Christina Aguilera Talks Blossoming "Lotus"
Staten Island seems like a long, long way away for this lovely lady. During her entire life, destiny has been working in her favor, taking her hand and walking her through challenges that could stop many. Life in an abusive home, bullying and other disappointments can crush, but she has turned those very disappointments into gold. You can see and hear it in her lyrics. More importantly you can hearit in the power of her instrument. She is resilient, a fighter who shares her pain, power and joie de vivre. It’s rare that I rave about talent, but no one can deny it; this girl has an incredible set of pipes. Strength and ability, a powerful combination-I can’t wait to see her next move.
The little girl with a huge talent started out like many young kids, performing at local talent shows, blossoming into what has become one of the world’s greatest voices. We essentially watched her grow up, starting with "Star Search" in 1992, then on the Disney Channel’s "The New Mickey Mouse Club." It was with Disney again that we heard her sing "Reflection," for the animated film "Mulan," a song that would change everything by starting her on a trajectory that shows no sign on stopping. Her first self-titled album hit number one quickly. Suddenly everybody knew who Christina Aguilera was. They were dancing and singing to songs like "Genie in a Bottle," "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over (All I Want Is You)," all of which topped the Billboard Hot 100-a whole lot of success for a girl with a whole lot of voice.
She had two more successful ventures: "Mi Reflejo," her first Spanish album in 2000 and "My Kind of Christmas in 2000." Both were commercial successes, yet behind the scenes, the "little girl with a big voice" was growing dissatisfied with the artistic direction in which she was being led. Music often reflects the situations in an artist’s life. I guess that’s true for most creative people. "Genie in a Bottle" stands out to me at this stage in her career. It was done with producer Steve Kurtz, whose influence she felt was over-burdening and locked her into being what was termed a "bubble gum" pop singer. It was time for that little girl to take control and break out of that bottle-which she did-by terminating her relationship with Kurtz and moving on. Aguilera’s fourth album shattered any illusions that this woman was a little girl any longer. "Stripped" changed the game, letting us get to know her steamier side with songs like "Dirrty," and a video that pushed the limits of America’s sensibilities. It’s interesting what happens in America when a young woman takes control of her sexuality-and expresses it.
That album also produced one of the songs that, for many in the LGBT community, became an acknowledgement of every slight they had felt and all the pain endured by those growing up different. "Beautiful" became an anthem that expressed pain, growth, rebirth and moving forward and taking responsibility for one’s own happiness. Of it she said, "’Beautiful’ is an amazing song. I remember the day Linda Perry sat at a piano and just started singing ’every day is so wonderful... and suddenly...’ It really hit me hard. It is a song for everyone to remind them that first and foremost, we must love ourselves." Along with the accompanying video, it expresses that love in all its forms is inspiring.
There is so much more to list, but it’s time to move on to the reason we’re here: our Rage Monthly interview with Christina Aguilera. So much better than a listing of her accomplishments, it was a wonderful chance in which to connect with her about happiness, her life, music, growth, motherhood and even a little bit about Max, her son.
So much of what I hear in your music is about pain, growth, rebirth and moving forward, taking responsibility for our own happiness. Can you tell me a bit about what motivates your music/lyrics?
That is exactly what I want to accomplish. Taking control and responsibility, but also saying it’s okay to feel what you feel and then move on. It’s all about a fresh start and a rebirth. Everyone should get the opportunity for second chances.
Christina, you have talked about growing up in an abusive home and then facing bullying as well (something that many of us can relate to as a gay people). It is part of what I admire about your work. You share the pain of that-it gives people hope. Thank you for that.
That is so sweet, I’m sorry you had to endure what you did and I am glad there are things in my music that offer hope and comfort. For me as a child growing up, music was my escape; it was the one thing that gave me strength and solace. That is why I do what I do. I hope my music helps people get through the good times and the bad.
It’s part of what I think so many find relatable about you. The fact that you have grown far beyond the image that was created for you early on-into a woman of substance, intelligence and strength-what do you hope people see now as compared to your earlier work?
I hope people see that when I started, I was young and still growing. I made mistakes and still do. But now as a mom, I have new goals and dreams. I am human and ever-evolving.
Children change everything don’t they? How is Max and how much did becoming a mom change you?
He is my world. Every day his growth amazes me-he is such a special little guy!
The new album "Lotus" is great, did you have a single idea when you set out to create it?
Unlike my past albums, this album didn’t have a central theme when it came to the sound. I just wanted to be sure to include songs that moved me-songs that were fun and felt right. There is a mix of dance, pop, ballads etc. all representing my personal freedom and expression.
"Cease Fire" is a wonderful song, I love the line "what is our legacy," it made me pause and think about the things for which we are remembered. What do you hope your legacy is/will be?
Being a mother to my son Max is my greatest
"Army of Me" also stood out for me. The lyric, "You thought you’d watch me fade away when you broke me into pieces, but I gave each piece a name, one of me is wiser, one of me is stronger, one of me is a fighter..." I love the image of that. Can you share what you were thinking when you wrote that?
I wanted to speak to my fans who stood by me through my career and all aspects of my growth. As a woman I have changed with each album and my fans have accepted that. I wanted this song to be an anthem to them-that we can all have different faces and personas, but all of us are fighters.
I hear that this will be your last season on "The Voice," what has that experience been like for you?
Mentoring on the show has been such a wonderful experience. Knowing that you can be a part of shaping someone’s journey has been very special!