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Songbook: How Pop Icon Christina Aguilera Traversed Two Cultures & Languages Across Her Discography

Christina Aguilera

Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

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Songbook: How Pop Icon Christina Aguilera Traversed Two Cultures & Languages Across Her Discography

International pop star Christina Aguilera is set to take the Latin GRAMMYs stage for the first time in more than 20 years. Ahead of her performance at the 2021 Latin GRAMMYs, GRAMMY.com is taking a deep dive into all of her English and Spanish albums.

GRAMMYs/Nov 17, 2021 - 11:39 pm

Presented by GRAMMY.com, Songbook is an editorial series and hub for music discovery that dives into a legendary artist's discography and art in whole — from songs to albums to music films and videos and beyond. 

While many artists dream of pop success in one language, Christina Aguilera is one of the few icons who has translated success both in the American market at-large and the Latin music market. That duality has been cemented with wins at both the GRAMMYs and Latin GRAMMYs. And after performing at the very first Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2000, Aguilera is set to return to the stage at the 2021 Latin GRAMMYs for the first time in more than 20 years.

Aguilera was one of the biggest female artists to emerge from the teen pop explosion of the late '90s, thanks in part to her 1999 self-titled debut album and breakthrough single "Genie in a Bottle." After racking up multiple chart-topping hits on the Billboard Hot 100, Aguilera also won over her peers, as evidenced by her win for Best New Artist at the 42nd GRAMMY Awards in 2000. With an extraordinary career that now spans over two decades, that first award stands as a testament to Aguilera's longevity in the music industry.

Following her commercial and critical success in the 2000s, Aguilera decided to try her hand at the Latin market and embrace her Ecuadorian roots. In September of that year, she released Mi Reflejo, her first Spanish-language album. The LP features Spanish-sung versions of Aguilera's biggest hits at the time, as well as a few new original songs and covers. 

At the inaugural Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2000, Aguilera performed the bolero classic "Contigo En La Distancia" and "Genio Atrapado," the latter of which is the Spanish version of "Genie in a Bottle." A year later, Mi Reflejo netted Aguilera her first, and only, Latin GRAMMY win for Female Pop Vocal Album.

On Nov. 18, Aguilera is set to return to the Latin GRAMMYs stage with the first live performance of her new single "Pa Mis Muchachas," alongside Becky GNathy Peluso and Nicki Nicole. With her triumphant comeback to Latin music on the horizon, GRAMMY.com is revisiting all of Christina Aguilera's iconic albums.

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? Here's everything you need to know about the 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show and nominations!

For Beginners

Christina Aguilera (1999)

True Christina Aguilera fans remember when she sang the ballad "Reflection" for the soundtrack to Disney's Mulan in 1998. 

The song was included on her 1999 self-titled debut, but "Genie in a Bottle" launched the album into the public consciousness. The song reached No. 1 in multiple countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Spain, and Italy, with the anthemic "What a Girl Wants" closely following as her second No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart. 

To keep the momentum going, Aguilera released up-tempo radio edits of "What a Girl Wants" and her third No. 1 hit, "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" — the latter of which offering a preview of the more mature Xtina that was to come. 

Aguilera also proved her prowess as a powerhouse vocalist with the soaring single "I Turn To You", penned by Diane WarrenReflection retains its power to this day, proven by the re-recording of  "Reflection" Aguilera shared for Disney's live-action Mulan in 2020.

Stripped (2002)

While her pop peers were continuing to churn out albums every year, Aguilera made sure to take her time with her second record, 2002's Stripped. Now 21 years old, Aguilera looked to shed her teen-pop past with the aptly-titled banger "Dirrty" featuring hip-hop icon Redman

While that track exemplified her new embrace and harnessing of the power of her sexuality, the sensual cut "Get Mine, Get Yours" pushed even further. But for the second single, Aguilera opted for the most important song of her career: "Beautiful." Linda Perry penned the empowering self-love ballad, but Aguilera took the track into the stratosphere with her soaring voice. 

The Jonas Åkerlund-directed music video was ahead of its time in its prominent depictions of queer culture, prominently featuring a trans woman and a gay couple kissing. 

In the intervening years, "Beautiful" has become an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community. In 2004, the song earned Aguilera  the GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance. 

