In the two years from the day that she burst onto the world musical landscape, Christina Aguilera has scored four #1 smash hit singles, watched sales of her chart-topping RCA debut album surpass the 12 million mark worldwide (23 million CDs and singles total sold to date), headlined the Super Bowl Half-Time Show, performed for the President, and to top it all off, took home two Grammys including one for Best New Artist, headlined a mammoth 2000 international tour, released a Spanish language album, and a holiday album of seasonal favorites. Christina Aguilera continues to provide evidence that she is the premier musical voice of her generation. Christina first began performing at age six in school talent shows and became known as the ‘little girl with a big voice.’ At age eight, she appeared on the nationally syndicated ‘Star Search,’ using her runner-up winnings to buy a portable sound system so she could sing in the park. By the time she was 10, Christina was singing the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins. And then, at twelve, she joined the ensemble cast of ‘The New Mickey Mouse Club,’ appearing on the Orlando-based show along with future stars Britney Spears, J.C. and Justin of ‘N Sync, and Keri Russell of ‘Felicity.’ After two years, the show ended and Christina got the opportunity to travel overseas to further hone her musical skills. In 1997, Christina performed in places as far flung as Tokyo, Japan (where she released a single with Keizo Nakanishi called ‘All I Wanna Do’) and Brasov, Romania, but always with her eye on the same goal. ‘I always wanted to have my own album recorded and released before I graduated high school,’ says Christina. She certainly took quick strides toward that goal.
In early 1998, after finishing some demos and shopping for a record deal, Christina auditioned to sing ‘Reflection’ for Disney’s animated film ‘Mulan.’ The filmmakers needed someone ‘who could hit a high E above middle C,’ according to Christina, who then cut a one-take demo in her living room singing to a karaoke tape of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Run To You.’ The demo was rushed to Disney, and within a day, Christina was in a Los Angeles studio recording ‘Reflection.’ That same week, RCA Records signed her to a record contract. ‘Mulan’ premiered in June 1998, and ‘Reflection’ turned into a Top 15 A/C single, with Christina performing it live on ‘CBS This Morning’ and the ‘Donnie & Marie Show.’ ‘Working on the ‘Mulan’ project was so unbelievable,’ Christina said in June 1998. ‘I seriously thought I wouldn’t get the job because the song was so difficult. It’s so cool to hear your voice in a theater.’ The single went on to garner a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture and Christina the attention of some of the best writers and producers in the industry.
On her self-titled debut album for RCA, those writers and producers helped Christina showcase her special talents. ‘I was thrilled to work with so many great writers and producers on my album,” says Christina. ‘What A Girl Wants’ was produced by Guy Roche (Brandy, Cher, Dru Hill, Aaliyah, K-Ci & Jo Jo), ‘Genie In A Bottle’ was produced by ex-System member David Frank and Steve Kipner, and ‘Blessed’ was penned and produced by Travon Potts (co-writer of Monica’s chart topping ‘Angel of Mine’). Meanwhile, Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers (‘N Sync, Boyzone, Brand New Heavies) contributed a pair of tracks, the soul-flavored ‘Love For All Seasons’ and the rousing ‘Love Will Find A Way.’ Christina is particularly proud of the album’s ballads, such as the Matthew Wilder-produced ‘Reflection,’ and ‘Obvious’ written by newcomer Heather Holly, and of course, master tunesmith Diane Warren’s smash ‘I Turn To You.’
Christina Aguilera’s breakthrough year in ’99 began with her first #1 single ‘Genie In A Bottle,’ which stayed atop the charts for five consecutive weeks and rocketed the album to #1 upon its release in August 1999. The follow-up single ‘What A Girl Wants’ reached the coveted first Billboard Hot 100 #1 slot of 2000 (the first #1 hit of the new millenium) and helped to push the album into platinum territory many times over (‘Come On Over Baby’ became the third #1 from the album later in 2000).
Among other honors, along with stars like Jodie Foster and Aretha Franklin, Christina was named one of the most fascinating women of 1999 on the ‘Ladies Home Journal’ CBS-TV special earlier this year. Christina also won 1999’s Best New Artist at this year’s ALMA Awards, the annual event honoring the best in entertainment from the Hispanic-American community. She graced the covers of many national magazines, including Entertainment Weekly, Teen People and Latina and performed as a musical guest on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,’ ‘The Rosie O’Donnell Show,’ and was the only female guest performer on VHI’s ‘Men Strike Back.’ She also performed on other TV specials such as ‘The Essence Awards,’ ‘Disney Summer Jams,’ and ‘People Magazines’s 25 Hottest Stars Under 25.’
