Inteview with Christina Aguilera
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 .
MTV: 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.