- Christina María Aguilera
December 18, 1980 (age 40)
- Record producer, Singer-songwriter, Actor, TV Personality, Dancer
- Jordan Bratman
- Shelly Loraine, Fausto Xavier Aguilera
Christina María Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in Wexford, Pennsylvania, she made her first publicity appearances on television shows as a child, including on Star Search and The Mickey Mouse Club. In 1998, Aguilera signed a contract with RCA Records after recording "Reflection" for Mulan. A year later, Aguilera debuted her self-titled debut studio album, which gained international success and spawned three number-one hits, "Genie in a Bottle", "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)". Her two next studio albums, Mi Reflejo (2000) and My Kind of Christmas (2001), both achieved moderate success worldwide.
Displeased with her lack of input, Aguilera parted ways with her management and assumed creative control for her fourth album, Stripped (2002), which yielded two worldwide chart toppers, "Dirrty" and "Beautiful". After collaborating with several artists, Aguilera began to bring 1930s and 1940s blues, soul and jazz influences to her fifth album, Back to Basics (2006). Three top-ten singles were released from it, "Ain't No Other Man", "Hurt" and "Candyman". Her sixth studio album, Bionic (2010), was more experimental and incorporated electronic elements into its songs and gained little impact on charts worldwide. That same year, Aguilera made her acting breakthrough on Burlesque with Cher as well as executive producing its successful soundtrack. She returned to her pop roots with her seventh studio album,Lotus (2012), which incorporated elements of electropop, dance-pop, soft rock and country-pop into its songs and became her lowest selling album to date. Aguilera is one of the original coaches of The Voice, having appeared as a coach in four of its five seasons since 2011.
During Aguilera's first decade in the music industry, she became a prominent figure in mainstream popular music and popular culture. Since her debut, she was recognized as a pop icon, "Princess of Pop", and "Voice of Generation". Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including four Grammy Awards, one Latin Grammy Award, two Billboard Music Awards, two MTV Music Video Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To date, Aguilera has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, with 14.5 million unites certified in the United States alone. Rolling Stone ranked her number fifty-eight on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, ranking as the youngest and only artist on the list under the age of thirty. She was ranked the 20th Artist of the 2000–09 decade by Billboard and is the second top selling single artist of the 2000s, behind Madonna. Aguilera was ranked number eight in VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music and was one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, Aguilera is involved in charitable activities through human rights, world issues, and her work as a UN ambassador for the World Food Programme.
Christina María Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York, in December 18, 1980 to parents Fausto Xavier Aguilera and Shelly Loraine (née Fidler), a soldier in the United States Army and a violinist and pianist, respectively. Her father is Ecuadorian, while her American mother is of German, Irish, Welsh, and Dutch ancestry. Throughout her father's service in the Army, her family moved to various locations, including New Jersey, Texas, New York, and Japan. Her parents divorced when Aguilera was six years old. She, her mother, and her younger sister Rachel then lived at her grandmother's home in Rochester, Pennsylvania, a town outside Pittsburgh; her mother later remarried. According to both Aguilera and her mother, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive, while she used music as an escape from the abuses. Even though he has made several attempts to reconnect with her, Aguilera ruled out any chance of a reunion. Since then, her mother has married again and has changed her name.
As a child, Aguilera aspired to be a singer. She was known locally as "the little girl with the big voice", singing in local talent shows and competitions. At the age of 8, Aguilera won her first talent show performing Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody". On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing "A Sunday Kind of Love", but lost the competition at number 2. 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. Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, including during the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals. She attended Rochester Area School District and Marshall Middle School near Wexford. Her talent was kept a secret to avoid bullying from other children. Following her television appearances Aguilera experienced resentment and bullying including an incident in which her peers slashed the tires on her family's car. She attended North Allegheny Intermediate High School briefly until she was home schooled following several incidents. Aguilera recalls, "doing what I did and maybe being a little smaller, I was definitely picked on and bullied for the attention that I got. It was definitely unwanted attention and there was a lot of unfairness about it."
