Christina Aguilera Undressed
Christina Maria Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American pop singer-songwriter. Colloquially known as Xtina, she is known for her vocal abilities as well as her unorthodox sense of fashion. She began working in the entertainment industry at a relatively young age and rose to popularity through the critical and commercial success of her debut album Christina Aguilera (1999), which produced four hit singles. Her second English-language studio album Stripped (2002) was also greeted with high sales, but attracted less favorable reviews and generated controversy due to Aguilera's increasingly sexual public image. In 2005 she married record executive Jordan Bratman, and her third album Back to Basics is scheduled for a summer 2006 release.
Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York but grew up mainly in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, Pennsylvania attending North Allegheny School District, after living in various places around the world such as Texas and Japan. Her father, Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, is a U.S. Army sergeant; he was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and moved to Staten Island when he was 19. Her mother, Shelly Loraine Fidler, is a Spanish-language translator and violinist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Aguilera is of German ancestry on her father's side and of Irish, Welsh and Dutch descent on her mother's. Aguilera's parents met while Fausto was serving at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador; when her parents married, her mother was 20 years old and her father was almost 32. Aguilera lived with her father and mother until she was six or seven years old, when her parents divorced and her mother took her and her younger sister Rachel to her grandmother's home in 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.
In 1998 she 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). "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. Recording "Reflection" led to Aguilera getting signed by RCA Records the same week.
Aguilera in the music video for "Come on Over Baby (All I Want Is You)".Under the exclusive representation of Steve Kurtz, her self-titled 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)" all reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 during 1999 and 2000, and "I Turn to You" peaked at number three. Aguilera won the "Best New Artist" award at the 2000 Grammy Awards, and was also 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.
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.
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 overscheduling had in part caused her to seek legal means of terminating their management contract.
In October 2002 after much delay, Aguilera's second full-length English album, Stripped, was released in the U.S. 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 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. 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 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", 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, and was originally supposed to be a song on Stripped. Aguilera was the number-one Billboard Female Artist (albums and singles) of 2003.
A January 2004 ZOO magazine (a British men's tabloid 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 was quoted as saying.
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.
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 and having a say in the future.