Christina Aguilera

Interview 1: MTV

MTV News: Why don't you begin by telling a little about yourself.

Christina Aguilera: I was born in Staten Island, New York. But I call my hometown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, because that's basically where I ended up from age eight on. But right after Staten Island... I've lived everywhere from Texas, to Japan for three years, to New Jersey. I'm this traveling girl. My father was in the Army, so I guess I'm an Army brat.

MTV: I was going to ask you about your last name....

Christina: A lot of people wanna perceive [me] as a little white girl, trying to sound however. I'm just singing, like, what feels natural to me and what's most comfortable. And I'm not completely white. I am half Hispanic, half American-Irish. My father is from Ecuador, South America, so I am proud of my Latin roots. I'd like to get the Spanish community involved as well, being that my last name is Aguilera, and record a Spanish album one day and release it. That is really important to me.

MTV: So how long have you been singing and performing?

Christina: I've been singing and performing ever since I was in diapers, basically. I mean, from laying a towel on the floor in the bathroom and using the shampoo bottle as a microphone, to local block parties and talent shows and things like that, and to "Star Search," "[The New] Mickey Mouse Club," and the record deal.

MTV: Tell us about your "Star Search" experience first.

Christina: It was awesome. I got to meet Ed McMahon, and it was my first time in L.A., and I lost on "Star Search," so that was a little devastating for an eight-year-old. I was up against a twelve-year-old, so I was like, "Not fair!" But it was cool.

MTV: Can you tell me about your experience as a Mouseketeer?

Christina: Being a Mouseketeer on the "Mickey Mouse Club" was cool. I was on for ages twelve and thirteen. I was on the last two seasons, and I was in pretty good company, with fellow Mouseketeers Britney Spears, J. C. and Justin from 'N Sync, Keri Russell from "Felicity." So we all had fun on that show.

MTV: Any funny anecdotes or stories that you have from that?

Christina: There was some crazy things that happened on the set. People were always telling jokes, playing pranks and stuff like that, but... I have to keep certain things secret.

MTV: Tell us how you ended landed a record deal.

Christina: I landed a record deal simultaneously as I landed the "Mulan" soundtrack. I had just turned seventeen years old and during the same week, I just landed both. I recorded for the "Mulan" soundtrack first and then a few months later I was out in L.A. doing the record for about six months.

MTV: What are your biggest fears about being in the entertainment industry?

Christina: You know, the comparisons kinda bother me, because that takes away from my own artistry and the other person's. We're all individual artists, and that sort of bothers me. Maybe "here today, gone tomorrow" sort of scares me. But I plan on working hard to make sure that doesn't happen. Staying focused.

MTV: How do you distinguish yourself from someone like Britney Spears or some other teen pop idols?

Christina:Well, what's cool is that I'm a fan of Britney Spears. I'm a fan of Mariah Carey, who I've also been compared to, which is amazing. I mean, we are all our own individual artists, you know. I'm not a Britney Spears, and Britney Spears isn't me. But I think especially when people hear more of my music... it'll definitely distinguish who I am. On the upcoming album, it is a pop-R&B album, but I have a lot of soul, and there's some rangy vocals in there, so it gets kinda crazy. We've got everything from mid-tempos to really big ballads .

Who are your influences?

Christina: I would grow up in the talent shows singing Whitney Houston songs. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" from, you know, back in '90 or '91 or whenever that was. I have a love for her. I have a love for Mariah Carey. Her style and technique is amazing. Brian McKnight I really admire. He's my favorite male vocalist. As far as blues goes, because I'm a huge lover of blues, R&B, and gospel, I love Etta James. Completely. I have a lot of respect for Lauryn Hill, because she's so heartfelt and deep on everything that comes out of her.

MTV: What's in your Walkman right now?

Christina: The new Limp Bizkit CD. I like Fred Durst, and I love that band.

MTV: What's in your VCR right now?

Christina: Janet Jackson, "Velvet Rope" tour. I just love watching people's performance videos. And she, being an amazing performer, her and Madonna, I aspire to do my little shows like that one day.

MTV: Are you planning to tour any time soon?

Christina: I am going to be on tour possibly with TLC, a couple of dates with 'N Sync. I'm doing a few things with Lilith Fair, a lot of radio shows.

MTV: Are you excited to be reunited with some of the guys from 'N Sync on tour?

Christina: Oh, that's funny. The 'N Sync guys are very cool. I mean, who knows? It's always good to see them, and we will run into each other occasionally, and being that we were all great friends back in the ["Mickey Mouse Club"] days it'll be fun. I do miss Britney, though.

MTV: What are your plans for Lilith Fair?

Christina: I am not going to be singing "Genie in a Bottle" at all. It's a time where I think I can get in front of a bunch of women and really sing my heart out to just piano and vocal. It's just a piano and a mic and that's it. I'll get bluesy with Etta James' "At Last," which is one of my favorite songs.

MTV: If you weren't singing, what would you be doing right now?

Christina: I can't really picture me doing anything else besides what I am doing now. I don't know, but something funny. I always wanted to work the window at a drive-thru fast food restaurant. I always thought it was a cool thing to do.

MTV: Last question. If you could describe yourself as one animal, what would it be?

