Christina María Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American singer and actress. Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in Rochester and Wexford, Pennsylvania, she appeared on television series Star Search and The Mickey Mouse Club as a child. Aguilera rose to prominence with her self-titled debut album in 1999, which spawned three US number-one singles: "Genie in a Bottle", "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)". Her follow-up records, Mi Reflejo and My Kind of Christmas (2000), experienced moderate success worldwide. During the promotion of these albums, Aguilera's image was marketed as a bubblegum pop singer.Displeased with her lack of input in her image and music, Aguilera assumed creative control for her follow up album, Stripped (2002), which draws influences from many music genres including soul, hip hop, and rock. Aguilera's fifth studio album, Back to Basics (2006), incorporates elements of 1920s–1940s blues, soul, and jazz music. In 2010, Aguilera released her sixth studio album Bionic featuring elements from electronic genres and starred alongside Cher in the film Burlesque. Her seventh studio album, Lotus (2012), is primarily a pop album. Since 2011, Aguilera has served as a coach on US television series The Voice, having appeared on four of its five seasons. Besides her work in the entertainment industry, Aguilera was involved in charitable activities through human rights, world issues, and her work as a UN ambassador for the World Food Programme.Aguilera was established as a pop icon and has garnered honorific titles including "Princess of Pop". Her work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including four Grammy Awards, one Latin Grammy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. To date, Aguilera has sold 17.4 million albums in the United States, and 50 million records worldwide. Rolling Stone ranked her at number 58 on their list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, becoming the youngest singer to appear on the list. Billboard magazine recognized Aguilera as the 20th best-selling artist of the 2000s decade. She was one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2013.1980–98: Early life and career beginningsChristina María Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York on December 18, 1980 to US Army soldier Fausto Xavier Aguilera and violinist and pianist Shelly Loraine (née Fidler). Her father is an Ecuadorian, while her American mother has German, English, Irish, Scots-Irish, and French ancestries. Throughout her father's service in the Army, her family moved to various locations, including New Jersey, Texas, New York, and Japan. Her parents divorced when Aguilera was six years old. According to Aguilera and her mother, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive, while she used music as an escape from the abuses. Even though her father has made several attempts to reconnect with her, Aguilera ruled out any chance of a reunion. Her father even denied allegations, saying that "I never abused them in any way and they know that". Aguilera, her mother and her younger sister Rachel then lived at her grandmother's home in Rochester, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Pittsburgh. Her mother later remarried and changed her name.As a child, Aguilera aspired to be a singer. She was known locally as "the little girl with the big voice", singing in local talent shows and competitions. At the age of 8, Aguilera won her first talent show performing Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody". On March 15, 1990, she appeared on Star Search singing "A Sunday Kind of Love", but lost the competition at number 2. 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. Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, including during the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals. She attended Rochester Area School District and Marshall Middle School near Wexford. Her talent was kept a secret to avoid bullying from other children. Following her television appearances Aguilera experienced resentment and bullying including an incident in which her peers slashed the tires on her family's car. She attended North Allegheny Intermediate High School briefly until she was home schooled following several incidents. Aguilera recalls, "doing what I did and maybe being a little smaller, I was definitely picked on and bullied for the attention that I got. It was definitely unwanted attention and there was a lot of unfairness about it."In 1991, Aguilera auditioned for a role on The Mickey Mouse Club; however, she did not meet the age requirements. Two years later, she joined the cast, performing musical numbers and sketch comedy, until the show's cancellation in 1994. Her co-stars included Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell where they nicknamed her "the Diva" for her performance style and voice. 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 international Golden Stag Festival with a two-song set. Aguilera entered talent contests on "teen night" at the Pegasus Lounge, a gay and lesbian nightclub in Pittsburgh. In 1998, Aguilera sent in a demo of her cover of Whitney Houston's "Run to You" to Disney, who were looking for a singer to record the song "Reflection" for their animated feature film Mulan (1998). The demo caught the attention of producer and label executive Ron Fair, who would later mentor her throughout her career and led to Aguilera earning a contract with RCA Records the same week. "Reflection" peaked within the top twenty on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.1999–2001: Christina Aguilera, Mi Reflejo, and new managementAguilera's self-titled debut album was released on August 24, 1999. It was met with a favorable critical response, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic opining that the album "remains firmly within the teen-oriented dance-pop genre, but done right" and was "lightweight in the best possible sense – breezy, fun, engaging, and enjoyable on each repeated listen." It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and Canadian Albums Chart; it went on to ship eight million copies in the United States and over seventeen million copies worldwide. The album is included in the Top 100 Albums of All Time list of The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) based on US sales. Aguilera's debut single, "Genie in a Bottle", was an international success, reaching number one of the US Billboard Hot 100 and several countries worldwide. It became the top-selling debut single of 1999, selling over 1.4 million units in the United States. Follow-up singles "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" also topped the Hot 100 during 1999 and 2000, while "I Turn to You" reached number three. Consequentially, Aguilera became one of few artists to have multiple number one successes from a debut album in Billboard