No voice could ever be compared to that of Christina Aguilera’s. Some would even say she has created her type of instrument with her crazy vocal range alone. Her voice will far succeed in her legacy as she seems to be able to channel music vocal icons like Whitney Houston and Arthea Franklin while also being the inspiration for other pop stars through the years who have tried to match her incredible vocal range. Christina Aguilera needs no introduction as she is and will always be a pop music icon.Performing as young as nine years old, Christina Aguilera went from bright-eyed childhood star with a voice that was older than herself to an international celebrity to a five-time Grammy winner. Although her musical career and the way she has constantly reinvented her music and style has been through many iterations, Christina Aguilera will always bring the house down with her show-stopping performances. Even now, almost 31 years since she first performed on TV for the show Star Search in 1989 to 2020 where she is selling out her Las Vegas live shows, Christina Aguiler has proven that she was born for stardom.
Where It All Began
Born Christina María Aguilera on December 18th, 1980 in Staten Island, New York, to her mother Shelly Kearns and her father, Fausto Aguilera. Her father, Fausto, was in the military so Christina and her younger sister Rachel moved around a lot while her parents were still married. As an Army brat, Christina would travel to international places like Japan as well as domestically to places like Texas, New Jersey, and New York. However, when Christina’s parents divorced in 1987, Christina, her mom, and her sister would move and settle in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There have been numerous allegations from both Christina and her mother that the reason for the divorce was because her father was emotionally and physically abusive to her family. By moving to Pennsylvania, Christina’s mother would move in with Christina’s maternal grandmother until they could get back on their feet. This was a very traumatic time in Christina’s childhood and she has expressed in numerous interviews that she would throw herself into music, particularly singing, to cope with the situation. While living with her grandmother in Pennsylvania, Christina started to listen to R&B and Soul records that her grandmother would have lying about the house. Because Christina found solace in music, she immediately fell in love with the sound and would listen to the records on repeat. Christina would then start mimicking this sound with her singing, which earned her the nickname “the little girl with the big voice” in her neighborhood. Christina’s grandmother saw potential in her vocal talents, so she signed her up for music lessons. Eventually, Christina would start singing at local talent competitions where she would almost always win first place.Her first-ever TV appearance was on Star Search in 1989, a show similar to American Idol or The X Factor today, where people would audition with their talents to win the grand prize. Nine-year-old Christina wowed audiences with her soulful and wise-beyond-her-years performance “A Sunday Kind of Love”. Although her performance was a hit with the audience, she, unfortunately, did not make it past the semi-finals. During this time, Christina would continue to perform all around the Pittsburgh area such as when she performed on the local TV station and when she would sing the Star-Spangled Banner at the opening for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Due to all the local attention, Christina found herself being bullied by other kids at her school who would torment her about her talent. This caused Christina a lot of emotional stress and her mother decided to remove her from her school where she was then homeschooled until she graduated. Having Christina homeschooled did allow her family to help her with her career by freeing up time for her to go to auditions and start to make a name for herself in the music industry. And that first step toward stardom came from none other than the House of Mouse.
When Christina was 11 years old in 1991, she and her family moved to Orlando, Florida where they started auditioning her on the talent circuit. She auditioned for the revival of The Mickey Mouse Club, a Disney show that originally aired from 1955 – 1959 but was being relaunched in the 1990s to appeal to a younger fanbase and the parents of that fanbase who used to watch the show. The show contained sketch comedy bits with musical performances mixed throughout the show by the cast members, who were called Mouseketeers.However, Christina was too young to meet the age requirement, which was 13 years old. Refusing to give up, Christina tried out again two years later and was added to the cast that consisted of future mega-celebrities such as Ryan Gosling, her tabloid declared competitor Britney Spears, Keri Russel, and Justin Timberlake. Christina would stay on as a series regular until 1994 when the show was canceled again for the second time.
