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Christina Aguilera is an American pop singer, songwriter, and producer. She was signed to RCA Records after recording "Reflection" for the film Mulan. She came to prominence following her debut album Christina Aguilera (1999), which was a critical and commercial success.
Christina Aguilera Career
She then came out with a latin album "Mi Reflejo" and "My kind of Christmas" in 2000. She sang a duet with singer Ricky Martin, "Nobody wants to be Lonely," and several unknown songs during this time.
After parting from her management, Aguilera took creative control over her second studio album Stripped (2002), which received mixed reviews and produced substantial sales. The overtly sexual image Aguilera displayed during the promotion of the album became the subject of intense criticism and ridicule. The second single, "Beautiful" was of commercial success and sustained the album's sales.
Aguilera's third studio album Back to Basics (2006) included elements of soul, jazz, and blues music. Mainly produced by DJ Premier, it was released to strong sales and positive critical reception. Aside from being known for her vocal ability, musically she includes themes of dealing with public scrutiny, her childhood, and female empowerment. Aguilera's work has earned her numerous awards including five Grammy Awards amongst eighteen nominations. She has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.
Childhood and early career
Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York City, New York, to Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at the time and Shelly Loraine Fidler, a Spanish teacher. Aguilera's father was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, while her mother is of Irish descent (Christina's maternal grandmother emigrated from County Clare). Her father, Fausto, was stationed at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada and Japan. Aguilera lived with her father and mother until she was seven years old. When Aguilera's parents divorced, her mother took her, and her younger sister Rachel, to her grandmother's home in Wexford, Pennsylvania, a White-collar suburb outside of Pittsburgh. According to both Aguilera and Fidler, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive. She later wrote about her difficult childhood in the songs "I'm OK" in Stripped and "Oh Mother" in Back to Basics. Although her father has written to Aguilera, she has ruled out any chance to reunite with him. Since then, Fidler has married a paramedic named Jim Kearns, and has changed her name to Shelly Kearns.
As a child, Aguilera aspired to be a singer. Her musical influences included Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, and Madonna. She also cites the musical The Sound of Music as an early inspiration for singing and performing. As a child, she was known locally as "the little girl with the big voice", singing in local talent shows and competitions.
VH1 and Star Search
According to VH1's Driven, whenever competitors learned they would be up against her in any given week, they would immediately withdraw, 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 to another suburb in the Pittsburgh area and took to secrecy about Aguilera's talent lest another backlash occur.
On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing Etta James' "A Sunday Kind of Love", but lost the competition. 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. People remarked that the then ten-year-old "sounded 20".
At the age of fourteen, Aguilera recorded her first song, "All I Wanna Do", a hit duet with Japanese singer Keizo Nakanishi. In 1997, she represented the United States at the "Golden Stag" International Festival with a two-song set which included Sheryl Crow and Diana Ross.
Her singles "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 #3. According to the album's songwriters who appeared on the documentary Driven, Aguilera wanted to display the range 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. Aguilera won the "Best New Artist" award at the 2000 Grammys, and she was nominated for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" for "Genie in a Bottle".
Latin success, Lady Marmalade (2000) and later hits
Later in 2000, Aguilera first emphasized her Latin heritage by releasing her first Spanish album, Mi Reflejo on September 12, 2000. This album contained Spanish versions of songs from her English debut as well as new Spanish tracks. Though some criticized Aguilera for trying to "cash in" on a Latin-music boom that included Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony, the album still managed to peak at #27 on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Latin album charts. In 2001, it won Aguilera a Latin Grammy Award for "Best Female Pop Vocal Album". The Album has sold 3.5 million copies worldwide and has been certified Gold (500,000) in the USA and 3x Platinum (600,000* Latin album) under the RIAA's Los Premios de Oro y Platino program. She also won the World Music Award as the best selling Latin artist that year. Aguilera also released a Christmas album on October 24, 2000 called My Kind of Christmas. It peaked at #28 on the Billboard 200, has sold over 3.2 million copies worldwide, and has been certified Platinum (1 million) in the USA. 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, which reached #1 on the World Chart.
In 2001, Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink were chosen to remake Patti LaBelle's 1975 single "Lady Marmalade" for the film Moulin Rouge! and its soundtrack. The single Missy Elliott produced hit number one on the Hot 100 for five weeks and reached number one in eleven other countries, and it earned all four performers a Grammy Award for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". Aguilera's appearance in the music video was compared to that of Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. The video won two MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year in 2001, where Aguilera accepted the award saying, "I guess the big hair paid off."
