Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Diva

Christina Aguilera from Wikipedia

Christina María Aguilera was born December 18, 1980, in Staten Island to Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and Shelly Loraine Fidler, a Spanish teacher.

She lived with her parents until she was seven years old. They divorced, and her mother took her and her younger sister Rachel to her grandmother's home in Beaver County's Rochester.

As a child, Aguilera always wanted to be a singer. Her musical influences were Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, and Madonna. She also cites the musical "The Sound of Music" and its lead actress, Julie Andrews, as an early inspiration for singing and performing.

As a child, she was known locally as "the little girl with the big voice," singing in local talent shows and competitions.

She was so good even then that the other kids gave her a hard time at school and vandalized her home. The family moved to Wexford to escape the aggravation. North Allegheny High was a more urban and supportive place for her.

Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguin, Steeler, and Pirate games and performed at other local venues, including KDKA.

Her first big break came in 1993 when she joined The New Mickey Mouse Club. Her co-stars included Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, and that's where she picked up her nickname of "The Diva."

At the age of fourteen, Aguilera recorded her first song, "All I Wanna Do," a hit duet with Japanese singer Keizo Nakanishi.

In 1998, Aguilera sang "Reflection" for the Disney production of Mulan. The song netted her a contract with RCA Records the same week it was released.

Aguilera's self-titled debut album "Christina Aguilera" was released on August 24, 1999. It reached the top of the Billboard 200 and Canadian album charts, selling eight million copies in the U.S. and over 14 million copies worldwide. The album is also included in the Top 100 Albums of All Time list of the RIAA. Good start, hey?

Later in 2000, Aguilera cut her first Spanish album, "Mi Reflejo." This album contained Spanish versions of songs from her English debut and some new Spanish tracks. The album ranked #27 on the Billboard 200 and hit #1 on the Latin album charts.

In 2001, it won Aguilera a Latin Grammy Award for "Best Female Pop Vocal Album." The album went gold in the US and sold 3 million copies worldwide. She also won the World Music Award as the best selling Latin artist that year. Now she was looking to do some grown up music.

On October 29, 2002, Aguilera's "Stripped" was released, selling more than 330,000 copies in the first week and peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200. The majority of the songs were co-written by Aguilera, and was influenced by an olio of music styles, including R&B, gospel, soul, ballads, pop rock, and hip hop.

"Stripped" stayed on the U.S. and UK album charts well into 2004, and went on to be certified four-times platinum in the U.S. with over 10 million copies sold worldwide.

The album was a hit by the critics, but her sound was secondary as she began to cultivate a more sexual image. After the release of the album, she took part in photo shoots for magazines, featuring her nude or close to it.

It was during this time Aguilera referred to herself as "Xtina," even getting a tattoo of her nickname on the back of her neck and several piercings.

She caused a firestorm, but you'd never know by the "Stripped World Tour." It was one of the top-grossing shows of the year, and sold out most of its venues. Rolling Stone readers named it the best tour of the year.

But Aguilera decided to embrace a more mature image after her Dirrty Grrl fling. Her next studio album, "Back to Basics," was released August 15, 2006, and debuted at #1 in the U.S., the U.K. and eleven other countries. "Back to Basics" sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide and is still picking up sales.

She's working on a fourth album, and they don't begin to cover her body of work. Aguilera has pumped out huge selling singles, duets, and soundtracks, shown up on other folk's albums and even pops up on TV every now and then.

She's been nominated for 15 Grammy Awards and won four, and is supposed to get her own star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" shortly, as befitting a pop diva.

Aguilera also shares the wealth with a variety of charities she supports both financially and personally, from Hurricane Katrina victims to AIDS and GLBT causes.

She's a major contributor in her hometown, supporting the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. She toured the center and donated $200,000 to it. Aguilera has auctioned off front row seats and back stage passes to raise funds for the local charity. She plans to open an additional one in the area.

She now lives in LA with her hubby, music marketing executive Jordan Bratman, and bouncing baby boy, Max Liron.

Christina Aguilero - Dirrty

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