Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christina Aguilera, The #17 Female Artist of the Rock Era

Christina Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York but because her father was a solider in the United States Army, the family moved often, including stops in New Jersey, Texas and Japan.  The Aguileras divorced when Christina was six years old, and her mother moved the family to Rochester, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Pittsburgh. 

From an early age, Christina wanted to be a singer, performing in competitions and local talent shows.  She appeared in the television shows The Mickey Mouse Club and Star Search as a child.  Throughout her youth, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, and performed the U.S. national anthem prior to the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals.

Aguilera went to Marshall Middle School near Wexford, Pennsylvania, and briefly attended North Allegheny Intermediate High School before being home schooled following several incidents of bullying.  Aguilera's co-stars in The Mickey Mouse Club included Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling.  

In 1997, Aguilera represented the United States at the international Golden Stag Festival.  The following year, Christina recorded a demo of Whitney Houston's "Run To You" for Disney, which was looking for someone to record the song "Reflection" for their animated movie Mulan.  Producer and record executive Ron Fair was impressed, and would later mentor Christina throughout her career.  

Fair was instrumental in getting Aguilera a recording contract with RCA Records within the week.  "Reflection" achieved a Top 20 ranking on the Adult Contemporary chart, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Christina was on her way, and she hired Steve Kurtz has her manager.  The following year, Aguilera released her debut album, which debuted at #1.  The single "Genie In A Bottle" was a smash, reaching #1 in the United States, the U.K., Canada and Austria, and hitting #2 in every other major country, including Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.  "Genie In A Bottle" was certified Platinum, and earned Aguilera a Blockbuster Award for Favorite Single and a BMI Award.  Christina was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards.

Aguilera won the Grammy for Best New Artist.  She also captured Blockbuster Awards for Favorite Female Artist of the Year and Favorite New Female Artist and World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling New Female Artist and World's Best-Selling Female Latin Artist, and she was nominated for Best New Pop Artist at the Billboard Music Awards.  Aguilera released her version of "The Christmas Song", which reached #18.  

The next single from her album, "What A Girl Wants", was another smash and another million-seller.  It was featured in the great movie What Women Want, and hit #1 in the U.S. and New Zealand, #3 in the U.K., #5 in Australia and Canada, #7 in Ireland and #9 in the Netherlands.  Christina won another BMI Award for the song, and she was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards.  Aguilera was also nominated for MTV Video Music Awards for Best New Artist, Best Female Video, Best Pop Video and Viewer's Choice.

Aguilera is one of a handful of artists to achieve multiple #1 songs from a debut album.  She appeared in the Lilith Fair and performed at halftime of Super Bowl XXXIV.  Christina's debut has now sold over eight million copies in the United States and over seventeen million worldwide.  The next single, "I Turn To You", reached #3.

 Aguilera won a Billboard Music Award for Female Artist of the Year.  A fourth single, "Come On Over (All I Want Is You)", gave her another #1 song in the U.S. and a #2 in New Zealand.  It also reached #6 in the Netherlands, #8 in the U.K. and #9 in Australia and Ireland, and won an ASCAP Pop Music Award and a BMI Award.

In 2000, Aguilera released the Spanish-language album Mi Reflejo, containing five Spanish versions of songs from her debut as well as new material.  It was #27 overall, but did top the Latin charts for a record nineteen weeks and eventually sold three million copies worldwide.  The album earned Aguilera another Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.    

Later in the year, Christina released the Christmas album My Kind of Christmas, and performed "The Christmas Song" at the White House before U.S. president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle.  Aguilera toured in the United States, South America and Asia.  Her concert special, My Reflection, was nationally televised on ABC, released on DVD, and certified Gold. 

Aguilera was nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist at the American Music Awards.  She combined with Ricky Martin for the duet "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely", a single which reached #1 in New Zealand, #2 in Switzerland, #3 in the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K., #5 in Germany, #6 in Canada, #8 in Australia and #13 in the United States.  The pair were recognized with a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Christina also joined Pink, Lil' Kim and Mya for the smash cover of Labelle's #1 "Lady Marmalade" for the movie Moulin Rouge!  The remake also hit #1 for five weeks in the United States and eleven other countries, and became the top-selling song of 2001, selling over five million copies.  It captured the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, and won an ASCAP Pop Music Award and a BMI Award.  The song won two MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, and was nominated for Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video.

Despite her great success, Aguilera was dissatisfied with the music and image her management had chosen for her.  She parted ways with Kurtz and filed a lawsuit against him, opting to go with new manager Irving Azoff.  Christina decided to take control of her career, beginning with the album Stripped in 2002.  She signed a global music publishing contract with Bertelsmann Music Group and co-wrote much of the material for the album.  

Stripped debuted at #2 with first-week sales of 330,000 copies.  Aguilera increasingly displayed a provocative image, and created controversy upon the release of the video for the single "Dirrty".  It was a failure, although it did achieve good chart numbers in Europe.  The second single, "Beautiful", was an international smash, reaching #1 in the U.K., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland, reaching #2 overall and a #1 Adult Contemporary killer in the United States, and hitting #10 in every major country.  "Beautiful" won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Aguilera won her second Female Artist of the Year trophy at the Billboard Music Awards.  She was nominated for International Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, and "Beautiful" earned her another ASCAP Pop Music Award.  Stripped was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammy Awards; it has now sold over four million copies in the United States and over 10 million worldwide. 