Teen Pop Sensation
After The Mickey Mouse Club ended, Christina jet-setted off and moved to Japan, where she had lived during her Army brat days where she lived for a few years and even recorded the duet “All I Wanna Do” with popular Japanese artist, Keizo Nakanishi. This brought some international exposure but she was ready to head back to the states and start her solo career. In 1998, Christina and her family headed back to the US so she could look into getting a record contract.When Christina was back in the states, she started putting feelers out to different labels who would sign her on. She initially spoke to RCA Records about them signing her but they told her to reach back out to Disney as they were not doing so hot financially (definitely quite the opposite today!) and were desperately looking to sign on new music talent.Christina sent over a demo tape of her performance of “Run to You” by Whitney Houston and hoped for the best. Lucky for her, Disney dug her sound and she was tapped to record the track “Reflection” that would be on the movie soundtrack for their upcoming animated film, Mulan. “Reflection” was used heavily to promote the new film and paired with the Mulan being a slam dunk hit at the box offices and the song gaining massive popularity on the radio airwaves, Christina was now on her way to becoming a household name.With “Reflection” being a massive hit for Christina’s career, RCA Records took note of her again and signed her immediately as the teen idol craze was at its peak and the label wanted to cash in on that quick. Because of this, Christina’s first smash hit single “Genie in a Bottle” was released in June 1999 to hype up her self-titled debut studio album, Christina Aguilera. “Genie in a Bottle” was an instant hit and peaked atop the Billboard Hot 100 list.Her debut album dropped in August of that same year and released two other singles “What a Girl Wants” and “Come on Over (All I Want Is You)”, which both became the US number-one singles. Because of the massive success of her debut album, Christina won the Best New Artist category at the February 2000 Grammy Awards. After her Grammy Award win, Christina would go on to release two more albums that same year; Mi Reflejo and My Kind of Christmas. Mi Reflejo was a Spanish language album that consisted of Spanish versions of all of her tracks from her debut album. This album also was a smash and put Christina on the Billboard Latin Albums chart for 19 straight weeks and even went on to be certified six times platinum. It also won in the Best Female Pop category at the 2nd Annual Latin Grammys in 2001.During this time, Christina was getting frustrated with how her career, and her image, was going. She decided to look for more mature and soulful singles she could be on that would edge her away from her Bubblegum Pop image. The single that would be the catalyst that brought about her new image and reshaped her entire career would start when she signed on to do a cover for Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade” along with Pink, Maya, Missy Elliott, and Lil Kim for the upcoming Nicole Kidman and Ewan Mcgregor film, Moulin Rouge.Christina’s label initially opposed her doing the track because they thought it wasn’t part of her “sound” and might hurt her image. Wanting to break free and experiment with different genres, Christina agreed to do the single anyway, and it paid off when it made history for topping the Billboard Hot 100 airplay for five straight weeks. It also went on to win Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2001 Grammys, making this Christina’s two years consecutive Grammy win.
By the time Christina was in the studio working on her fourth album, Stripped, she had completely changed not only her sound but her image as well. Christina explained that the title of the album came from her wanting to start a new chapter in her career and becoming the artist she always wanted to be. When Stripped dropped, especially the single “Dirrty”, Christina had completely abandoned her teen idol days.The album and single came out strong and showed a more sexual and grittier version of Christina not only in image but in her sound. The music video for “Dirrty” caused a lot of controversies as it depicted Christina and her backup dancers mimicking overly sexual moves and choreography, a far cry from her Mickey Mouse Club, and “Genie in a Bottle” days. This didn’t put off her fans because when Stripped dropped in October 2002, it peaked at the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 200 and sold millions of copies. The album also showcased themes of sexuality, self-esteem, and support of LGBTQIA rights, which was especially evident in her second breakout single, “Beautiful”. “Beautiful” would go on to be an adopted anthem of the LGBTQIA community as well as winning Best Female Pop Vocals at the 2004 Grammys. Christina also drastically changed her image during this time and even went on to create her alter ego, who she named Xtina. Christina dyed her signature blonde hair dark black, wore nose and lip piercings, and even started showing off her multiple tattoos. Due to the success of her album and a new image, she would go on to co-headline with former Mickey Mouse Club co-star, Justin Timberlake, on the Justified Stripped Tour.In 2003, Christina would make headlines again for her image when she and Britney Spears shared a kiss with Madonna during their trio performance of “Like a Virgin” at the 2003 MTV Music Video Awards.
Back to Basics
Christina took a few year hiatus between her fourth and fifth album and by 2006, she finally released her highly anticipated album, Back to Basics. This album was true to its name as Christina had scaled back her R&B/Rock/Pop elements from Stripped and instead went for a more classic vibe by incorporating elements of Jazz, Blues, and soul. Christina has also gone back to her classic look and was once again sporting her iconic blonde hair, started covering up her tattoos, and did not have as many piercings showing. The album was thought to show a more mature and grown-up Christina as she had gotten married and settled in her life during her studio album hiatus. This was evident in the album’s first single “Ain’t No Other Man”, which was an ode to her husband and her marital bliss. The single did well and even peaked at the number six spot on the Billboard Top 100 and even won her fourth Grammy Award in the Best Female Vocal Pop Performance at the 2007 Grammys.
Due to her parent’s divorce and allegations of abuse, Christina was estranged from her father until they reconciled in 2012. She was also married to Jordan Bratman from 2005 to 2011 and had one child with him, Max Bratman, who was born in 2008. Christina would then go on to date Matthew Rutler in 2010 and have her second child, Summer Rutler, who was born in 2014. As of 2020, Christina and Matt Rutler are engaged.There are also rumors that Christina is bisexual as she has skirted around the topic in many interviews, although she has not fully come out publicly about her bi-sexuality. After her divorce from Jordan Bratman, rumors started circulating that she made it public to her friends and crew that she was attracted to both women and men, which has continued to fuel rumors.