on the World Chart. The album entered the U.K. and U.S. album charts at number two, and at number three in Canada, where they all ultimately peaked. Despite going double-platinum in the U.S. after only eight weeks on the chart, it was still considered a sophomore slump. The second single, "Beautiful", was quickly released in the U.S. 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: "Fighter", "Can't Hold Us Down", and "The Voice Within". 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 demonstrated most effectively in the UK, where the album remained consistently in the top twenty album charts between late 2002 and late 2004. Stripped went on to sell four million copies in the U.S. and ended up at number ten on Billboard's Year-End Album Chart. The album also went quadruple platinum in Australia despite only reaching a peak of number seven, again a reflection of its consistency between late 2002 and 2004. Kelly Clarkson's first single 'Miss Independent' was cowritten by Aguilera, and was originally supposed to be a song on Stripped. Aguilera was the number-one Billboard Female Artist (albums and singles) of 2003.

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 U.S. 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, Aguilera 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 U.S. 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

File:Christinakiss.jpg
Aguilera and Madonna during a performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards

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

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 than 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 parodying the movie You Got Served. Her dead-on impersonation of Kim Cattrall's Sex and the City character, Samantha, was also praised.

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; she is believed by many of her fans to be one of the main proponents (along with Gwen Stefani and Ashley Judd) in bringing back the 1920s-1940s Hollywood glamour look.

File:Declareyourself aguilera.jpg
Image used in the Declare Yourself billboard campaign. Photograph by David LaChapelle
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, Aguilera 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. Aguilera copied another legendary look for the video: Marilyn Monroe's. Both singles flopped commercially in the U.S., but did considerably better in other parts of the world; "Tilt" reached number one in a few countries, including the Philippines. "Tilt Ya' Head Back", formerly rumored to be "Tilt Cha' Head Back", was well received in the U.S. at first, but sales 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 U.S. 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.

Recent events

After failed relationships with Latin dancer Jorge Santos (chronicled in her song "Infatuation" from her second album Stripped) and an unnamed producer, she began dating music executive Jordan Bratman. After dating him for almost three years, their engagement was announced in February 2005. They were married on November 19, 2005, in the Napa Valley. She had previously announced that the wedding would be in the winter of 2005 (December). Celebrity wedding guests included Linda Perry, and Sharon Stone. It is reported by several media outlets that Aguilera may change her legal name to Maria Bratman. However, she'd continue to use her maiden name professionally.

The VH1 program 2002 The Fabulous Life Of... Christina Aguilera estimated that the singer has a net worth of between thirty and forty million United States dollars.

File:CD-herbiehancock.jpg
Herbie Hancock's album cover, "Possibilities"
Aguilera collaborated with Herbie Hancock on his new album "Possibilities". The album was released in stores on August 30 2005 and debuted at number twenty-two on the Billboard charts. Her track is a cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You". Since then, Christina Aguilera has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Tonight Show. On December 8, 2005, Aguilera was once again nominated for the 48th Grammy Awards in the category Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for her performance with Herbie Hancock in "A Song For You."

Aguilera performed at Unite of the Stars charity banquet in Johanessburg, South Africa recently with stars such as Diana Ross and Westlife in aid of Unite Against Hunger and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund at the Coca-Cola Dome on November 9. She performed a single song, Beautiful. She also held a full headlining concert the next day at the same venue where she performed a string of her hits such as Beautiful and What A Girl Wants. During her stay, she also visited the South African Nature Reserve.

Christina has recently collaborated with Andrea Bocelli on the song Somos Novios for his latest album, Amore!

The future

Template:Future Aguilera's representatives announced that her third full-length English album is due in Spring 2006. Similar to Stripped, the album's feel will be completely different from previous efforts, focusing 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 is 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 resembling her.

Charity work

Throughout her career, Aguilera has been involved with certain charities. Aguilera 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". Aguilera is still a major force in her hometown of Pittsburgh contributing regularly to the Women's Center & Shelter Of Greater Pittsburgh. She also has auctioned off front row seats and back stage passes for the Pittsburgh based charity [1]. Christina contributes in the fight against AIDS, by participating in AIDS Project Los Angeles' Artists Against AIDS "What's Going On?" cover project. In 2004 Aguilera became the new face for cosmetic company M.A.C and spokeperson for M.A.C. AIDS Fund. Aguilera appeared in advertisements of the M.A.C.'s Viva Glam V lipstick and lipgloss. In 2005 Aguilera got involved in a campaign with YouthAids.org and ALDO, to raise awareness with posters and Empowerment Tags.

Discography

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Videography

Music videos


Grammy Award History

Grammy Stats

  • Total Nominations: 11
  • Total Wins: 3 Wins

Best New Artist

  • Won (1999)

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Best Pop Collaboration w/ Vocals

Best Latin Pop Album



DVDs

File:StrippedLiveUK.jpg
Christina Aguilera on the cover of Stripped Live in the U.K.

See also

References

External links

Official sites

This is a list of links to websites which have been created by Aguilera's representatives to promote her music:

de:Christina Aguilera es:Christina Aguilera fi:Christina Aguilera fr:Christina Aguilera gl:Christina Aguilera he:כריסטינה אגילרה id:Christina Aguilera it:Christina Aguilera ja:クリスティーナ・アギレラ nl:Christina Aguilera pl:Christina Aguilera pt:Christina Aguilera simple:Christina Aguilera sv:Christina Aguilera zh:克里斯蒂娜·阿奎莱拉

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