Aguilera in the music video for Lady Marmalade (2001), a collaboration with Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink. That year a single emerged into record stores called "Just Be Free", one of the demos Aguilera recorded when she was around fifteen years old. When RCA Records discovered the single, they advised fans not to purchase it and had German authorities pull the single off shelves. 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 in August 2001, it had a photograph of Aguilera when she was fifteen years old.
Although Aguilera's debut album was very well received, she was dissatisfied with the music and image her management had created for her. Aguilera was marketed as a bubblegum pop singer because of the genre's upward financial trend. She mentioned plans of her next album to have much more depth, both musically and lyrically. Aguilera's views of 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.
Personal life and issues
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.
Kurtz countersued later that month 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 her. He also singled out Azoff for being in violation of the terms of Kurtz's contract. During this time, while she was also working on her second album, she later revealed that she was betrayed by several friends, and hit rock bottom. She used her then-upcoming album as therapy, saying "this record saved me from insanity."
On October 29, 2002, after much delay, Aguilera's second full-length English album, Stripped, was released, selling more than 330,000 copies in the first week and peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200. Unlike previous work, the album showcased Aguilera's raunchier side. The majority of Stripped was co-written by Aguilera (who had recently signed a global music publishing contract 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. Upon initial release, the album was very well-received by critics, although 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. It was during this time Aguilera referred to herself as "Xtina", even getting a tattoo of her nickname on the back of her neck and several piercings.
Initially, the raunchy image had a negative effect on Aguilera in the U.S., especially after the release of her controversial "Dirrty" music video. 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. While the video for "Dirrty" became very popular on MTV, it disappointed on the U.S. singles chart. However, the single was a hit worldwide, reaching number one in the UK and Ireland. The album reached the top five on the U.K., U.S. and Canadian album charts, though it was initially considered a "sophomore slump." The second single, "Beautiful" received critical praise, the classically influenced ballad reached number one in several countries and peaked at #2 in the US. "Beautiful" earned Aguilera the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Three more singles ("Fighter", "Can't Hold Us Down" featuring Lil' Kim, "The Voice Within") were released in the following two years and were hits that helped the album stay on the charts for the next two years. Stripped stayed on the U.S. and UK album charts well into 2004, and went on to be certified four-times platinum in the U.S. with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. It appeared 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 performing in her Stripped Tour.Aguilera joined Justin Timberlake that June 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. In August, 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. Because the collapse occurred hours before the show, only a few stagehands were injured, but 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 the Stripped World Tour. She also dyed her hair black. It was one of the top-grossing tours of that year, and sold out most of its venues. Rolling Stone readers named it the best tour of the year. She became the muse and model for fashion house Versace. She also topped Maxim's Hot 100 list, setting record sales for the issue later saying, "We had fun working with certain clothes, or the lack thereof".
In light of the tour's success, another U.S. tour was scheduled to begin in mid 2004 with a new theme. The tour however was scrapped because of the vocal cord injuries Aguilera suffered shortly before the tour's opening date. In a tribute to Madonna's performance at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards, Aguilera performed a kiss with the singer-actress at the 2003 edition of the ceremony in August. The incident occurred during the opening performance of Madonna's songs "Like a Virgin" and "Hollywood" with fellow popstar Britney Spears.
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. However, the jingle was never completed, as Aguilera has already started working on new material. 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, the Puppini Sisters and Ashley Judd) in bringing back the 1920s-1940s 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, 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. She appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the importance of voting.
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 was 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.
Aguilera collaborated with jazz artist Herbie Hancock on a cover of Leon Russell's "A Song for You" recorded for Hancock's album Possibilities, released in August 2005. Aguilera and Hancock were later nominated for the Grammy Award for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". Aguilera went back to her Mickey Mouse Club roots when she helped open the 50th Anniversary for Disneyland by performing "When You Wish Upon a Star", and she also collaborated with Andrea Bocelli on the song "Somos Novios" for his album Amore. In late 2005, she performed at "Unite of the Stars" concert in aid of Unite Against Hunger in Johannesburg, South Africa and at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund at the Coca-Cola Dome in November.
In March 2006, Aguilera signed a contract with European cell phone operator Orange to promote the new Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. She was featured in a Pepsi commercial alongside Lebanese singer Elissa, as well as Korean pop singer Rain in May. The spot aired during the 2006 World Cup.