Other highlights for Christina over 1999 included a duet with blues legend BB King and a solo performance of ‘The Christmas Song’ for President Clinton on TNT’s ‘Christmas at the White House’ TV special. This led to the President asking Christina to sing the first song on his televised Millenium special from Washington. Christina had to decline due to a prior commitment to perform from Times Square in New York on MTV’s New Year’s Eve broadcast.
Christina’s amazing new year of 2000 began with a great duet performance with Enrique Iglesias at the Super Bowl Half Time Show which also featured Phil Collins and Toni Braxton.
What made all her commercial success so much sweeter, were Christina’s two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal performance. In February 2000, Christina’s incredible ride to the top reached new heights as Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge and Sara McLaughlan announced that the Grammy for Best New Artist goes to – Christina Aguilera! ‘It was an incredible shock for me,’ Christina recalls of that amazing night. ‘I was completely unprepared. My album had been out the least amount of time compared to everyone else, so I thought there was no way I’d win. But I was overwhelmed, shocked and overjoyed all at the same time.’
As for her national summer 2000 tour, co-sponsored by Sears and Levi’s, Christina was equally enthusiastic. ‘It was exciting to take my full band and my dancers out on the road,’ she says, ‘and giving the show an edgy, theatrical vibe. I was in on all the creative aspects of planning the show, of covering new ground, doing more blues, soul, and some spectacular choreography.’
Christina recorded a Spanish language album ‘Mi Reflejo’ released in fall 2000 and a seasonal album ready in time for the holidays. Said Christina, ‘I’ve always been proud of my Ecuadoran heritage. Recording a Spanish album and working with a great producer like Rudy Perez, gave me a chance to explore my Latin side.’ As for the Christmas album, Christina was excited about performing with a 70-piece orchestra and the opportunity to record both new and traditional holiday tracks. ‘I did a duet with Dr. John on ‘Merry Christmas Baby,’ she notes, ‘and several new pop Christmas songs with a real R&B edge.’
In March 2001, Christina collaborated with Ricky Martin on ‘Nobody Wants To Be Lonely’ that peaked at number 11 on Billboard charts, and became a worldwide international hit.
Christina also proved that she can work with other divas, as she did in the remake of ‘Lady Marmalade,’ from the ‘Moulin Rouge’ soundtrack which spent five weeks at #1. Teamed with Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim, their video took home the 2001 MTV Video Award for ‘Best Video of the Year’ (among many awards the record received). She also appeared on the All-Star Tribute remake of Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On?,’ with a star-studded cast including Bono and Nelly Furtado.
She capped off an amazing 2001 by winning her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album for ‘Mi Reflejo.’
Billboard Magazine recently wrote about her great prospects for a long future:
‘Christina Aguilera’s much anticipated sophomore album is likely to be a hit with the critics and crowds alike. Boasting an edgier sound and self-written lyrics, this CD should end comparisons between Aguilera and bubblegum queen Britney Spears.
It’s been two years since the release of Aguilera’s self-titled debut disc – which was home to #1 hits like ‘Genie In A Bottle,’ ‘What A Girl Wants’ and ‘Come On Over Baby.’ This former Mousketeer has risen to a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum pop powerhouse.
In the time since her entrance into the music world, Aguilera has proven successful in both the English and Latin fields. Aguilera has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including BB King, Brian McKnight, Sting, Ricky Martin and most recently Pink, Mya and Lil Kim on their #1 smash ‘Lady Marmalade.’ Not bad for a 20-year old.
The outlook is very good for her newest record. She has expanded her horizons musically and gained new and excited fans. There’s nowhere for this young and talented beauty to go except up.’
With fans ranging beyond the teen market, Christina has shown that this ‘Genie in a Bottle’ has been released – and is soaring.
‘This (new) record is extremely personal,’ Christina recently told Time magazine. ‘It’s so personal that I feel like people from my past will say ‘Oh my God, she’s singing this to me.’ I have a lot of things to say and a lot of things to let out of me. I feel like I was very confined in that first record to be very pop-driven. I want to be a poet and have a chance to explore that and let people know what’s really on my mind.’
Over all, Christina Aguilera is as overwhelmed as she is thrilled by her enormous success, but she remains reflective and grateful. ‘It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride,’ she laughs, ‘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 peoples’ lives. I know that’s a greater accomplishment than selling records. For that I give thanks. I simply love the job I’m doing.’