history. Additionally, "What a Girl Wants" was the first number one hit of the millennium. Aguilera appeared at 1999's Lilith Fair and performed during the Super Bowl XXXIV halftime show alongside Enrique Iglesias. In an effort to display the range of her voice, Aguilera performed piano-accompanied sets on television shows and private concerts. At the 2000 Grammy Awards, Aguilera won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.On September 12, 2000, Aguilera released her second album and first Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo, containing five Spanish versions of songs from her previous album and new Spanish material. According to producer Rudy Pérez, with whom Aguilera recorded the album in Miami, Aguilera was only semi-fluent while recording, but understood the language, having grown up with her Ecuadorian father. The album peaked at number twenty-seven on the Billboard 200 and topped the Billboard Latin charts for a record nineteen weeks, making her the highest female debut of all time. Additionally, it made Aguilera the only artist in history to have back-to-back number one debuts with an English language album followed by a Spanish language album. The album sold over 3 million copies worldwide, and was certified 6× Platinum (Latin field) in the United States selling over 480,000 copies. Aguilera won the World Music Award and Billboard award as the best selling Latin artist that year. In 2001, it won Aguilera a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album. She also released a Christmas album, My Kind of Christmas, on October 24, 2000, and performed its only single, "The Christmas Song", at the White House that year. The song made Aguilera one of three artists to take the song into the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified platinum in the United States and sold over 3 million copies worldwide. Her first concert tour, Christina Aguilera in Concert, began in the summer of 2000 in the United States and ended in early 2001, when she toured South America and Asia. An ABC concert special, My Reflection, was released to DVD and certified Gold in the United States. Aguilera was Billboard's top selling female artist of 2000.Ricky Martin asked Aguilera to duet with him on "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" from his album Sound Loaded, released in 2001 as the album's second single. The song reached number thirteen in the United States. In 2001, Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink remade Labelle's 1975 single "Lady Marmalade" for the film Moulin Rouge! and its accompanying soundtrack. The song ultimately peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and became the first airplay-only track in history to stay number one for more than one week. It was the year's top selling single worldwide, reaching number one in eleven other countries with over 5.2 million copies sold making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. "Lady Marmalade" earned all four performers a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The video won two MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year in 2001. Later in 2001, "Just Be Free", a song from one of Aguilera's demos recorded when she was fifteen years old, appeared in record stores. When RCA Records discovered the single, they advised fans not to purchase it. Months later, Warlock Records was set to release Just Be Free, an album containing demo material. Aguilera filed a breach of contract and unfair competition suit against Warlock and the album's producers to block the release. The two parties came to a confidential settlement to release the album, where Aguilera lent out her name, likeness, and image for an unspecified amount of damages.Despite her international success, Aguilera was dissatisfied with the music and image her management had created for her, having been marketed as a bubblegum pop singer because of the genre's upward financial trend. She mentioned plans for her next album to have more musical and lyrical depth. Aguilera's views of Steve Kurtz's influence in matters of her creative direction, the role of being her exclusive personal manager, and over-scheduling had in part caused her to seek legal means of terminating their management contract. In October 2000, Aguilera filed a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against her manager Kurtz for improper, undue and inappropriate influence over her professional activities, as well as fraud. According to legal documents, Kurtz did not protect her rights and interests. Instead, he took action that was for his own interest, at the cost of hers. She petitioned the California State Labor Commission to nullify the contract. Aguilera revealed while recording her then upcoming album, "I was being overworked. You find out that someone you thought was a friend is stealing money behind your back, and it's heartbreaking. I put faith in the people around me, and unfortunately, it bit me in the butt." After terminating Kurtz's services, Irving Azoff was hired as her new manager.2002–05: Stripped, new image, and marriageHaving signed a global music publishing contract with Bertelsmann Music Group, Aguilera co-wrote much of the material for her fourth studio album, Stripped, released on October 25, 2002. It debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 330,000 copies. During production of the album, she strayed from the teen pop styles of her earlier projects, and instead drew inspiration from R&B, soul, pop rock and hip hop. The album was produced primarily by Scott Storch and singer-songwriter Linda Perry. Aguilera co-wrote and partially finished "Miss Independent" for the record, though it later became the debut single by Kelly Clarkson. Aguilera cultivated an increasingly provocative image while promoting the record, during which time she adopted the nickname "Xtina", dyed her hair black, and got several tattoos and piercings. After appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone dressed in only boots and an electric guitar, Aguilera claimed that her new persona better reflected her personality than the previous image she felt forced into by RCA Records.Aguilera initially generated much controversy over her new persona, notably upon the release of her music video for Stripped's lead single "Dirrty". Aguilera maintained that the clip was about being "in the power position, in complete command of everything around me." The single itself peaked at number 48 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, but charted stronger in international territories. The second single, pop ballad "Beautiful", received critical acclaim from music critics. It reached number one in several countries and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The song earned Aguilera the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The album was later supported by the follow-up singles "Fighter", "Can't Hold Us Down", and "The Voice Within" over the following two years. Stripped was certified quadruple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and moved over ten million copies sold worldwide. Aguilera became the top-selling female artist in 2003, while the album appeared at number ten on the Billboard 200 year-end chart that year.In June 2003, Aguilera joined Justin Timberlake on their co-headlining Justified and Stripped Tour. She then continued touring internationally with The Stripped Tour, which grossed $75 million by its conclusion. Aguilera later hosted both the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards and an episode of Saturday Night Live. During the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City, Aguilera and Britney Spears garnered significant media attention after kissing Madonna during her performance that evening. Later that year, Aguilera was featured on the cover of Maxim, which became its best-selling issue with 2.8 million copies, and topped the magazine's Hot 100 list.As Aguilera began work on her follow-up album in late 2004, she decided to embrace a mature image inspired by Marilyn Monroe, commenting that she "wanted to capture the authenticity of the Old Hollywood glam era." She, along with Ashley Judd, Gwen Stefani and Dita Von Teese, is credited with reviving the 1920s–40s Hollywood glamour style. Towards the end of the year, she recorded the jingle "Hello (Follow Your Own Star)" for a Mercedes-Benz advertisement, and released a remake of the Rose Royce disco song "Car Wash" with Missy Elliott for the animated film Shark Tale. Aguilera was also featured in "Tilt Ya Head Back" by Nelly and "Somos Novios" by Andrea Bocelli. A cover version of Leon Russell's "A Song for You" with Herbie Hancock earned her a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2006 ceremony. She performed "When You Wish upon a Star" during the Happiest Homecoming on Earth for the Disneyland Park, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary since its opening. Having began dating in 2002, Aguilera became engaged to music marketing executive Jordan Bratman in February 2005; the couple married on November 19, 2005, at an estate in Napa County, California.2006–09: Back to Basics, motherhood, and hiatusAguilera described her fifth studio album, the double album Back to Basics, as "a throwback to the 20s, 30s, and 40s-style jazz, blues, and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist." Aguilera continued to collaborate with Linda Perry, and enlisted new partners including DJ Premier, Kwamé, and Mark Ronson. The album was released on August 11, 2006, and was met with generally favorable reviews from music critics; Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic described Aguilera's previous image as a "necessary artistic move" that allowed her to "create her own style, one that is self-consciously stylized, stylish, and sexy." However, Jenny Eliscu from Rolling Stone felt that a two-disc release was unneeded, suggesting that a single disc "would have been nothing short of masterful." It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 346,000 copies. It has since sold 4.5 million units worldwide, with over 1.7 million sold in the United States."Ain't No Other Man" was serviced as the lead single from Back to Basics, and was met with general acclaim. It peaked at number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the UK Singles Chart. The track won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2007 ceremony, where Aguilera also delivered a noteworthy rendition of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" in tribute of its artist James Brown. The follow-up singles "Hurt", "Candyman", and "Oh Mother" enjoyed success in several countries. Aguilera co-directed the music videos for "Hurt" and "Candyman" with Floria Sigismondi and Matthew Rolston, respectively. In 2006, she began her Back to Basics Tour in support of the record, during which she visited Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. The tour included cabaret, three-ring circus and juke joint sets and 10 piece costumes designed by Roberto Cavalli, and was released to DVD as Back to Basics: Live and Down Under in 2007. In total, the tour grossed an approximate $90 million, becoming the most successful American tour by a female that year. During this time, Aguilera was featured on the track "Tell Me" by Diddy. She was named the 19th richest woman in entertainment by Forbes, with a net worth of $60 million. Aguilera performed "Steppin' Out with My Baby" with Tony Bennett on the television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, Saturday Night Live, and during the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. Their collaboration was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2008 ceremony. Aguilera gave birth to her son, Max Liron Bratman, on January 12, 2008.In 2008, Aguilera appeared in the Martin Scorsese documentary Shine a Light which chronicles a two-day Rolling Stones concert in New York City's Beacon Theatre. The film features Aguilera performing "Live with Me" alongside Mick Jagger. She also had a brief cameo in the comedy film Get Him to the Greek, and appeared as a guest judge on the sixth season of Project Runway on Lifetime. She and designer Bob Mackie were the inspiration for the challenge in which they had to design a stage outfit for Aguilera. To commemorate Aguilera's ten years in the music industry, RCA Records released Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits on November 11, 2008. The greatest hits included her first three number one singles, and other songs released from her previous three albums. "Lady Marmalade" and several Spanish singles from Mi Reflejo were included in the worldwide releases. The album's only single, "Keeps Gettin' Better", debuted and peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, her highest debut on the chart. Following the greatest hits, Aguilera took over a year hiatus in 2009 to work on her then-upcoming album and film. She was one of Billboard's Top 20 Artists of the Decade in their year-end charts.2010–11: Bionic, Burlesque, divorce, and The VoiceAguilera's sixth studio album, Bionic, was released on June 8, 2010. Aguilera collaborated with producers including Tricky Stewart and Ester Dean, and songwriters Linda Perry and Sia Furler among other artists. Its material consisted primarily of mainstream pop records, and was influenced by electronic and dance music. The album's singles, "Not Myself Tonight" and "You Lost Me" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Charts but were unsuccessful elsewhere. Bionic marked her foray into the electropop genre, and received mixed reviews from critics. Allison Stewart of The Washington Post described the disc's "greatest disappointments" is its "virtual abandonment" of Aguilera's voice. She concluded that Aguilera attempts "to do it all, in her newfound domesticity, to