She posed nude for a Marilyn Monroe-inspired photoshoot in the May 2006 issue of GQ magazine. In the issue she expressed disappointment in fellow singer Mariah Carey, saying, "She was never cool to me... to the point that one time we were at a party, and I think she got really drunk, and she had just really derogatory things to say to me." In response, Carey issued a press release saying, "It is sad yet predictable that she would use my name at this time to reinvent past incidents for her promotional gain." Aguilera then released her own statement claiming, "My intentions were not to upset Mariah with any statements that were published or taken out of context. I have all the respect in the world for her."
Aguilera's third English studio album, Back to Basics, released August 15, 2006, went to #1 in thirteen countries. The critically-acclaimed lead single "Ain't No Other Man" was a substantial success, reaching #2 on the United World Chart, #6 in the U.S., and the top 5 in Europe. 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 included 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. In the interview with Maxim, she said, "That’s a way of burying my experience with him. We did great work on Stripped... When I tried to work with him again, he made uncalled-for demands. It was disappointing that someone would get affected like that." 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 U.K. The follow-up singles did very well in different regions, "Hurt" in Europe and "Candyman" in the Pacific. She co-directed both music videos, the former with Floria Sigismondi who directed her "Fighter" video, and the latter, "Candyman", with director/photographer Matthew Rolston which was inspired by The Andrews Sisters. The Back To Basics album has sold 4.3 million copies around the world as of 2007.
In late 2006 Aguilera collaborated with Sean "Diddy" Combs on a track, titled "Tell Me", from his album "Press Play". The single reached the top 10 in the UK and peaked at #47 in the U.S.
The "Back to Basics Tour" began late 2006 in Europe followed by a 41-date North American tour in early 2007. After this, she toured Asia and Australia, where it was supposed to end on August 3, however she canceled her dates in Melbourne and her final two in Auckland due to an illness. Her extravagant arena tour included cabaret, three-ring circus and juke joint sets with her 10 piece costumes designed by Roberto Cavalli. It was the most successful US tour by a female in 2007.
At the 49th Grammy Awards, Aguilera again won the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Ain't No Other Man". She made a noteworthy performance at the ceremony paying tribute to James Brown with her rendition of his song "It's a Man's Man's Man's World". In January 2007, she was named the 19th richest woman in entertainment by Forbes, with a net worth of US$60 million.
Aguilera performed Steppin' Out With My Baby with legendary crooner Tony Bennett on the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. That same evening, Bennett won 2 Emmys for Tony Bennett: An American Classic, which Aguilera was a part of. In addition, the Saturday Night Live episode in which Aguilera was the musical guest won an Emmy. "Steppin' Out" is nominated for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, along with a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance nomination for her third single "Candyman".
Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, announced that in 2008, Aguilera will get a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In June 2007, Aguilera said that she was gathering inspiration for her next album, which she said would be "short and sweet" and "completely different" from Back to Basics, although she did not elaborate on what the style of the album would be.
In an interview with Blender magazine Aguilera stated that recording a song with her once rival Eminem is on her agenda. She will appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese documentary Shine A Light from a Rolling Stones concert performance where she performed with Mick Jagger.The film will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on February 7, 2008.
In addition, Christina Aguilera will colaborate with Timbaland in a song for his next album Shock Value II, wich also will colaborate others pop singers like Cher, Celine Dion, Dido, Madonna & Gwen Stefani . This album is expected to be release next November 2008.
Aside from being a cast member of The New Mickey Mouse Club Aguilera has done numerous television appearances and guest appearances. She made a cameo appearance performing on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210, and hosted a Saturday Night Live episode in 2004. The episode included a Sex & The City skit where she portrayed Samantha Jones revealing to everyone she was a man the entire time. She's mentioned in several interviews that she intends to pursue edgy acting roles similar to Angelina Jolie. She voiced a small singing part in the animated film Shark Tale playing a rastafarian jellyfish in the film's closing musical number. The film's stars included, among others, Jolie herself. More recently, she is reported to play the notorious burlesque stripper Tempest Storm in a new film biopic.
On October 1, 2007, Aguilera released her own perfume through Procter and Gamble. The decorative design of the packaging and bottle is inspired by 1930's Hollywood glamour. Aguilera said, "I love trying new things in my music and in fashion. To have a perfume of my own is the beginning of an exciting adventure. To me jasmine has always been synonymous with old movie star glamour. It is such a beautiful scent and has great heritage in traditional perfumery, which I love. The blackcurrant tea note for me captures the vibrancy and happiness of my honeymoon. Its fruity, mouth watering scent reminds me of sitting on our Bali veranda in the heat, looking out over the most gorgeous sunset while sipping a cool, refreshing cocktail". In Christmas 2007, the fragrance became the Christmas Number #1 perfume in the UK.
