Christina Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York to
Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a U.S. Army sergeant, and Shelly
Loraine Fidler. Aguilera's father was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador
while her mother has German, French, English, Irish and Dutch
ancestry. Aguilera's parents met while Fausto was serving at
Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and
Labrador. They were both Mormons. Her parents married when her
mother was 20 years old and her father was almost 32. Aguilera
lived with her father and mother until she was 6 or 7 years old,
when her parents divorced and her mother took her and her
younger sister Rachel to her grandmother's home in Rochester,
Pennsylvania, a blue-collar suburb of Pittsburgh. According to
Aguilera and Fidler, her father was very controlling, as well as
physically and emotionally abusive. Since then, Fidler has
married a paramedic named Jim Kearns, and has changed her name
to Shelly Kearns.
Aguilera's grandmother was the first person to recognize her vocal skills. Since Aguilera was a small child, she wanted to be a singer. She grew up admiring artists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Barbra Streisand, Otis Redding, Madonna, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Donna Summer, Minnie Riperton, Bessie Smith, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. As a child she performed at block parties and in talent competitions, where she defeated her opponents. Aguilera soon gained media attention, and was known as "the little girl with the big voice".
According to 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 and, by her own order, swore to secrecy about her talent lest another backlash occur.
On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing Etta James's "A 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. People remarked that the then 10-year-old "sounded 20".
Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey games, 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, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Rhona Bennett (who later became a member of En Vogue), Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. According to the documentary Driven, Aguilera's Mickey Mouse Club co-stars called her "the Diva". One of her most notable performances was of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing".
Christina Aguilera was alleged to have fought constantly with co-star Spears regarding Timberlake. She has said the two of them have made jokes about these alleged incidents, which suggests that the allegations may not be accurate.) When the show ended in 1994, Aguilera began recording demos in an attempt to get signed to a record label.
In 1998 Christina Aguilera sang the High "E" (second "E" above middle "C") in full voice on a cover of Whitney Houston's "Run to You" which she recorded with an old tape recorder in her bathroom. She was then selected to record the song "Reflection" for the Disney animated production of Mulan (1998). Recording "Reflection" led to Aguilera earning a contract with RCA Records during the same week. "Reflection" peaked within the top twenty on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart, and it was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song" in 1998.
Under the exclusive representation of Steve Kurtz, Aguilera's self-titled debut album Christina Aguilera was released in the United States in August 1999. It reached the top of the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts, shipping over eight million copies in the United States alone. "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 the top five. Aguilera won the "Best New Artist" award at the 2000 Grammy Awards, and she was nominated for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" for "Genie in a Bottle". According to the album's songwriters who appeared on the documentary Driven, Aguilera wanted to display the power 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.
Later in 2000 Aguilera first emphasized her Latino heritage, following the Latin pop trend of the time, by releasing her first Spanish album, Mi Reflejo. This album contained Spanish versions of songs from her English debut as well as new Spanish tracks. It reached the top thirty on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Latin album charts, and in 2001 it won Aguilera a Latin Grammy Award for "Best Female Pop Vocal Album". The single "Falsas Esperanzas" from the album reached the top forty in Argentina. 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, it reached the top five in the United Kingdom and Germany, top twenty in the U.S., and top forty in Canada, Switzerland, and Australia.
In 2001 Christina Aguilera, rapper Lil' Kim, Mya, and P!nk were chosen to remake Patti LaBelle's 1975 single "Lady Marmalade" for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack. "Lady Marmalade" 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 2002 Grammy Award for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals".
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 officially 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. 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 over scheduling had in part caused her to seek legal means of terminating their management contract.
In October 2000 Christina 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. 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 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 Aguilera. He also singled out Azoff for being in violation of the terms of Kurtz's contract.
In October 2002, after much delay, Aguilera's second full-length English album, Stripped, was released. The majority of Stripped was co-written by Aguilera (who had recently signed a global music publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing), and was influenced by many different subjects and music styles, including rhythm and blues, gospel, soul, ballads, pop rock, hip-hop and jazz. The album was not received as well as her debut by most critics, and Aguilera's vocals were overlooked as she began to cultivate a more s--ually 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. 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. It was during this time Aguilera referred to herself as "Xtina," stating that it was a "reflection of her darker self."
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 disappointed on the U.S. singles chart. However, the single was a huge hit worldwide, reaching number one in several countries. The album reached the top five of the UK, U.S. and Canadian album charts, though it was initially considered a "sophomore slump." The second single, "Beautiful", became a huge radio hit and three more singles from the album ("Fighter", "Can't Hold Us Down" featuring Lil' Kim, and "The Voice Within") were released in the following two years to moderate success. Stripped stayed on the U.S. and UK album charts until well into 2004, and went on to sell four million copies in the U.S., ending up 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 was the number-one Billboard Female Artist (albums and singles) of 2003, and Stripped is said to have sold approximately twelve million copies worldwide.