wrest her crown from Gaga and reestablish her sex kitten bona fides." Sales of Bionic were underwhelming in the United States compared to her previous releases, selling 110,000 copies in its first week and landing at number three. It has since sold 330,000 copies in the United States. Shortly after the album's release, further promotion ended and a scheduled summer tour for the album was canceled due to "inadequate rehearsal time".In November 2010, Aguilera appeared in her first feature film, the musical Burlesque and received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Aguilera portrayed a small town girl, Ali Rose, who finds love and success in a Los Angeles neo-burlesque club. The film was written and directed by Steve Antin who wrote the part of Ali specifically with Aguilera in mind. Aguilera performed eight of the musical numbers on the film's soundtrack released on November 22, 2010, and co-wrote a number of the tracks working with producers and writers including Tricky Stewart, Sia Furler, Samuel Dixon, Linda Perry, Claude Kelly, Danja, and Ron Fair. The remaining two tracks were sung by Cher, who co-starred alongside Aguilera. The soundtrack debuted in the top 20 and was certified Gold selling over 660,000 copies in the United States. Aguilera's co-stars also included Cam Gigandet, Eric Dane, Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci. Several critics praised Aguilera's performance. A review in Time states, "Aguilera might not be to your taste, but in terms of sheer power, she's impressive. If Ali were real, she'd have already been discovered on American Idol." While Variety wrote, "Aguilera, while undeniably entertaining when her character is onstage, cannot spin the slight backstory into anything resembling a full-blooded person." Though Burlesque was released to mixed reviews from critics, the film received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and earned Aguilera, writer/producer Sia Furler and Samuel Dixon, a nomination for Best Original Song for the track "Bound to You". The soundtrack also earned Aguilera a Grammy nomination for Best Compilation Soundtrack. Burlesque grossed $90 million worldwide.Aguilera collaborated with rapper T.I. on the track "Castle Walls" from his album No Mercy and appeared as herself on an episode of Entourage. Having separated in September, Aguilera filed for divorce from Bratman in October 2010, requesting joint legal and physical custody of their son. After reaching a private settlement and custody deal, their divorce was finalized the following April. Her appearance and personal life were the subject of scrutiny; with reports over out of control behavior and excessive drinking. On March 1, 2011, Aguilera was arrested for public intoxication in West Hollywood. She was later released on bail and no charges were filed. During Super Bowl XLV, Aguilera performed the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", and accidentally omitted a line of the anthem. She later apologized saying, "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through." The following week, Aguilera, alongside Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams, and Florence Welch opened the 2011 Grammy Awards paying tribute to Aretha Franklin.Aguilera, alongside fellow musicians Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and CeeLo Green, signed on to be coaches on the American version of The Voice. Its first season premiered on April 26, 2011 on NBC, and proved successful for the network. Aguilera was later featured on the track "Moves like Jagger" by Maroon 5, which they performed on the series. It became her fifth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song sold over 14 million copies worldwide, establishing itself among the best-selling singles of all time. "Moves like Jagger" marks the first time two former Best New Artist Grammy Award winners have collaborated on a Hot 100 hit. It was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2012 Grammy Awards.2012–present: Lotus and other projectsDuring production of her seventh studio album, Lotus, Aguilera collaborated with producers including Alex da Kid, Max Martin, Lucas Secon, Steve Robson, and Shellback, who expanded upon the electropop influence first seen in Bionic. It was released on November 13, 2012, and received mixed reviews from critics. MTV News commented that Lotus "wasn't a triumphant comeback album", adding that it was intended to "signify her return to prominence, a high-powered collection of songs penned by the biggest hitmakers in the business". The New York Times called the album's direction its "biggest crime, more than its musical unadventurousness or its emphasis on bland self-help lyrics or its reluctance to lean on Ms. Aguilera’s voice." The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 selling just under on 73,000 copies, making it her lowest first-week sales in the United States and was less successful worldwide. Lotus has since sold 240,000 copies in the United States making it her lowest selling album to date. The lead single, "Your Body", debuted and peaked at number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a moderate hit worldwide. "Just a Fool", a country pop duet with Blake Shelton, was released as the second single from the album.At the 2012 ALMA Awards, Aguilera was honored with a Special Achievement Award for her career and charity work. She also recorded her first Spanish-language track in over a decade titled "Casa de Mi Padre", which was released as the title song for the soundtrack and film of the same name. Aguilera collaborated with Cee Lo Green on the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" from his album Cee Lo's Magic Moment, and with rapper Pitbull on the track "Feel This Moment" from his album Global Warming. "Feel This Moment" reached the top ten in several countries and peaked at number eight in United States, selling over 2 million copies. Aguilera collaborated with Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández on a cover of the song "Hoy Tengo Ganas de Ti", released as the theme song for the soap opera La Tempestad. Upon the conclusion of the third season of The Voice in December 2012, Aguilera looked to promote Lotus and returned for the fifth season in September 2013. During production of the fifth season, Aguilera appeared on the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on the track "We Remain". Aguilera collaborated with A Great Big World on the track "Say Something", having heard their original solo version earlier that year. The song was re-recorded with Aguilera's vocals and released as the lead single for their debut album, Is There Anybody Out There? "Say Something" peaked at number four, becoming Aguilera's eleventh top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Aguilera later collaborated with Lady Gaga on the remix for her single "Do What U Want" (2013), which was released in January 2014.In