Throughout her career, Aguilera has been involved with certain charities. She signed a letter from PETA to the South Korean government asking that the country stop its alleged killing of dogs for food. Her involvement in supporting the Defenders of Wildlife have also added to her donations with charities.
Aguilera is still a major contributor in her hometown of Pittsburgh contributing regularly to the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. According to her official website, she toured the center and donated $200,000 to the shelter. She also has auctioned off front row seats and back stage passes for the Pittsburgh-based charity. She has continued her donations and visits to the shelter, and plans to open an additional one. She also supports the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Refuge UK. Since then she has worked with Lifetime Television's 'End violence against women' campaign. Her work there included a public service announcement which aired on the network and during her 2007 tour.
Aguilera 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 spokesperson for M·A·C AIDS Fund. Aguilera appeared in advertisements of the M·A·C's Viva Glam V lipstick and lipgloss, and was featured on Vanity Fair in recognition of her campaign work. In addition, Aguilera contributed to YouthAIDS by posing for a joint YouthAIDS and Aldo Shoes campaign for "Empowerment Tags" in Canada, the U.S. and the UK. She was featured with one of three ubiquitous slogans, "Speak No Evil?" and stated, "HIV is something that people don’t want to talk about, hear about, or face." Singer Elton John featured Aguilera in his charity book titled "Four Inches" benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Elton also hand-picked Aguilera, among others, for his "Fashion Rocks" charity concert. The show, which accompanies music and fashion to benefit the fight against AIDS/HIV, is televised annually and aired in September of 2006.
In November 2005, all of her wedding gifts were submitted to various charities around the nation in support of Hurricane Katrina victims. In March 2007 Aguilera took take part in a charity album (remaking Lennon's "Mother"), proceeds benefit Amnesty International's efforts to end genocide in Darfur. The album titled, "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur", was released June 12, 2007, featuring John Lennon covers sung by several artists. Later that year she hosted a party alongside voting advocacy group Rock the Vote to raise awareness amongst young voters.
She dated Puerto Rican-born dancer Jorge Santos, he appeared on her tour and music videos throughout 2000. They dated for nearly two years until the relationship ended in September 2001. He remained her dancer well into 2002.
In early 2002, Aguilera began dating music marketing executive Jordan Bratman. Their engagement was announced in February 2005, and they married on November 19, 2005, in Napa Valley. The couple celebrated their one year anniversary in Dublin, Ireland where she was on tour at the time.
On September 9, 2007, Paris Hilton confirmed that the singer was pregnant, saying, "Congratulations to the most beautiful pregnant woman in the world." Aguilera, however, had not yet publicly confirmed her pregnancy at the time. Aguilera later confirmed this on November 4 in an interview with Glamour magazine.
On January 12, 2008 Aguilera gave birth to her son, Max Liron Bratman, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California by cesarean section. The baby weighed 6 lbs., 2 oz. and was 19.5 inches. He was born at 10:05PM PST. To repay her fans for their support during her pregnancy, Aguilera released an exclusive video on her official website of "Save Me From Myself" a track from her Back To Basics album. The personal video featured footage on her wedding day with Bratman.
Aguilera, a spinto soprano, known for her prominent singing style, strong vocals, powerful voice and ability to sing in the whistle register, has rivaled many of her other contemporaries and has been referred to as the "voice of her generation having a five-octave range. Aguilera also topped COVE's list of the 100 Best Pop Vocalists with a score of 50 and came fifth in MTV's 22 Greatest Voices in Music. A review in an Entertainment Weekly article mentions her "tackling that dog-whistle high note" at the 3:28 mark in the song "Soar" from her album Stripped. Additionally, Axel Rose (of Guns N' Roses fame) has described Aguilera as "one of the greatest vocalists of our time." Her rendition of It's A Man's Man's Man's World at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards ranked 3rd in the Grammy's Greatest Moments List behind Celine Dion's performance of My Heart Will Go On. In an interview with Gay Times Magazine 2007, Celine Dion described Aguilera as, "probably the best vocalist in the world."
In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan U.K., Aguilera said, "I feel sexiest in the nude," which, coupled with her huge boobs since having a baby, makes her husband, Joran Bratman, the luckiest geek alive.
Christina Aguilera on the Web
Kelly Osbourne Ends Christina Aguilera Feud - UsMagazine.com After calling Aguilera "fat" last year she buries the hatchet and say "she's looking way better right now"
Tom From The Wanted Apologizes About Christina Aguilera ... Well, at least we know that these boys were raised to hold manners to high regard! The Wanted recently caused a bit of a stir when they referred to Christina Aguilera as being not so pleasant, in a...