Christina Aguilera has one of the most powerful singing voices in the world. Often compared to the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, who she keeps as her inspiration, Christina has always remained passionate about her career since she first rose to fame in the late '90s.
Christina Maria Aguilera, as is her full name, was born in New York. Her mother, Shelly, was a musician and her father, Fausto Xavier was a soldier of the United States Army. She is of Ecuadorian, German, Irish, Welsh and Dutch ancestry and has a younger sister called Rachel. When Christina was a little girl, her family moved around a lot, and even lived in Japan for a while. As her father was said to be physically and emotionally abusive, her parents divorced when she was six-years old and Christina moved with her mother and sister to her grandmother’s home in Pennsylvania. She lost touch with her father. Christina’s mom eventually remarried. ‘My parents’ divorce and hard times at school, all those things combined to mold me, to make me grow up quicker. And it gave me the drive to pursue my dreams that I wouldn’t necessarily have had otherwise’, she said.
It was not a secret that Christina was a very talented child, and she wanted to be a singer from the very beginning. She soon took part in different talent shows and competitions, winning her first when she was eight years old. ‘I felt caged by my childhood. And unsafe – bad things happened in my home, there was violence. The Sound of Music looked like a form of release. I would open my bedroom window to sing out like Maria. In my own way, I’d be in those hills. Sometimes, I still feel like going to the window and singing out all my troubles’, she said. ‘I sang Whitney Houston songs in talent shows. But when I discovered Mariah Carey and ‘Vision of Love’, that was a breath of fresh air, and I adored her from that moment on and idolized her. It’s really amazing that in articles I’ve been compared to her. It’s truly unbelievable because, whenever I was younger, I would ask my mom – Do you think I’ll ever be as big and sing as well as Mariah Carey? – And now that is has happened, my mom says – I knew it would happen.’
When she was ten years old, she appeared on Star Search and got to the semi-finals. She then went on to sing before local sport games and appeared in Wake Up with Larry Richert. In 1991, aged eleven, Christina auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. She was too young to join in then, but got in two years later and stayed on the show until it was cancelled in 1994. Her colleagues on the show were Ryan Reynolds, Keri Russell, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Around that time, she recorded her first song ‘All I Wanna Do’ with Keizo Nakanishi and sent her cover version of ‘Run to You’ to audition for Disney’s animated film Mulan for the soundtrack single called ‘Reflection’. She got the job and it all started from there, making her dream of becoming a singer a reality.
‘When I sing, I believe it is the only time I can be myself and express all of me and who I am. I find a home in music, and I hope my music and my voice allows others to find a home as well. That’s my this is so important to me and so special’, she says about her love for music.
Christina soon signed with RCA Records and began working on her debut album, titled simply Christina Aguilera. It’s first single was ‘Genie in a Bottle’, which quickly became a hit song, and a top-selling debut single of the 1999. Other successful songs followed, like ‘What a Girl Wants’, ‘Come On Over Baby’ and ‘I Turn to You’. At the following Grammy Awards, in 2000, she won the award for the Best New Artist.
Later that year, Christina released her second album called Mi Reflejo, with Spanish songs and a Spanish version of ‘Reflection’. Even though Christina was not fluent at Spanish, she made an effort and even won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. Although, as it so happens, some people feel like she is not Latina enough, she doesn’t care: ‘I’ve dealt with that my whole life. I don’t speak the language fluently. And I’m split right down the middle, half-Irish and half-Ecuadorian. I should not have to prove my ethnicity to anyone. I know who I am.’
Also that year, which proved to be one of the most successful and intense of her career, she released My Kind of Christmas, a Christmas-themed album and went on her first concert tour called Christina Aguilera in Concert.
In 2001, she shot a duet with Ricky Martin called ‘Nobody Wants to Be Lonely’. Also that year, along with Lil’ Kim, Mýa and Pink, she created a cover of the Lady Marmalade single, for the purposes of the soundtrack for Moulin Rouge, earning them a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Then, a production house Warlock Records released Just Be Free, an album with Christina’s demo tracks of 1994 and 1995. After a lawsuit filed by her, the parties came to an arrangement, and the album stayed on the market.
In 2002, Christina released her fourth album, the one in which she changed her artistic direction completely. It was called Stripped. The album was more bold and provocative, all which was shown in its first music video recorded for the song ‘Dirrty’. The single that followed was ‘Beautiful’, earning Christina another Grammy Award, for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. That year, she went on a tour with Justin Timberlake, called Justified and Stripped Tour, and then continued on her own on The Stripped Tour in 2003. Then, Christina performed with Britney Spears, whom the fans considered as her rival, alongside Madonna, on MTV Video Music Awards, singing ‘Like a Virgin’ and kissing Madonna on the lips. The performance will be remembered as one of the most controversial in MTV’s history.