early 2014, Aguilera announced her engagement to musician and film producer Matthew Rutler, whom she began dating in late 2010 after meeting on the set of Burlesque. Several days later, it was announced that Aguilera and Rutler are expecting a baby. On March 28, 2014, Aguilera will hold a free concert at the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Vocal abilityAguilera, a spinto soprano, has been referred to as the "Voice of her Generation", a blue-eyed soul singer and one of the greatest singers of all time. She possesses a four octave vocal range and a whistle register. Aguilera also topped Cove's list of the 100 Best Pop Vocalists with a score of 50/50, and came fifth in MTV's 22 Greatest Voices in Music. Her rendition of "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" at the 2007 Grammy Awards ranked third in the Grammy's Greatest Moments List behind Celine Dion's performance of "My Heart Will Go On" and Green Day's performance of "American Idiot". In an interview, Dion described Aguilera as "probably the best vocalist in the world." Dion wrote an article on Aguilera for Time magazine's 2013 list of their 100 Most Influential People in World, saying, "The first time I heard Christina sing, I was totally blown away. Her voice has got so much power, yet so much sensitivity and technically, I think, she’s flawless." Aguilera's distinct style of singing has been praised by critics and noted as influential. Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker writes, "Aguilera doesn't need to reincarnate Sarah Vaughan to be a serious singer. She already is one, in the tradition of nineteen-nineties pop and R&B, skillfully deploying melisma for razzle-dazzle, riding the bouncy syncopation of samples with the coordination of a rapper, and timing the phrases to imply her athletic dance moves". Vocal coach Cari Cole, called Aguilera the "Queen of riffing", adding that her vocals are rooted in soul music. The People's Choice Awards honored Aguilera with the People's Voice award, recognizing her vocals and "ability to reach millions of people across a number of genres including pop, soul and R&B". Rolling Stone ranked Aguilera at number 58 as their 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, the youngest singer on the list.Since her debut in 1999, Aguilera has been compared to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. David Browne of The New York Times writes, "Aguilera has been one of the foremost practitioners of the overpowering, Category 5 vocal style known as melisma. Ms. Carey, Ms. Houston and Ms. Aguilera, to name its three main champions, are most associated with the period from the late ’80s through the late ’90s." A review in the Los Angeles Times compared Aguilera's vocal style to Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, and Aretha Franklin adding, "Aguilera's Streisand-esque tendencies are a good thing; they're helping her figure out how to become the "great singer" she's been dubbed since she released her first single, the wise-beyond-its-years "Genie in a Bottle", at 18." Although praised for her vocals, Aguilera has been criticized for oversinging in her songs and concerts. The Huffington Post named Aguilera a main proponent for "oversouling", described as the "gratuitous and confected melisma." The term was coined by producer Jerry Wexler who said, "I have found that flagrantly artificial attempts at melisma are either a substitute for real fire and passion or a cover-up for not knowing the melody." The majority of Aguilera's songs are characterized by her loud vocals, though she has used breathy and soft vocals. Longtime producer and writer, Linda Perry, commented on working on the track "Beautiful", saying, "I tried to keep it straight. I told her to get rid of the finger waves. Every time she'd start going into "hoo-ha", I'd stop the tape. I'm like, 'You're doing it again.'" Perry ended up using the first take saying, "She had a hard time accepting that as the final track. It's not a perfect vocal – it's very raw. She knows her voice really well, and she knows what's going on. She can hear things that nobody else would catch." Aguilera co-wrote "Sing For Me" from her album Lotus, a response to critics who labeled her for oversinging. In the song, Aguilera explains why she sings the way she does, saying "I don’t even care what the world thinks about how I sound." She admits to oversinging in her early years adding, "Before, to make up for the kind of music I didn't want to be doing, I would over-riff, to prove that I have talent. It was too much".Themes and musical styleThe constant theme in Aguilera's music and lyrics is love, although she has written on other subjects including spirituality, motherhood, and grief. Aguilera has also written about her childhood in two of her records which dealt with domestic abuse. Aguilera admits she feels responsible to reveal her most vulnerable feelings and to share the darker sides of her life, adding that "people that can relate might not feel as alone in the circumstance." Originally marketed as a teen pop singer during the late 1990s, Aguilera received commercial success but was displeased with her debut album's musical content. She wrote the hook for "Genie in a Bottle", but did not receive a writing credit, and had no input during the album's production. Her fourth single, "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)", was re-recorded with elements of R&B and hip-hop from its original dance pop version. Aguilera was given credit writing the song's sexually suggestive "rap". Critics praised Aguilera's debut album out of her female contemporaries, David Plotz of Slate writes, "Though she also bares her midriff, Christina can afford a little restraint, because she is the real talent of the kid music scene. She has a huge voice and decent taste". Wanting to showcase her vocals, Aguilera went on a small venue tour performing acoustic sets for music critics and industry executives across the country. She turned down offers to tour with Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync in order to appear at 1999's Lilith Fair. After leaving her management, Aguilera took creative control of her music and lyrical content; departing into a broad range of musical genres for her follow-up album Stripped such as soul, pop rock, R&B, and hip-hop. After recording Stripped, Aguilera said, "You get signed to a label, people decide what you're going to be, but you're so excited to be doing it, period. Then you realize, 'Man, I don't know if this is what I really want.' Now I'm getting to do my own material and let people know that there's an artist behind the singer". A review in Billboard called the album a "creative breakthrough", and was noted as helping distance Aguilera from her then pop contemporaries. Jancee Dunn of Rolling Stone writes, "With its lack of gimmickry and a surplus of sweet Seventies soul, Stripped is almost an album for