The empowerment theme continues elsewhere on the album with the Dave Navarro-featuring kiss-off track "Fighter" and the girl power anthem "Can't Hold Us Down" with rap legend Lil' Kim

After assembling an impressive team of writers for her debut record, Aguilera is credited as co-writer on the majoriy of Stripped, including the deeply personal power ballad "The Voice Within." 

On pressings of the album in Latin America, Aguilera included a Spanish version of "Get Mine" as "Dame Lo Que Yo Te Doy."

Read More: How & What Time To Watch The 2021 Latin GRAMMYs Awards: A Viewer's Guide On Where You Can Watch The Biggest Night In Latin Music

Back to Basics (2006)

After pushing her boundaries in 2002, double-album Back to Basics embraced retro elements from the days of Ella FitzgeraldEtta James, and Billie Holiday

Aguilera's signature growl heralded the first disc in the lead single "Ain't No Other Man," a funky track that exemplifies Aguilera's ability to blend vintage sounds with a fresh hip-hop edge. 

In fact, the DJ Premier-produced song would go on to help Aguilera earn the GRAMMY for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance. 

While the first disc finds Aguilera delivering brassy cuts like "Slow Down Baby" and "Still Dirrty" (a clever wink to her previous album), the second disc embraces more over-the-top, theatrical sounds. 

Produced by Linda Perry and co-written by Perry and Mark Ronson, heartbreaking ballad "Hurt" stands as a second half highlight, while . the flirty bop "Candyman" put a sexy twist on Andrews Sisters-esque boogie-woogie music.

Deeper Dives

Bionic (2010)

While Aguilera was looking to the past with Back to Basics, 2010's Bionic looked to the future, embracing elements of electronica and synthpop. 

Helmed by hip-hop hit-maker Polow da Don, lead single "Not Myself Tonight" channeled Aguilera's powerful voice into a club anthem about giving into the evening's temptations. 

For the follow-up singles, Aguilera joined forces with then-rising rap star Nicki Minaj for the tongue-in-cheek banger "Woohoo," and then rounded things out with one of her most underrated ballads, "You Lost Me." 

Before Sia became a go-to collaborator, Aguilera tapped the Australian singer-songwriter to co-write the mesmerizing "All I Need" with producer Samuel Dixon

Multiple high-profile electronic acts contributed as well, including M.I.A., who co-wrote "Elastic Love," Peaches and Le Tigre in "My Girls," and Ladytron in the bonus track "Birds of Prey." 

While it may not be the focus of the album, Aguilera ensured that Latin music threads through the catalog here in the form of Spanglish banger "Desnudate." 

Lotus (2012)

After going through personal struggles, including divorce, Aguilera decided to channel it into her fifth album, 2012's Lotus: "The unbreakable lotus in me, I now set free," she sings on opener "Lotus Intro". 

For lead single "Your Body," Aguilera teamed up for the first time with Max Martin, the pop hit-maker behind classics from Britney SpearsBackstreet Boys and *NSYNC. Elsewhere, Aguilera flexed her versatility as an artist that can thrive in any genre. 

As a new coach for The Voice, she turned to then-colleague Blake Sheltonfor the country-pop ballad "Just a Fool."  The haunting "Cease Fire" alludes to the battles in her personal life, complete with production from Alex Da Kid

As a gift to her fans for supporting the album, Aguilera released a self-made music video for the electrifying "Let There Be Love," a song that has become another anthem upheld by the LGBTQ+ community,one she often performs in a flurry of rainbows.

Learn More: The Wait Is Almost Over: How To Watch The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show Nominations Livestream Event

Liberation (2018)

To celebrate two decades in the industry since Reflection, Aguilera's sixth album, Liberation, finds the pop star freed of the expectations placed on pop stars to keep chasing hits, instead resulting in an LP that came from the heart. 

Aguilera embraced hip-hop influences, as evidenced by lead single "Accelerate", which was produced by Kanye WestMike Dean, and Charlie Heat, with guest spots from rappers Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz

For the follow-up single "Fall in Line," Aguilera teamed up with another pop powerhouse, Demi Lovato, to hit back at the sexism and unfair expectations that women can face in the music industry. 

In the music video, Aguilera and Lovato are survivors of the system that was trying to control them, empowering each other and the next generation of female artists with their passionate performances.

