Christina first began performing at age six in school talent shows. At age eight, she appeared on the nationally syndicated 'Star Search,' at ten she sang the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins, and then, at twelve, she joined the ensemble cast of 'The New Mickey Mouse Club,' appearing on the Orlando-based show along with future stars Britney Spears, J.C. and Justin of 'N Sync, and Keri Russell of 'Felicity.' After two years, the show ended and Christina got the opportunity to travel overseas to further hone her musical skills. In 1997, Christina performed in places as far flung as Tokyo, Japan and Brasov, Romania, but always with her eye on the same goal.
"I always wanted to have my own album recorded and released before I graduated high school," says Christina. She certainly took quick strides toward that goal. In early 1998, after finishing some demos and shopping for a record deal, Christina auditioned to sing "Reflection" for Disney's animated film "Mulan." The filmmakers needed someone "who could hit a high E above middle C," according to Christina, who then cut a one-take demo in her living room singing to a karaoke tape of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Run To You." The demo was rushed to Disney, and within a day, Christina was in a Los Angeles studio recording "Reflection." That same week, RCA Records signed her to a record contract. "Mulan" premiered in June 1998, and "Reflection" turned into a Top 15 A/C single, with Christina performing it live on 'CBS This Morning' and the 'Donnie & Marie Show.'
The single went on to garner a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture and Christina the attention of some of the best writers and producers in the industry. On her self-titled debut album for RCA, those writers and producers helped Christina showcase her special talents. "I was thrilled to work with so many great writers and producers on my album," says Christina. "What A Girl Wants" was produced by Guy Roche (Brandy, Cher, Dru Hill, Aaliya, K-Ci & Jo Jo), "Genie In A Bottle" was produced by ex-System member David Frank and Steve Kipner, and "Blessed" was penned and produced by Travon Potts (co-writer of Monica's chart topping "Angel of Mine"). Meanwhile, Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers ('N Sync, Boyzone, Brand New Heavies) contributed a pair of tracks, the soul-flavored "Love For All Seasons" and the rousing "Love Will Find A Way."
Christina is particularly proud of the album's ballads, such as the Matthew Wilder-produced "Reflection", and "Obvious" written by newcomer Heather Holly, and of course, master tunesmith Diane Warren's smash "I Turn To You." Christina Aguilera's breakthrough year began with her first #1 single "Genie In A Bottle," which stayed atop the charts for five consecutive weeks and rocketed the album to #1 upon its release in August 1999. The follow-up single "What A Girl Wants" reached the coveted first Billboard Hot 100 #1 slot of 2000 and helped to push the album into platinum territory six times over. What made all this commercial success so much sweeter, were Christina's two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal performance. In February 2000, Christina's incredible ride to the top reached new heights as Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge and Sara McLaughlan announced. ěthe Grammy for Best New Artist goes to - Christina Aguilera. "It was an incredible shock for me," Christina recalls of that amazing night.
"I was completely unprepared. My album had been out the least amount
of time compared to everyone else, so I thought there was no way I'd win.
But I was overwhelmed, shocked and overjoyed all at the same time." Indeed,
if "What A Girl Wants" is the first #1 hit and the first Best New Artist
Grammy of the millenium, Christina certainly wants no more.
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