grown-ups." Aguilera co-wrote the majority of the songs on the album and released while the teen pop genre was still prominent on the charts. Music industry executive Clive Davis has praised Aguilera saying, "She has turned into one of today's most cutting-edge artists. She brings a whole fresh look to Top 40 and expands the horizon of what a pop artist can do. Everything from the video to the performance is coming from her."Aguilera has often said that she prefers working with producers that are not in popular demand, saying "I don't necessarily go to the main people that are the No.1 chart-toppers in music." Her 2006 release, Back to Basics included producer DJ Premier. The New York Times exclaims, "Her decision to work with the low-key DJ Premier was also a decision to snub some of the big-name producers on whom pop stars often rely." The album included live instrumentation and samples of past jazz and soul records. Some tracks on the album included non-traditional forms of pop music such as swing jazz and big band, drawing comparisons to Madonna's I'm Breathless and the musical film Cabaret. Her first feature film, Burlesque, influenced by Cabaret, featured several established songs that were updated and worked into dance numbers, a style similar to 2001's Moulin Rouge!. The film included renditions of "A Guy What Takes His Time" introduced by Mae West in 1933 and featured Marilyn Monroe's performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Aguilera was the soundtrack's executive producer working with well-known producers Tricky Stewart and Danja. Critics praised the soundtrack and compared the film's music to her previous album Back to Basics. The albums, Bionic and Lotus, featured mainstream producers including Shellback and Max Martin. On working with Martin, Aguilera added, "He's known about me but we haven't crossed paths. Those records were the kind I wanted to stray apart from. If you look at what I did in the past (after my debut), I always try to do things that will challenge me and challenge the listener, too. Could this have worked 10 years ago? I'm not sure. It's taken us a decade in the same business for us to come together, respect each other's work ethic and how we like to be heard and making a marriage out of it." Both albums received mixed reviews. MTV writes, "Aguilera is no longer a pop star; she's a niche artist. As far as niche artists go, Aguilera's got it pretty good. It's time for her to stop trying to compete with her contemporaries and embrace the uniqueness of her situation." A review in The Tampa Bay Times adds, "Aguilera is too talented, and hopefully too smart, to continue down this wasteful path. And yet, it's troubling that she wants to compete with the unworthy Ke$has of the world. Drop the grudges and the desperate party cuts, Christina, and let's get back to basics."Female empowerment is a constant theme in Aguilera's music. The fourth single from Stripped, "Can't Hold Us Down", was written as a female anthem referencing the double standards placed upon women. The Guardian states that the track, "rewrites feminism to a hip-hop beat." Coincidentally, the music video was censored by MTV and other networks for being sexually suggestive. Aguilera responded saying, "It's funny. There are all those hip-hop videos where women are objectified, but when a woman does it, it's a shock." Aguilera has used themes of sexuality in her music, in which she says, "I feel sexuality to be very empowering. Men love to believe that they own our sexuality, but men don't. If I want to be sexual, it's for my own appreciation and enjoyment. That's why I like to talk about the fact that sometimes I am attracted to women. I appreciate their femininity and beauty." Though Aguilera doesn't consider her music to be focused on feminism adding that she's fighting for, "women's rights in the sense that we shouldn't be ashamed of ourselves or our bodies." The song "I Hate Boys", released from Bionic, is considered a male-bashing anthem. The Guardian describes Bionic as a "post-feminist party album", adding, "she incites more of a sisterly spirit of collaboration, including riot grrrl feminists Le Tigre. Aguilera's not shy of the odd feministic declaration herself." She has often mixed R&B and pop resulting in her own musical style. New York Post writer Dan Aquilante, credits Aguilera's signature sound adding that it's a, "crisp and unique R&B styling." Aguilera co-wrote "Miss Independent" for Stripped, and was scrapped and later recorded by Kelly Clarkson as the lead single for her debut album, Thankful. Clarkson noted Aguilera's style in the song adding, "You can hear a lot of her influence, especially the hook. And once you hear the song, it's constantly in your head." Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times writes, "More than any other mainstream pop artist of her generation, Aguilera cares about her cultural progenitors, not only music genres such as blues and soul, but also visual motifs. It's one successful trick she's picked up from Madonna: Instead of merely trading in moves now recognized as hot or cute, she presents her own performance as a sex symbol within hallowed traditions of female spectacle."InfluencesAguilera's major influence and idol is blues singer Etta James, whose classic song "At Last" has been covered by Aguilera throughout her career. Aguilera says, "Etta is my all-time favorite singer. I've said it for the last seven years – since I had my first debut record out – in every interview. I mean, all of Etta's old songs, countless songs I could name, I grew up listening to." Following James' death in 2012, Aguilera was asked to perform "At Last" at her funeral. Prior to performing Aguilera stated, "There's a line in this song that says 'I found a dream that I could speak to.' And for me that dream, all my life, has been Etta James." The two met in 2006 during an article and interview with InStyle, in which James said to Aguilera, "It's like you were here many years ago. You don't look exactly like them, but there's something about you that's like Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, those kinds of chicks. I've never seen a girl sing as tough as you sing. It's like you're an old soul." The majority of her album, Back to Basics, pays tribute to James and other pop standard singers who many originated from the 1950s. In her early years she listened to vintage jazz, blues, and soul music. The album includes the song, "Slow Down Baby", which sampled a Gladys Knight & the Pips song. A review in The Guardian declared, "Practically everything recorded before Aguilera was born blurs into one amorphous genre, which she categorises, somewhat inadequately, as 'fun music'".Aguilera has also mentioned Whitney Houston as another major influence, having performed many of her songs in her early years during talent shows and adopting her vocal style. Critics have noted Houston's influence on Aguilera comparing