Christina:This is a funny question. I guess, everyone says that I remind them of a cat. Like, I'm sort of laid back all the time, but when I get onstage, it's like, I sort of pounce... it's like I come alive. So I can surprise people like that. So I guess a little kitty cat.

Interview 2: All Pop

TORONTO -- Christina Aguilera looks tired and incredibly tiny. Sipping from a glass of orange juice to fight off a cold that forced her to cancel a recent European appearance, the 19-year-old Grammy-winning singer sounds a bit overwhelmed as she lists her upcoming projects.

"Right now, we're getting ready to finish up the Latin album, which I've been in Miami recording for a few weeks now," Aguilera says, "translating a few songs from my debut album and putting a new twist on some new material - -a new R&B/salsa kind of a twist. There will be a lot of very versatile things on that record coming out in the fall."

She takes a deep breath before rattling off the rest of her plans in one long, uninterrupted list.

"Then I'm working on the Christmas album on the side ... doing a duet with one of my favourite idols, (blues legend) Etta James, for that one which I'm really excited about, as well, preparing for the tour and of course, in the meantime, writing and coming up with new ideas, new areas to explore for this second album, the follow-up to my debut album."

But before the new album is recorded, Aguilera plans to release at least two more singles from her debut: "So Emotional" in the fall and "Come On Over" as soon as "I Turn To You", her current hit, "runs its toll," she says.

Aguilera also plans to re-record "Come On Over".

"We're going to head back in the studio, give it more of an edge, R&B it up a little, maybe rock it out a little, give it a lot of different new directions and get it out there," she says excitedly.

The teen star's songs aren't the only things she wants to re-invent. Sitting in her hotel room in a glittery 'Rock Star', midriff-bearing T-shirt, and pulling on her now trademark platinum tresses, she claims her current look won't be around forever.

"I'm experimental by nature," Aguilera says about her image, "...always exploring my creativity. Right now we want to keep it pretty simple. On 'Come on Over', we're going to edge out the make-up a little bit more. I love what Gwen Stefani (of No Doubt) does with herself and her image and making it a little different, but she's still glamorous at the same time. She's a glamorous rock chick, and that's really attractive to me, that's really cool - -experimenting with different hair colours, hair styles, not afraid to be daring and funky, just changing it up."

Aside from experimenting with hair colours, Aguilera also plans to break new ground on her second album, which she says will be released in 2001.

Some might wonder if she's feeling the pressure to live up to the success of her self-titled debut, which shot up the charts and earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist. But Aguilera has big plans.

"There's still a lot to be accomplished, that was a dream of mine of course - to win a Grammy," she admits, remembering how her knees shook as she took the stage to accept the award. "But my long-term goal is to become an all-around entertainer. I look up to great performers such as Madonna and Janet Jackson, who've taken on the stage, the studio and the screen and have been successful in all three while maintaining their strength as positive female artists who aren't afraid to take chances and be daring and experimental and sexy, yet not ... you know, they still have a power about them. They're still dominating as females and not being vulnerable in their sexuality, which is really cool."

Lofty goals for such a young star, and hearing the minute singer discuss the different aspects of female sexuality and her long-term goals, it's easy to forget that she is only 19, until she's asked about her rumoured romantic interest in fellow music star Enrique Iglesias.

"Right now I'm pretty single," she insists. "I'm just so focused on what

I have career-wise on my plate, it's kind of like overload with the tour and the Spanish album and the Christmas record. My career is my boyfriend."

She's used that line before and knows it, but she smiles for a moment and lets her human side shine through her slick, rehearsed answer.

"But I do have fun on the side. Enrique and I have actually maintained friendship since the Super Bowl [where they both performed] and he's a sweetheart, sent me flowers when I was sick and everything over the past two weeks," she says. "He's just...he's a wonderful person, really down-to-earth and for as gorgeous as he is, you wouldn't expect him to be. It's really cool talking to someone like that."

That seems to be the extent of the Enrique relationship, but Aguilera is quite open about her romantic past..

"I fell in love for the first time over the past year," she says. "That's also been a learning and growing experience for me. But right now it's just I had to get back to my own independence and stay focused on what was important and that's my career, above all, for me right now. But it [love] is a really amazing thing. It turned my world upside down for a second. I was like, 'What is this?' And it still pretty much has."

Is the love over?

"Not necessarily," she says. "I don't think you forget your first love, that's what everybody says. You always have that little glass that goes across your heart when you think about it ... but it's not like that. It's a cool relationship right now."

After successfully downplaying the much publicized romance rumours, Aguilera tackles the question that very young pop fans want to know: Are

Aguilera and Britney Spears, who were in the Mickey Mouse Club together, friends or competitors?

"I have not been able to talk to Britney at length since we were best friends on the Mickey Mouse Club," she says. "I miss her a lot. I think she's a really sweet girl who's really talented. When we cross paths we definitely say 'hey'. I miss the girl. Someone did my make-up for the July issue of Rolling Stone and the guy was going to see Britney in a week and I told him to give her my phone number, so I gave it. We'll see if she calls. There's no hard feelings or competition like everybody thinks there is."

The words are barely out of Aguilera's mouth before she's whisked away to her next interview. Stifling a cough and taking a deep breath, she readies herself for more questions. This is Aguilera's life, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Note: On Wednesday, Aguilera will hold a press conference in Toronto and then join MuchMusic for an Intimate and Interactive session.



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