In June Christina 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. 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. Since the collapse occurred hours before the performance, 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 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.
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 cord injuries suffered shortly before its opening date. It was later reported by the British tabloid newspaper The Sun that low ticket sales and lack of new material were actually the major contributing factors in the tour's cancellation. Aguilera has since denied the report. In a tribute to Madonna's performance at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards' ceremony, 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. Madonna and Spears' kiss received more press attention.
A January 2004 ZOO magazine (a British men's tabloid magazine) article reported that Christina Aguilera is possibly bis--ual. The article quotes her stating in an interview: "I find it hornier looking at women than men. Sorry, I love experimenting with my s--uality. If that means girls, then so be it." The article also reports that Christina enjoys casual s--: "I have casual s--, I love casual s--. But that doesn't mean I'm incapable of keeping my legs together."
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 Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, 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 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 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." 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.
Christina Aguilera dated Brooklynite dancer Jorge Santos for two years until the relationship ended in September 2001. She began dating music executive Jordan Bratman in late 2002. 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.
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 (It's Impossible)" for his album Amore, released in early 2006. She performed at "Unite of the Stars" charity banquet in Johannesburg, South Africa, in late 2005 with stars such as Diana Ross and Westlife in aid of Unite Against Hunger, and she also performed at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund at the Coca-Cola Dome in November.
In March 2006 Christina Aguilera signed a contract with European cell phone operator Orange to represent the company and promote the new Sony Ericsson Walkman phones across Europe. She was featured in a Pepsi commercial alongside Arab singer Elissa as well as well-known Korean pop singer Rain in May; the spot aired during the 2006 World Cup.
Christina Aguilera also posed nude for a Marilyn Monroe-inspired photo shoot for the May 2006 issue of GQ magazine, in which she was interviewed. 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." Carey responded in a press release, "It is sad yet predictable that she would use my name at this time to reinvent past incidents for her promotional gain." Aguilera then stated, "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, was released in August 2006. Lead "Ain't No Other Man" was a substantial success, reaching the top ten in the U.S. and the top five in the UK. 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 include DJ Premier, Kwamé, Linda Perry, and Mark Ronson. One track, "F.U.S.S.", which stands for "F--- U Scott Storch", was written as a response to the animosity between Aguilera and Scott Storch during the recording of Stripped. She received writing credit for every track and was the executive producer for the album.
Debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, Back to Basics became Christina's second Number 1 album of her career. It also gave her best sales week with over nearly 346,000 copies sold, an increase of about 4% over Stripped's opening week, she holds the title for the female with the biggest first week sales of 2006. Around the world, the album has already sold well. "Back to Basics" had large opening sales its first week, reaching #1 in 13 countries including becoming Aguilera's first #1 album in the U.K.It opened with more than 700,000 in sales its first week.
Christina Aguilera has stated that a second Spanish language album (which will include songs from Back to Basics and original material) will be recorded within the next year. She is preparing a concert tour supporting Back to Basics that will begin in June.
Throughout her career, Aguilera has been involved with certain charities. She 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 killed 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 also supports the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Refuge UK.
Christina 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 spokeperson for M·A·C AIDS Fund. Aguilera appeared in advertisements of the M·A·C's Viva Glam V lipstick and lip-gloss. According to published reports, in the month of November 2005, all of her wedding gifts were submitted to various charities around the nation in support of Hurricane Katrina victims. 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 was quoted saying, "HIV is something that people don't want to talk about, hear about, or face."
According to Billboard, singer Elton John hand-picked Aguilera, among others, for his Fashion Rocks concert benefiting his AIDS foundation. The show, which accompanies music and fashion to benefit the fight against AIDS/HIV, is televised annually and will air in September.
The New York Times has described Aguilera's vocal range as "striking". In 2003 she placed at number five (third for a female) on MTV's countdown of the "22 Greatest Voices in Music". Additionally, Cove Magazine, an online-only e-magazine on pop music, placed her at number one in their countdown of the "100 Greatest Pop Vocalists", giving her a mark of 50/50 for her vocal capabilities. In the MTV special All Eyes on Christina, John Norris said that Aguilera "has a four octave range". According to portions of the website The Greatest Voices in Music Christina's complete 4 octave range spans from c3-c7, and her abilitiy to frequently sing notes at or above e6 are acknowledged with a listing of songs in which she demonstrates these capabilities.
Christina Aguilera Discography
This Christina Aguilera Biography Page is Copyright Biography World © 2004 - 2010