her tone and style of singing to Houston's. Aguilera paid tribute to Houston performing "Run to You" during the 2001 BET Awards. The track was sung by Aguilera and submitted to RCA Records in 1998, which eventually helped in earning her recording contract. Aguilera said early in her career that Mariah Carey was another influence. According to author Pier Dominguez, Aguilera stated that it was Carey and her debut single, "Vision of Love", who had the biggest influence on her vocal style. Aguilera has also named Madonna and Janet Jackson as two of her biggest influences "for being re-inventive and being brave as strong females, to explore whatever, even if they do get bad press. It's just like they were fearless." Her other musical influences include Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone.Aguilera cites the musical The Sound of Music and its lead actress, Julie Andrews as her first inspiration for singing and performing. At the age of six, the film helped Aguilera cope with her violent childhood adding, "Bad things happened in my home; there was violence. The Sound of Music looked like a form of release. I would open my bedroom window to sing out like Maria. In my own way, I’d be in those hills." Aguilera performed the film's song, "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", during her concert special, My Reflection. She mentioned the "Golden age of Hollywood" as another inspiration in which she says, "I'm referencing Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, Veronica Lake". Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located near that of Julie Andrews and is next to Greta Garbo's. In her music video for "Ain't No Other Man" she plays her alter ego, "Baby Jane" in reference to the film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. The film's stars included actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The third single from Back to Basics, "Candyman", was inspired by pin-up girls, paintings by Alberto Vargas, and the 1941 song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by The Andrews Sisters. Aguilera has expressed interest in cultural icons Nico, Blondie and artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. She has often worked with photographer and close friend, David LaChapelle who once worked with Warhol. Chapelle has shot many of Aguilera's music videos, magazine shoots and advertisements. She is also a fan of graffiti artists Banksy and D*Face. In 2006, she purchased three of Banksy's works during a private art exhibition; one of them included a pornographic picture of Queen Victoria in a lesbian pose with a prostitute. She has mentioned in several interviews that she is a fan of actress Angelina Jolie, Lucille Ball; and her Burlesque co-star, Cher. Fashion has also been a part of Aguilera's music career and image, which she has used as a form of expression during performances and music videos. In 2003, she became the muse and inspiration for Donatella Versace's 2003 fall line. Versace also designed pieces for her tour the following year. Aguilera is also a fan of Roberto Cavalli, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen, whose designs she has worn throughout her career.PhilanthropyAguilera has been involved with numerous charities throughout her career. In 2001, she signed a letter from PETA to the South Korean government asking that the country stop its alleged killing of dogs for food. During her Back to Basics Tour in 2007, Aguilera wore a stole designed by Roberto Cavalli, unaware that it was made of fur. After receiving a video about the treatment of foxes from PETA vice president Dan Mathews, she replaced the stole with synthetic fur for the remainder of the tour, adding "I only ever wear fake fur". In 2010, Aguilera auctioned tickets for her planned tour for Christie's A Bid to Save the Earth; proceeds benefited the nonprofit environmental groups Conservation International, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, and The Central Park Conservancy. Aguilera also supports Defenders of Wildlife, Missing Kids, National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, Women's Cancer Research Fund, and Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Research Institute. She has also worked alongside nonprofit organization Do Something saying, "Every individual has the power to inspire young people across the country." In 2010, Aguilera was nominated for a VH1 Do Something Award for her work with the organization and her efforts in the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Aguilera is still a major contributor in her hometown of Pittsburgh contributing regularly to the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. She toured the center and donated $200,000 to the shelter. She has continued her donations and plans to open an additional one. Aguilera also supports the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Refuge UK. Since then she has worked with Lifetime Television's 'End violence against women' campaign.Regarded as a gay icon, Aguilera was honored at the GLAAD Awards for using gay and transgender images in her music video for "Beautiful". When accepting the award Aguilera said, "My video captures the reality that gay and transgender people are beautiful, even though prejudice and discrimination against them still exists." In 2005, she appeared on a compilation album, Love Rocks, proceeds benefit the Human Rights Campaign. She spoke out against California's California Proposition 8 which eliminates same-sex marriage in California saying, "Why you would put so much money behind something [aimed at\] stopping people from loving each other and bonding together? It's hard for me to grasp. But I would've been out there with my rally sign as well." In 2011, Aguilera was honored at The Abbey, a gay club in West Hollywood, for her contributions to the gay community as the first honoree on their Gay Walk of Fame. Aguilera contributes in the fight against AIDS, by participating in AIDS Project Los Angeles' Artists Against AIDS "What's Going On?" cover project. In 2004, Aguilera became the new face for cosmetic company M•A•C and spokesperson for M•A•C AIDS Fund. Singer Elton John featured Aguilera in his charity book titled 4 Inches benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation. John also picked Aguilera, for his annual "Fashion Rocks" charity concert which accompanies music and fashion to benefit the fight against AIDS/HIV.In the run-up to the 2004 United States presidential election, Aguilera was featured on billboards for the "Only You Can Silence Yourself" online voter registration drive run by the nonpartisan, non-profit campaign "Declare Yourself". In these political advertisements, shot by David LaChapelle, Aguilera was shown with her mouth sewn shut to symbolize the effects of not voting. In late 2007, Aguilera became the spokesperson for "Rock the Vote" where she urged young people to