” December 18, 1980: Christina Maria Aguilera is born
” 1982-1985: Lives in Texas, Japan, New Jersey with Christina’s dad, a military man and mom Shelly
” June 6, 1986: Rachel Aguilera (sister) is born
” 1986: Begins performing at local talents shows and winning first prize each time
” 1988: Appears on the national US TV show ‘Star Search,’ and although she does not win, she keeps her head up high and looks upon the perfomance as a learning experience
” 1990: Invited to sing the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins
” 1992: Having begun performing in school talent shows at the age of six and appeared on the US national television show ‘Star Search’ aged eight, at 12 Christina joins the cast of ‘The New Mickey Mouse Club’, appearing on the Orlando-based show, along with future stars Britney Spears and JC and Justin of ‘N Sync. She remains with the show for two years.
” 1994: At age 14, she ventures overseas to enhance her training. While in Japan, she records a hit duet with one of that country’s most famous pop stars, Keizo Nakanishi. Aguilera’s success continues overseas, with appearances in a number of high-profile music events as well as a tour.
” April 30, 1996: Michael Kearns (brother) is born
” January 1998: She records demos and begins shopping for a record deal
” February 1998: Christina records the song ‘Reflection’ for the soundtrack of Disney’s animated film ‘Mulan’. The film makers had needed someone ‘who could hit a high E above middle C,’ she later says. She submitted a tape recorded in her living room singing to a karaoke backing of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Run to You.’ Within a day of Disney executives receiving it, she is in an Los Angeles studio recording the song. In the same week she signs with RCA.
” June 1998: The film ‘Mulan’ premieres and ‘Reflection’ is released as a single, with Christina performing it live on ‘CBS This Morning’ and ‘The Donny and Marie Show’. The track goes on to win a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Original Song In A Motion Picture.
” June 1999: Performs ‘I Turn to You’ with Tevin Campbell at the 1999 ALMA Awards in her first prime-time TV appearance
” August 1999: The single ‘Genie In A Bottle’ is released and goes to US No. 1
” August 1999: Her debut album, simply entitled ‘Christina Aguilera’, is released in America, utilising the talents of a number of different writers and producers. It will eventually go eight times platinum in the US.
” August 1999: CD debuts at No.1 on Billboard Chart, outselling Puff Daddy’s ‘Forever’ by 50,000 copies.
” August 1999: Hits the stage with Lilith Fair
” September 1999: Travels to Hong Kong for a press conference and showcase
” October 1999: The single ‘Genie In A Bottle’ is released in the UK and debuts at No. 1
” October 1999: The debut album ‘Christina Aguilera’ is released in the UK
” October 1999: DVD and home video ‘Genie Gets Her Wish’ is released
” December 1999: ‘Genie In A Bottle’ wins a highly prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award in the UK
” December 1999: The single ‘What A Girl Wants’ is released in America and becomes the first US No. 1 single of 2000
” December 1999: The single ‘The Christmas Song’ is released – the highest charting version of the song ever!
” December 1999: Christina was been given the honor of being chosen to perform for the President of the United States for Christmas! She sang ‘The Christmas Song,’ as well as others, and performed a duet with B.B.King and Jewel. The special aired on December 12th, and was called ‘Christmas In Washington.’ It took place at the National Gallery.
” January 2000: Performs ‘I Turn To You’ and ‘What A Girl Wants’ at American Music Awards
” January 2000: Christina was chosen one of ‘Ladies’ Home Journal’s Women of the Year!’ She was featured on a one-hour television special on CBS, along with Aretha Franklin, Susan Sarandon, Jody Foster, and six others.
” January 2000: Christina duets with Enrique Iglesias at the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. Also on the bill are Phil Collins and Toni Braxton
” January 2000: Nominated for two Grammys as Best New Artist and for Best Female Pop Vocal performance.
” February 2000: Christina wins a Grammy for Best New Artist. ‘It was an incredible shock for me. I was completely unprepared,’ she later says. ‘My album had been out the least amount of time compared to everyone else, so I thought there was no way I’d win. I was overwhelmed, shocked and overjoyed all at the same time.
” February 2000: ‘What A Girl Wants’ is released in the UK and reaches No. 2
” March 2000: Travels to Taiwan for a press conference and showcase to celebrate her Grammy win
” April 2000: Christina performs on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (episode wins an Emmy)
” April 2000: Sole female performer alongside Backstreet Boys, Sting, and others on VH1’s ‘Men Strike Back’
” May 2000: Christina takes home two awards for Favorite New Female Artist and Favorite Single for ‘Genie In A Bottle.’ at the 2000 Blockbuster Awards
” May 2000: Christina’s song ‘Genie in a Bottle,’ written by Steve Kipner and David Frank, and Pam Sheyne is named International Hit of the Year at ASCAP Awards
” May 2000: Christina Aguilera’s song ‘Genie in a Bottle,’ written by Steve Kipner and David Frank, and Pam Sheyne is named International Hit of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards.