In 1991, Aguilera auditioned for a role on The Mickey Mouse Club; however, she did not meet the age requirements. Two years later, she joined the cast, performing musical numbers and sketch comedy, until the show's cancellation in 1994. Her co-stars included Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears,Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell where they nicknamed her "the Diva" for her performance style and voice. 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 international Golden Stag Festival with a two-song set. Aguilera entered talent contests on "teen night" at the Pegasus Lounge, a gay and lesbian nightclub in Pittsburgh. In 1998, Aguilera sent in a demo of her Whitney Houston's "Run to You" cover to Disney who were looking for a singer to record the song "Reflection" for their animated feature film Mulan (1998). The demo caught the attention of producer and label executive Ron Fair who would later mentor her throughout her career and led to Aguilera earning a contract with RCA Records the same week. "Reflection" peaked within the top twenty on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
Aguilera, a soprano, has been referred to as the "Voice of her Generation", a blue-eyed soul singer and one of the greatest singers of all time. She possesses a four octave vocal range and a whistle register. Aguilera also topped Cove's list of the 100 Best Pop Vocalists with a score of 50/50, and came fifth in MTV's 22 Greatest Voices in Music. Her rendition of "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" at the 2007 Grammy Awards ranked third in the Grammy's Greatest Moments List behind Celine Dion's performance of "My Heart Will Go On" and Green Day's performance of "American Idiot". In an interview, Dion described Aguilera as "probably the best vocalist in the world." Dion wrote an article on Aguilera for Time magazine's 2013 list of their 100 Most Influential People in World, saying, "The first time I heard Christina sing, I was totally blown away. Her voice has got so much power, yet so much sensitivity and technically, I think, she’s flawless." Aguilera's distinct style of singing has been praised by critics and noted as influential. The People's Choice Awards honored Aguilera with the People's Voice award, recognizing her vocals and "ability to reach millions of people across a number of genres including pop, soul and R&B". Rolling Stone ranked Aguilera at 58 as their 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, the youngest singer on the list.
Since her debut in 1999, Aguilera has been compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. David Browne of The New York Times writes, "Aguilera has been one of the foremost practitioners of the overpowering, Category 5 vocal style known as melisma. Ms. Carey, Ms. Houston and Ms. Aguilera, to name its three main champions, are most associated with the period from the late ’80s through the late ’90s." A review in the Los Angeles Times compared Aguilera's vocal style to Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, and Aretha Franklin adding, "Aguilera's Streisand-esque tendencies are a good thing; they're helping her figure out how to become the "great singer" she's been dubbed since she released her first single, the wise-beyond-its-years "Genie in a Bottle", at 18." Vocal coach Cari Cole, called Aguilera the "Queen of riffing", adding that her vocals are rooted in soul music. Although praised for her vocals, Aguilera has been labeled for oversinging in her songs and concerts. The Huffington Post named Aguilera a main proponent for "oversouling", described as the "gratuitous and confected melisma." The term was coined by producer Jerry Wexler who said, "I have found that flagrantly artificial attempts at melisma are either a substitute for real fire and passion or a cover-up for not knowing the melody." The majority of Aguilera's songs are characterized by her loud vocals, though she has used breathy and soft vocals. Aguilera co-wrote "Sing For Me" from her album Lotus, a response to critics who labeled her for oversinging. In the song, Aguilera explains why she sings the way she does, saying "I don’t even care what the world thinks about how I sound." Aguilera admits to oversinging in her early years adding, "Before, to make up for the kind of music I didn't want to be doing, I would over-riff, to prove that I have talent. It was too much". Longtime producer and writer, Linda Perry, commented on working on the track "Beautiful", saying, "I tried to keep it straight. I told her to get rid of the finger waves. Every time she'd start going into "hoo-ha", I'd stop the tape. I'm like, 'You're doing it again.'" Perry ended up using the first take saying, "She had a hard time accepting that as the final track. It's not a perfect vocal – it's very raw. She knows her voice really well, and she knows what's going on. She can hear things that nobody else would catch."
Aguilera's major influence and idol is blues singer Etta James, whose classic song "At Last" has been covered by Aguilera throughout her career. Aguilera says, "Etta is my all-time favorite singer. I've said it for the last seven years – since I had my first debut record out – in every interview. I mean, all of Etta's old songs, countless songs I could name, I grew up listening to." Following James' death in 2012, Aguilera was asked to perform "At Last" at her funeral. Prior to performing Aguilera stated, "There's a line in this song that says 'I found a dream that I could speak to.' And for me that dream, all my life, has been Etta James." The two met in 2006 during an article and interview with InStyle, in which James said to Aguilera, "It's like you were here many years ago. You don't look exactly like them, but there's something about you that's like Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, those kinds of chicks. I've never seen a girl sing as tough as you sing. It's like you're an old soul."
Aguilera began dating music marketing executive Jordan Bratman in 2002. Their engagement was announced in February 2005, and they married on November 19, 2005, in a Napa Valley estate.
Aguilera confirmed she was pregnant on November 4, 2007, though Paris Hilton accidentally revealed her pregnancy several weeks prior during a party Aguilera hosted. She gave birth to her son, Max Liron Bratman, in Los Angeles on January 12, 2008, and held a bris for him with Bratman, who is of Jewish descent, where the baby was circumcised in accordance with Jewish practice. Aguilera was reportedly paid $1.5 million by People for her son's baby pictures—the ninth most expensive celebrity baby photos ever taken.