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Christina Marķa Aguilera, born December 18, 1980, is an American pop singer and songwriter. She was signed to RCA Records after recording "Reflection" for the film Mulan. She came to prominence following her debut album Christina Aguilera (1999), which was a critical and commercial success. A Latin pop album Mi Reflejo, and a Christmas album, My Kind of Christmas, followed during this period and also sold strongly.
Aguilera took creative control over her second studio album Stripped (2002), which received mixed reviews and yet produced good sales. During the album's promotion, her overtly sexual image became the subject of intense criticism and ridicule, although in recent times it has given her respect for promoting independence and female empowerment. Her third studio album Back to Basics (2006) included elements of soul, jazz, and blues music. It was released to substantial sales and positive critical reception. Aguilera's works have earned her numerous awards, most notably four Grammy Awards in thirteen nominations. She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
Life and music career
Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York City, New York, to Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a U.S. Army sergeant, and Shelly Loraine Fidler, a Spanish teacher. Aguilera's father was born in Gaudi, Ecuador, while her mother is of Irish descent (her maternal grandparents emigrated from County Clare). The two met at Brigham Young University, and later married in the LDS temple in Washington D.C. Her father, Fausto, was stationed at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada and Japan. Aguilera lived with her father and mother until she was 7 years old. When Aguilera's parents divorced, her mother took her, and her younger sister Rachel, to her grandmother's home in Rochester, Pennsylvania, a blue-collar suburb of Pittsburgh. According to both Aguilera and Fidler, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive. She later wrote about her difficult childhood in the songs, "I'm OK" in Stripped, and "Oh Mother" in Back to Basics. Although her father has written to Christina, she has ruled out any chance to reunite with him. Since then, Fidler has married a paramedic named Jim Kearns, and has changed her name to Shelly Kearns.
Aguilera attended North Allegheny School District, near the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, Pennsylvania.
As a child, Aguilera aspired to be a singer. Her musical influences included Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, and Madonna. She also cites the musicals for The Sound of Music 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.
According to VH1's Driven, this label eventually backfired on her. When competitors learned they would be up against her in any given week, they immediately backed out, prompting insiders to claim it was "like sending a lamb to the slaughter." Her peers soon became jealous of her and would frequently subject her to ridicule, ostracism, and, in one gym class, attempted assault. Acts of vandalism around her house included the slashing of the tires on the family car. Eventually, the family relocated to another suburb in the Pittsburgh area and, by her own order, swore to secrecy about her talent lest another backlash occur.
On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing Etta James' "A Sunday Kind of Love", but lost the competition. 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 again. People remarked that the then 10-year-old "sounded 20".
Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey games, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games. Her first major role in entertainment came in 1993 when she joined the Disney Channel's variety show The New Mickey Mouse Club. Her co-stars included Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Rhona Bennett (who later became a member of En Vogue), Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, and Keri Russell. According to the documentary Driven, Aguilera's Mickey Mouse Club co-stars called her "the Diva". One of her most notable performances was of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing". When the show was canceled 1994, Aguilera began recording demos in an attempt to get signed to a record label.
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 "Golden Stag" International Festival with a two-song set which included a Sheryl Crow and Diana Ross.
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