” May 2000: Performs at Greenbrier High School prom of freshman Colin Shaprio, the winner of the ‘Prom Of Your Life’ contest sponsored by Proctor & Gamble
” June 2000: Christina undertakes a US summer tour, co-sponsored by Sears and Levi’s
” July 2000: ‘I Turn To You’, penned by noted hit-maker Diane Warren, is released as a single in the UK. It peaks at US No. 3.
” August 2000: Admits that she is in love with her dancer Jorge Santos
” August 2000: Christina Aguilera comes in on top with ‘What A Girl Wants’ on the VH1 Countdown
” August 2000: Christina Aguilera records the theme song for Coca-Cola’s new ad campaign in the US and South America. The song ‘Ven Conmigo’ is featured in Coca-Cola ads in Latin America.
” September 2000: Christina’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ episode hosted by Christopher Walken wins an Emmy for ‘Best Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Series’
” September 2000: Christina performs at the MTV awards where she has five nominations for Best Female Video, Best Pop Video, Best New Artist, Viewers’ Choice and Best Choreography
” September 2000: She releases the Spanish-language album ‘Mi Reflejo’ in America and it peaks at US number 27, an almost unprecedented placing for a non-English-language album. ‘I’ve always been proud of my Ecuadorian heritage. Recording a Spanish album and working with a great producer like Rudy Perez gives me a chance to explore my Latin side,’ she says.
” September 2000: Performed at first Annual Latin Grammys. Nominated for the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category for her single ‘Genio Atrapado.’
” October 2000: Her fourth single, ‘Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)’ is released in Britain. It enters the UK charts at number 8, having spent four weeks at US No. 1.
” October 2000: She releases the seasonal album ‘My Kind Of Christmas,’ and it enters the US chart at number 38. The album features a 70-piece orchestra, a duet with Dr. John on ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ and several other seasonal-type songs given an R and B edge.
” November 2000: Christina is awarded the inaugural Starlight Award honoring a young performer who has made an outstanding humanitarian contribution.
” December 2000: Prime-time ABC Special ‘My Reflection’ broadcasts on TV
” January 2001: ‘My Kind Of Christmas’ certified platinum
” March 2001: Collaborates with Ricky Martin on ‘Nobody Wants To Be Lonely’ that peaks at number 11 on Billboard charts, and becomes a worldwide international hit
” April 2001: Collaborates with Pink, Mya & Lil’ Kim in a remake version of ‘Lady Marmalade’ found in the ‘Moulin Rouge’ original soundtrack. Track produced by Missy Elliott
” April 2001: Wins two Blockbuster Awards 2001 for Favorite Female Artist of the Year and Favorite Latin Album of the Year
” May 2001: Performs ‘Nobody Wants To Be Lonely’ with Ricky Martin and wins World’s Best Selling Latin Female Artist at the 2001 World Music Awards in Monaco
” May 2001: Becomes a Coca-Cola spokesman and commercial debuts on TV
” May 2001: Shelly Peiken who wrote ‘What A Girl Wants’ is honored when the performing rights organization BMI salutes the writers and publishers of the year’s 50 most performed songs at the 49th BMI Pop Awards
” May 2001: Makes the list of Irish America Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Irish In America’
” May 2001: Lady Marmalade hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100! This marks Christina’s 4th #1 on the Hot 100.
” June 2001: Releases ‘My Reflection’ on DVD and VHS
” June 2001: Performs ‘Lady Marmalade’ at MTV Movie Awards with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink
” June 2001: Performs ‘Lady Marmalade’ at Wango Tango in LA
” June 2001: Attends the Radio & Records Convention and performs ‘At Last’ with Ron Fair
” June 2001: Attends the BET awards and pays tribute to Whitney Houston by singing ‘Run To You’
” July 2001: The nominees for the 2001 Latin Grammy Awards are announced in Florida. Christina is nominated in two categories: ‘Record Of The Year’ for ‘Pero Me Acuerdo De Ti,’ and for ‘Best Female Pop Vocal Album’ for ‘Mi Reflejo.’
” July 2001: ‘Lady Marmalade’ is nominated for 6 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Video of the Year, Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, Best Video from a Film, Best Choreography in a Video, and Best Art Direction in a Video. This gives Christina a career total of eleven nominations for the VMAs.
” August 2001: Christina, Mya, Lil’ Kim and Pink win their first award together as a quartet at the third annual Teen Choice Awards for ‘Choice Song of the Summer.’