In 2019, the dynamic duet was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the GRAMMY Awards. 

Burlesque soundtrack (2010)

In 2010, Aguilera made her big screen debut in the movie Burlesque alongside pop legend Cher. Aguilera performed on a majority of the soundtrack as her character, aspiring burlesque dancer Ali Rose. 

The album opened with her roaring cover of Etta James' "Something's Got a Hold On Me," followed by fierce performances in full-band club bangers like "Express" and "Show Me How You Burlesque." 

Elsewhere, Aguilera and Sia were nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 2011 for co-writing the breathtaking ballad "Bound to You." 

Cher performed two songs on the soundtrack, including the commanding show-stopper "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me." In 2012, the Burlesque soundtrack was nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media at the GRAMMY Awards.

For Latin Pop Fans

Mi Reflejo (2000)

Following the release of her debut self-titled album, Aguilera decided to embrace her Ecuadorian roots and tap into the Latin market with 2000's Mi Reflejo

The LP's cover, featuring Aguilera with red streaks in her hair, echoes its English-language counterpart, as do the new Spanish versions of all the singles from Christina Aguilera. "Ven Conmigo (Solamente Tú)," the Spanish version of "Come On Over Baby," reached No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks chart. 

Aguilera proved her powerful balladeer prowess could translate in Spanish with the heartwrenching "Pero Me Acuerdo De Tí," a cover of Puerto Rican singer Lourdes Robles' 1991 original. Aguilera released an original song as the album's third single, the fiery "Falsas Esperanzas." 

Other highlights include an early collaboration with Luis Fonsi for the dreamy duet "Si No Te Hubiera Conocido."

Holiday Homework

My Kind of Christmas (2000)

Fresh off the success of albums in both English and Spanish, Aguilera opted for holiday warmth with My Kind of Christmas in late 2000. 

The 11-track album tackles yuletide classics like "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "This Christmas." The true highlights of the set is Aguilera's absolutely heavenly cover of "Oh Holy Night,"

And a rendition of "Merry Christmas, Baby," complete with a partnership with blues music legend Dr. John, who gave her rousing rendition some extra oomph. The album also featured original songs like the twinkling bop "Christmas Time" and mesmerizing "This Year." 

The elements all come together to make this one of the best holiday albums by a pop star next to Mariah Carey's iconic Merry Christmas LP. 

The 2021 Latin GRAMMYs, hosted by Ana Brenda Contreras, Carlos Rivera and Roselyn Sánchez, will air live on Univision on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CT). It will also air on cable channel TNT at 19.00 (MEX) / 20.00 (PAN-COL) / 21.00 (VEN) / 22.00 (ARG/CHI), and on Televisa on Channel 5. Learn more about the 2021 Latin GRAMMYs Awards via the Latin Recording Academy's official website.

Los 2021 Latin GRAMMYs Awards Nominations Announced: See The Complete List

Christina Aguilera Recalls Singing "Beautiful": "GRAMMYs Greatest Stories"

Christina Aguilera

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Christina Aguilera Recalls Singing "Beautiful": "GRAMMYs Greatest Stories"

Learn how show producer Ken Ehrlich's suggestion helped shape Aguilera's iconic performance; tune in to "GRAMMYs Greatest Stories" Nov. 24 on CBS

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2017 - 10:00 pm

Christina Aguilera has made six trips to the GRAMMY stage as a featured performer. Over the years, she's shared the spotlight with GRAMMY winners such as Herbie Hancock, Lil' Kim, Missy Elliott, and Pink. She even helped pay tribute to the legendary Aretha Franklin in a stunning medley with Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch, Yolanda Adams, and Martina McBride.

It's tough to pick a top moment among so many iconic performances, but Aguilera's personal favorite is her intimate, vulnerable performance of "Beautiful" at the 46th GRAMMY Awards in 2004.

Integral to the success of the performance was Aguilera's posture and presentation, which she reveals was a difficult pose to hold while singing, but ultimately a challenge she overcame.

"Ken Ehrlich suggested I get down on my knees, and sing the song in sort of a kneeling position," Aguilera reveals. "I think it added to the vulnerability I was trying to pull off in the performance."