vote in the 2008 presidential election. In partnership with "Rock the Vote", she appeared in a public service announcement which aired in mid-2008. The advert showed Aguilera with her son, Max Bratman, wrapped in an American flag, while singing "America the Beautiful". In November 2005, all of her wedding gifts were submitted to various charities around the nation in support of Hurricane Katrina victims. That year she also performed at "Unite of the Stars" concert in aid of Unite Against Hunger in Johannesburg, South Africa and at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund at the Coca-Cola Dome. Aguilera took part in a charity album (remaking Lennon's "Mother"), proceeds benefit Amnesty International's efforts to end genocide in Darfur. The album, Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, was released June 12, 2007, and featured various artists. In 2008, she headlined London's Africa Rising charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which raises awareness for finding substantial issues facing the continent. Later that year she appeared on the Turkish version of Deal or No Deal, Var misin? Yok musun?, where proceeds were donated to a charity program for orphans.In 2009, Aguilera became the global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief appearing in advertisements, online campaigns and a public service announcement. Aguilera and her then-husband traveled to Guatemala with the World Food Programme to bring awareness to issues such as the high malnutrition rate in that country. She met with families of the villages and some of the beneficiaries of WFP's nutrition programs. Since becoming a global spokeswoman Aguilera has helped raise over $148 million for WFP and other hunger relief agencies in 45 countries. She was honored at Variety's annual "Power of Women" luncheon in 2009 alongside other women in entertainment for her contribution to philanthropic and charitable causes. In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Aguilera donated a signed Chrysler 300 which was auctioned for relief efforts. She was one of the many artists who appeared on the Hope for Haiti telethon on January 22, 2010, donations directly benefited Oxfam America, Partners In Health, Red Cross and UNICEF. She later appeared on a second public service announcement alongside former boxer Muhammad Ali to raise funds for the World Food Programme's efforts to bring food to survivors of the earthquake. Later that year Aguilera made her first visit to Haiti as an ambassador against hunger where she visited two schools in the town of Léogâne. During her time there she assisted in the ongoing efforts to help the badly damaged town where she served meals and highlighted reconstruction efforts in the country. That year, Aguilera was appointed UN ambassador for the WFP. At the 2012 ALMA Awards, Aguilera was awarded the Special Achievement Award for her career and humanitarian efforts. Also that year, Hillary Clinton awarded Aguilera the George McGovern Leadership Award, making her the first singer to receive the award. Following Hurricane Sandy, Aguilera performed "Beautiful" to open the Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together benefit telethon. She introduced the song by saying that she had been born in the devastated borough of Staten Island; all proceeds went to the American Red Cross. In 2013, Aguilera visited Rwanda, toured several Congolese refugee camps with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and released a public service announcement with the World Food Programme. Aguilera was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award.Product and endorsementsIn 2000, Aguilera was the face for make-up line Fetish, where she worked in choosing colors and packaging for the line; she ended her contract the following year. Throughout her career, Aguilera has endorsed several brands, including Skechers, Mercedes-Benz, Verizon Wireless, Versace, and soft drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi in 2001 and 2006, respectively. In 2004, Aguilera earned £200,000 (about $300,000) for opening the summer sale at London's Harrods store and appeared in an advertisement for MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam V campaign. In 2005, she was reportedly paid $3.6 million to sing a three song set for Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko's wedding. Aguilera signed a contract with European cell phone operator Orange to promote the new Sony Ericsson Walkman phone during the 2006 World Cup. Following the birth of her son in 2008, she was reportedly paid $1.5 million by People for his baby pictures, becoming the ninth most expensive celebrity baby photographs ever taken. In 2010, Aguilera was paid $1 million by investor Charles Brandes to perform at a private party. In 2011, she was paid €2.4 million (around $3.2 million) by a Spanish multi-millionaire for a private four song concert. In 2008, jewelry designer Stephen Webster and friend of Aguilera released "Shattered", a collection of sterling silver pieces, through Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Aguilera, who inspired the collection, was featured as a Hitchcock heroine. They reprised their work together for Webster's 2009 spring line. In 2011, Aguilera attended São Paulo Fashion Week to premiere her new line of clothing for Brazilian department store C&A, which launched in April.Aguilera released two fragrances throughout Europe; the first one, Xpose, was released in late 2004 and sold relatively well. Through Procter & Gamble, Aguilera released her signature fragrance, Simply Christina, in 2007. In Christmas 2007, the fragrance became the number one perfume in the United Kingdom, and later in 2009 it became the 4th best selling perfume in the United Kingdom, and Germany where it topped sales for the year. The perfume won as the people's choice for favorite celebrity fragrance at the annual UK Fifi Awards 2008. She released her third fragrance, Inspire, accompanied with a body care collection, on September 1, 2008. The perfume hit shelves in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Northern and Eastern Europe. It was Aguilera's first fragrance released outside of Europe. Her worldwide ad campaign included a television ad shot by David LaChapelle and was released in the United States through Macy's department stores. The release coincided with Macy's 150th anniversary which featured Aguilera in commemorative photos. She released her fourth fragrance, By Night, in October, which became the third best selling fragrance in the United Kingdom in 2009. Both “By Day“ and “By Night“ were nominated for Best Perfume of the Year at the FIFI Awards 2011. The range was further augmented by Royal Desire in 2010, Secret Potion in 2011, Red Sin in 2012, and Unforgettable in 2013. Since 2007, Aguilera's perfumes have earned several awards worldwide, making her the number one awarded celebrity brand.