That 20 years after her musical triumph, Christina Aguilera, 41, is still an international song diva is established. The situation becomes even clearer when, smiling and as nice as if nothing had happened, she arrives 45 minutes late for the telematic interview, whose time will be shortened to almost half of what was agreed. But with his good humor and a few laughs, he goes into the background. While the others show up with their homemade Zoom connections and white walls, Aguilera makes a star appearance: pristine video quality (looks more like a TV broadcast than a live connection from the other side of the world), ditto makeup, her hair blonde in the wind on a garden background and a whole speech of almost five minutes in which he reviews in an instant from how young he was when he started to the egos of the music industry or how his career and his perception of what is the success being a mother.
Aguilera connects to the interview from a sunny Los Angeles (California) to present her new work, Holy, a song that he just released with reggaeton singer Ozuna. It is part of his new album, entitled The force, with six songs. And yes, just like the one that sings with the Puerto Rican and as the title of the work indicates, all the songs are in Spanish. Something surprising for the New Yorker, because of her ten albums, the last (and only) in Spanish was My reflection, more than two decades ago, with recordings that were great hits. However, throughout the entire talk she is full of praise for Latin, from the people to the language or the way of working.
“This is an exciting time,” concedes the artist. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, after what an amazing experience it was to do My reflection more than 20 years ago, when I was baby cristina”, he laughs. “So to come back now as an adult woman makes me so excited.” The singer smiles again when she is reminded that not 20, but 22 years have passed since that container of Trapped genie, But I remember you The Come with me. “It’s amazing… I knew it was twenty-something, but I’m in shock“, recognize.
That experience, that of that second album that came only a few months after the success of his first self-titled album, changed his life. He recorded it in Miami, just like now The force. “It’s always amazing when I record in Spanish. It also happened with this project. I’m always surrounded by lyricists, musicians, producers… who are amazing. You work very well with them, they give each other a lot of love”, he reflects, assuming that creating music in English “is a little different”. “Or so I feel. Sometimes I get the feeling that there are more egos involved, things that happen… But in Latin music, also in this project, everyone is involved, excited, they love doing what they do. And that means a lot to me. Because, after all, music should be felt with the heart, nothing else”.
The Aguilera of today observes, precisely, the reflection of that other one. He likes the change, but he also appreciates everything he has experienced. “22 years ago I was a girl, I was very green in the industry, I was very new… and I was very busy,” she laughs again. “It’s really nice not to have that agenda nowadays. Setting limits takes time, and also making it clear that you need to have time for yourself, something that is very important”, she explains about the psychological journey that all that produced in her and that has brought her here. She, who started in the entertainment industry at the age of seven, has gone through all the phases. From being a Disney child superstar —along with Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling— to his almost adolescent success, his record changes (so much so that he decided for a while to call himself Xtina), his most transgressive stage, his return to a record classic, his immersion in the cinema —with Burlesque, along with Cher—, his many collaborations, some certainly successful, such as with Maroon 5 or Pitbull, or being a judge almost continuously for more than 12 years on the US version of The voice.
Now she returns to that Spanish with which she grew up at home (“until, like so many others who have experienced this situation, my parents divorced and I stopped listening to the language,” this daughter of an Ecuadorian father recalls naturally in the interview), remembering it thanks to the recording in Miami. “You go in there and dive in. It is a learning experience to return there for me too”, he acknowledges. “When I am surrounded by people who only speak Spanish, my brain clicks and it becomes something familiar, that I remember, it is comfortable for me. But it is something that you have to maintain with people who talk to you constantly, ”he says. She finds it fun and interesting that everyone has different conversations and speaks with different accents: “Sometimes there are words with which I don’t feel safe or that I don’t know, but in this life it’s never too late to learn, to grow and that It’s what makes this experience so great. It is a challenge, yes, but in the best possible way”.
In Miami, she has recorded with three twenty-something Latinas who are in their prime: the Argentinians Nathy Peluso and Nicki Nicole and the Californian with Mexican roots Becky G, whom she already knew from before, but with whom she has become even closer friends. He compliments them one by one. “It was the best week in the world. It’s been so much fun being with them. They are great women, very strong, it has been amazing to join forces and do what we love: music. We laughed all the time, we couldn’t keep the smile off our faces. Acting together has been very special, and the photo shoot together… we were doing magic,” she recalls. She, who has worked with hundreds of people over the years, knows what she is talking about. “Those are the moments that you remember forever, that you store, in any industry. Life is about experiences and doing what you love. And I really loved working with those girls.”
During the talk Aguilera mixes the personal with the professional; her life as a singer with that of a mother. She has two children, Max, 14 (from her marriage to music executive Jom Bratman, to whom she was married from 2005 to 2011), and Summer Rain, seven, with her current partner, musician Matt Rutler. That is why he is happy with everything he has done, and with how he has managed to get to this stage, with a lot of work but more slowly. “Seeing it from this perspective of an adult woman, having had that experience of more than 20 years in the industry, having had the career that I have, being a mother now… These are beautiful things that I can share with my children and teach them a little about who they are. , its history”, the artist reflects on all those experiences with My reflection and its Latin roots.
In fact, it is her children’s view of her that matters most to her. In December, she received an award that recognized her as an icon for becoming “the voice of a generation.” With only 41 years. “Well, today ‘icon’ is a very vague word, everyone is an icon”, he laughs, while assuring that it has been a “wonderful” recognition. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of pressure for young people, especially for young women. It’s great to be recognized, but above all what you appreciate is feeling supported. And sometimes that doesn’t need titles or accolades. What matters most to me is the people around me and being an icon for my children.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.