Christina was the top-selling female artist of the year, and she won a Billboard Music Award for Female Hot 100 Singles Artist of the Year.  She co-wrote and partially finished "Miss Independent" for the album, although it later became a big hit for Kelly Clarkson.  Aguilera did pick up a BMI Award for "Miss Independent" for being the songwriter.  Aguilera's next single, "Fighter", peaked at #3 in the U.K. and Canada, #4 in Ireland and #5 in Australia and the Netherlands. 

Aguilera joined Justin Timberlake on their co-headlining Justified and Stripped Tour, and her solo international tour grossed $75 million.  Christina invited "Lady Marmalade" pal Lil' Kim on the single "Can't Hold Us Down", a third big hit from the album.  It shot up to #2 in New Zealand, #5 in Australia and Ireland, #6 in the U.K., #9 in Germany, and #12 in the United States.  Christina picked up another ASCAP Pop Music Award for the song, and she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

A fifth single, "The Voice Within", was a big hit in some countries, including Switzerland, where it reached #3.  Aguilera was nominated for Best Female Video and Viewer's Choice at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Towards the end of 2004, Aguilera recorded the jingle "Hello (Follow Your Own Star)" for a Mercedes-Benz commercial and recorded a cover of the Rose Royce song "Car Wash" for the animated movie Shark Tale.  The single hit #2 in Australia and New Zealand, #3 in the Netherlands, #4 in the U.K. and #5 in Ireland and Switzerland and #6 in Germany, and earned People's Choice Award nominations for Favorite Remake and Favorite Combined Forces.

Christina released her fragrance, Xpose, throughout Europe in late 2004.  Aguilera collaborated with Nelly and Andrea Bocelli, and a cover of Leon Russell's "A Song For You" with Herbie Hancock earned Christina a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.  

In 2006, Aguilera released the double album Back to Basics, an album of jazz, blues, and soul.  The bold project debuted at #1 on the Album chart with first-week sales of 346,000. Copies.  The single "Ain't No Other Man" was certified Platinum in the U.S., and reached #2 in the U.K., #3 in Ireland, #4 in Canada, #5 in Germany, New Zealand and Switzerland, #6 in the United States and Australia and #7 in Austria. 

"Ain't No Other Man" won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and the song earned Aguilera a People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite R&B Song her sixth BMI Award, and MTV Video Music Award nominations for Video of the Year, Best Female Video and Best Pop Video.  Aguilera earned another Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Aguilera's performance at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony, where she paid tribute to James Brown with a version of "It's A Man's World", was named the third-greatest Grammy Moment and is also featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The single "Hurt" reached #1 in Switzerland, #2 in Germany, The Netherlands and Austria, #6 in Ireland, #9 in Australia and #19 in the United States, and earned Aguilera another ASCAP Pop Music Award, and another BMI Award as well.

Back to Basics has now sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S. and 4.5 million worldwide.  Aguilera then embarked on a world tour of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, including a cabaret, a three-ring circus, and 10-piece costumes.  Portions of the tour were released as the DVD Back to Basics:  Live and Down Under in 2007.

In 2007, Aguilera recorded "Steppin' (sic) Out With My Baby" with Tony Bennett, and was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the Grammy Awards.

Christina released her signature fragrance, Simply Christina, in 2007.  The following year, Aguilera appeared with Mick Jagger on the song "Live With Me" for the documentary Shine a Light, which chronicles a two-day Rolling Stones concert in New York City.

Aguilera released the compilation album Keeps Gettin' Better:  A Decade of Hits.  The single "Keeps Gettin' Better" reached #4 in Canada and #7 in the U.S.

In 2009, Aguilera became the global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief appearing in advertisements, online campaigns and a public service announcement.

In 2010, Aguilera starred in the movie musical Burlesque, which earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack and a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song ("Bound To You").  Christina also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Aguilera has released two albums since, Bionic in 2010 and Lotus in 2012, but neither yielded a Top 10 song.  She did, however, collaborate with Maroon 5 on their smash from 2011, "Moves Like Jagger", which went to #1 and sold over five million copies in the United States alone, and was a Top 5 song in every major country in the world.  

The song was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the Grammy Awards, and was nominated for Top Hot 100 Song, Top Pop Song, Top Radio Song and Top Digital Song at the Billboard Music Awards.  Christina was nominated for Favorite Song of the Year at the People's Choice Awards for "Moves Like Jagger", and she won her tenth BMI Award. Aguilera won a Special Achievement Award ("People's Voice") at the People's Choice Awards.

The song enabled Christina to become the fourth female artist of the Rock Era to top the Billboard Hot 100 in three consecutive decades (and eighth overall), and the second female to achieve a #1 in the 1990's, 2000's and 2010's.

Aguilera performed the U.S. national anthem during Super Bowl XLV.  In 2012, she combined with Pitbull for the song "Feel This Moment", #2 in Austria, #4 in Canada, #5 in the U.K. and New Zealand, #6 in Australia and the Netherlands, #7 in Switzerland, #8 in the U.S. and #9 in Germany.  Aguilera earned her 18th MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Collaboration.

Also in 2012, Hillary Clinton presented Aguilera with the George McGovern Leadership Award, making her the first singer to receive the award.  In 2013,  Aguilera was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Aguilera is nominated for Five World Music Awards:  World's Best Song and World's Best Video ("Your Body), World's Best Album for Lotus, and World's Best Female Artist and World's Best Entertainer of the Year at this year's ceremonies.

Aguilera has sold 17.4 million albums in the United States and over 50 million worldwide.  She has won four Grammy Awards amongst seventeen nominations, two Billboard Music Awards, and two MTV Video Music Awards.  Christina has scored 33 career hits, with 11 Top 10 songs and 4 #1's.

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