” August 2001: The outfits Christina wore on the cover of her self-titled debut album and at the 2000 Grammy Awards are to be exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Entitled ‘On The Charts”, the exhibit focuses on the teen pop phenomenon.
” August 2001: ‘Lady Marmalade’ is nominated for Best Dance Clip of The Year for 2001 Billboard Music Video Award. Paul Hunter, the director for the clip is also been nominated for Director of The Year.
” August 2001: ‘Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)’ gets nominated for Best Choreography in a Music Video for Tina Landon in the 2001 American Choreography Awards
” September 2001: Christina is asked to co-host the Second Annual Latin Grammy Awards with Jimmy Smits, but the ceremony is cancelled because of September 11 events in New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania
” September 2001: ‘Lady Marmalade’ wins Best Video Of The Year and Best Video From A Film at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards. This is the first MTV VMA win for Christina, Pink and Mya.
” September 2001: Christina Aguilera’s Spanish-language collection ‘Mi Reflejo’ earns gold (100,000 U.S. copies shipped), platinum (200,000), and triple-platinum (600,000) honors under the RIAA’s ‘Los Premios de Oro y Platino’ program
” September 2001: Christina appears on the all-star remake of the 1971 Marvin Gaye classic ‘What’s Going On.’ 50% of its proceeds will go to the United Way’s September 11th Fund and 50% to the AIDS relief effort which includes the Global AIDS Alliance, among others.
” September 2001: ‘Lady Marmalade’ is nominated for Best Song in the 2001 MTV Europe Awards
” October 2001: Christina co-hosts the 2001 Radio Music Awards and ‘Lady Marmalade’ wins Song of the Year: Top 40 – Pop Radio
” October 2001: Christina guests on ‘El Ultimo Adios (Last Goodbye),’ a charity song with various Latino stars. Profits go to the American Red Cross and United Way to support the victims of the September 11 tragedy.
” October 2001: Christina, along with Gavin Rossdale of the band Bush, hosts the 2001 Radio Music Awards from the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. ‘Lady Marmalade’ wins another in a string of awards for Song of the Year: Top 40 – Pop Radio.
” November 2001: Christina adds another title to her list of accomplishments – ‘Two-Time Grammy Award Winner.’ She wins the 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album for ‘Mi Reflejo’ (She is also nominated for Record of the Year for her song, ‘Pero Me Acuerdo De T”).
” November 2001: Lady Marmalade’ receives three nominations in the My VH1 Music Awards ’01: My Favorite Video, There’s No I In Team (Best Collaboration) and Is It Hot In Here, Or Is It Just My Video
” December 2, 2001: At the My VH1 Music Awards ’01, ‘Lady Marmalade’ picks up awards in two categories, Is It Hot In Here or Is It Just My Video, and My Favorite Video. The video for the All Star Tribute ‘What’s Going On,’ which Christina took part in, also wins an award for best collaboration in the category There’s No “I” In Team.
” December 2001: A full two years after its release, Christina’s self-titled debut album still manages to make The Billboard Hot 200 albums chart of 2001, coming in at #96. ‘Lady Marmalade’ comes in at #24 on The Billboard Hot 100 singles chart of 2001. Christina’s Spanish-language album ‘Mi Reflejo,’ which includes Spanish versions of her hit singles on The Billboard Hot 100, comes in at #2 on the year-end Billboard Latin Albums chart of 2001, moving up from #5 from the previous year.
” January 2002: For the third year in a row, Christina is been nominated for a Grammy. She receives two nominations both in the category of Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals – one for the remake of ‘Lady Marmalade’ with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink; the other with Ricky Martin for their duet ‘Nobody Wants To Be Lonely.’
” February 24, 2002: Christina unveils a new song ‘Infatuation’ from her upcoming CD at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The song is not the first single from Christina’s upcoming new release, but just the kind of exciting sneak preview her fans have been anticipating for months.
” February 2002: Lady Marmalade comes in as the 13th most expensive video ever made. Budget includes: Christina’s custom made shoes at $350, the cost of the set at $300,000, make-up at $2,000, bikini wax at $650, and corsets at $300 each. Final total: $1.2 million.
” February 27, 2002: Christina, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink win the Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals category for ‘Lady Marmalade.’ They perform the song with special guest Patti LaBelle (who took the song to #1 in 1975) just before winning the award. This marks Christina’s third Grammy win, adding to her two previous wins for Best New Artist at the 2000 Grammys, and the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Album in 2001.
” February 27, 2002: Christina unveils several new songs in an in-studio interview on MTV including ‘Beautiful,’ ‘Can’t Hold Us Down,’ and ‘Infatuation.