Watch Aguilera and other artists discuss the most memorable performances in GRAMMY history on the TV special "GRAMMYs Greatest Stories: A 60th Anniversary Special," airing Friday, Nov. 24 from 9–11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Justin Timberlake Recalls Al Green GRAMMY Tribute: "GRAMMY Greatest Stories"

Christina Aguilera Hints At New Album, Talks Starting "From Scratch"

Christina Aguilera

Photo: Valerie Macon/Getty Images

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Christina Aguilera Hints At New Album, Talks Starting "From Scratch"

Xtina takes to Twitter to tease what would be her first new album in six years

GRAMMYs/May 2, 2018 - 07:37 pm

It's been six years since Christina Aguilera's most recent album, 2012's Lotus. Now, a new video posted by the GRAMMY-winning singer on Twitter seems to reveal that new music is on the horizon.

The video opens with a silhouette in water before showing Aguilera lying in bed and eventually speaking, as she declares, "You feel in life when you get to a place where you feel so comfortable and so routine, then you know you have to stop and start from scratch."

The video ends with her lighting a match in front of her face as a mere half-bar of a beat plays softly behind the image. All together, the video runs just 14 seconds.

This latest tease of new music comes two days after Aguilera shared a more cryptic Twitter post and a subsequent fan post that has caused fans to suspect the project might be called "Liberation."

Aguilera won Best New Artist at the 42nd GRAMMY Awards and has picked up four additional GRAMMY wins since, most recently for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Say Something" With A Great Big World at the 57th GRAMMY Awards. A new LP from Aguilera would be the sixth of her career.

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APRA Music Awards Nominations Announced

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

APRA Music Awards Nominations Announced
Nominations for the 2012 APRA Music Awards were announced with Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" featuring Kimbra garnering nods for Most Played Australian Work and Song of the Year. Artists nominated in the International Work of the Year category are Adele ("Rolling In The Deep"), Jessie J ("Price Tag"), LMFAO ("Party Rock Anthem"), Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera ("Moves Like Jagger"), and Neon Trees ("Animal"). The awards, which recognize composers and songwriters who have achieved excellence in their craft, will take place May 28 in Sydney. (5/3)

Amanda Palmer Sets Kickstarter Record
Singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer has raised more than $443,000 on fundraising site Kickstarter in the three days following the April 30 launch of a campaign to help fund her forthcoming new album. Palmer had received pledges from more than 6,500 people as of May 2. According to Kickstarter, Palmer's campaign, which runs through May 31, holds the site's record for value of pledges and number of pledges. (5/3)

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GRAMMY Winners To Perform At Haiti Benefit

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

GRAMMY Winners To Perform At Haiti Benefit
GRAMMY-winning artists Christina Aguilera, Bono, Alicia Keys, and Sting are among the artists who will perform at the "Hope For Haiti Now" benefit taking place Jan. 22 in New York. Hosted by GRAMMY winner Wyclef Jean, the show will be televised across more than a dozen broadcast and cable networks and will benefit Oxfam America, Red Cross, and UNICEF, among others, in support of the victims of the recent Haiti earthquake. (1/19)

Celine Dion Is Decade's Top-Earning Artist
Celine Dion has been named the No. 1 artist on the Los Angeles Times' Ultimate Top 10 list, a ranking of artists' combined album sales and concert revenue from the past decade. Dion totaled $748 million in revenue, followed by Kenny Chesney with $742 million, Dave Matthews Band with $737.4 million, the Beatles with $627.3 million, and U2 with $609.7 million. Rounding out the list were Toby Keith, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Tim McGraw, and Britney Spears. (1/19)

BRIT Awards Nominees Announced
The BRIT Awards 2010 nominees were announced with Lily Allen, Florence & The Machine, Lady Gaga, and Pixie Lott leading the field with three nominations each. Others artists receiving nods include Dizzee Rascal, Jay-Z, JLS, La Roux, and Paolo Nutini. The BRIT Awards will take place Feb. 16 at Earls Court Arena in London. (1/19)

Japanese Physical Market Declines
Audio production totaled 214.3 million units in Japan in 2009, a 13 percent decline from the previous year, for a value of $2.75 billion, representing a 16 percent year-over-year decline, according to Recording Industry Association of Japan. While audio production declined, music video production totaled 59.2 million units, up 6 percent over 2008, for a value of $739 million, a 2 percent increase. (1/19)