In 2004, Christina changed her style yet again, inspired by the look of Hollywood glamour of the times of Marilyn Monroe. She shot a song with Missy Elliot for the animated film Shark Tale, a remake of ‘Car Wash’ by Rose Royce and also gave her voice to a character in the film. She also collaborated with Nelly on ‘Tilt Ya Head Back’ and with Andrea Bocelli on Somos Novios. She then released her album titled Back to Basics in 2006. Its lead single was ‘Ain’t No Other Man’, winning Christina another Grammy Award. Another notable single from the album was also Candyman. That year, Christina went on the Back to Basics Tour.
In 2008, Christina released her greatest hits album, Keeps Gettin’ Better: A Decade of Hits. In 2010, she released Bionic, but it didn’t repeat the success of her previous albums. She also shot the film Burlesque, alongside Cher and worked with her on the film’s soundtrack.
In 2012, Christina became a coach on the popular television series The Voice, staying on board for the next three seasons, and then again for the fifth, eighth and tenth. That year, she released the single ‘Moves like Jagger’ with the Maroon 5, which became a huge hit of the year. She also released her newest album, called Lotus. She continued to collaborate with other artists, like Tony Bennett, and then Pitbull with the song ‘Feel This Moment’, as well as for the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In 2015, she won the Grammy Award for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for ‘Say Something with A Great Big World’, and had a role in the series Nashville and produced a game show called Tracks. In 2016, she released a song ‘Change’, dedicated to the victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting and Christina Grimmie. She also released a single ‘Telepathy’ for the soundtrack of the series To Get Down.
Currently, it is said that Christina is working on her new album with Pharrell Williams.
When Christina first showed up, she was constantly compared to Britney Spears, her colleague from the Mickey Mouse Club, who began her career a few months before. Both of them were young, pretty girls, whose producers made into bubblegum pop princesses targeted at teenagers. Their fans were even made to believe the two of them hated each other, something they both denied. ‘There is no truth to the rumors that we hate each other. I have no ill feeling for Britney Spears and vice versa. I am proud of all the achievements she has made in her career, she is a very hard-working person. I have nothing but love for her’, she said. It was only in 2003 and their performance with Madonna on MTV Music Awards, that the rumors stopped.
She has also been compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston due to her vocal abilities. Since the two of them were her inspiration growing up, it is expected that their methods influences her own style of singing.
In 2010, Christina received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Throughout her career, she has been supporting numerous brands, like Skechers, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Versace etc. She is one of the celebrities to have her own line of perfumes. She released her first fragrance Xpose in 2004, then she created Simply Christina, followed by Inspire, By Night, Royal Desire, Secret Potion, Red Sin and Unforgettable.
When it comes to charity, she is a supporter of PETA and has helped many other campaigns throughout her career. She donated money to the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and contributed the song ‘Beautiful’ to the compilation album Love Rocks, raising money for the Human Rights Campaigns. She also helped fundraising for the fight against AIDS, and campaigned for voting during the presidential elections. She also donated her wedding gifts to charities and became a spokesperson for World Hunger Relief, amongst other things she’s done. As of 2010, she is a UN ambassador for the World Food Program.
Although Christina changed her image numerous times throughout her career, she was criticized when she gained weight in 2012. ‘I’ve been through my highs, I’ve been through my lows. I’ve been through the gamut of all things in this business. Being too thin. Being bigger. I’ve been criticized for being on both sides of the scale. It’s noise I block out automatically’, she says. ‘I have certain physical features that I favor over others. We all have our areas. When I worked on Burlesque, I lost so much weight that I was too skinny. I don’t weigh myself – it’s all about how I feel in my clothes. What looks good on one person might not look good on another body type. I happen to be very confident in my own skin. It takes time to get to that place, but it’s about embracing yourself and your body.’
Christina has been married and divorced once. At the beginning of her career, she dated her backup dancer, Jorge Santos. Then, since 2002, she had been in a relationship with Jordan Bratman, whom she met when he worked in her management company as a music executive. The couple eventually got married, but divorced in 2010, after five years of marriage. Together, they have a son named Max, who was born in 2008.
Since 2010, she has been in a relationship with Matthew D. Rutler. They are engaged to be married and have a daughter named Summer Rain, born in 2014.
About her life and her career, Christina says: ‘It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride, but I think I’ve grown and learned a lot about myself. In this business, it’s often all about hype, record sales, and a crazy schedule of traveling, performances, and it can be easy to get lost in all that. But for me, the greatest thing is being able to interact with fans and touch people’s lives. I know that it’s a greater accomplishment than selling records. For that I give thanks. I simply love the job I’m doing.’’
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic