When it was first announced that one of world’s hottest pop stars, Christina Aguilera, is going to play Kyiv, it caused quite a stir. It sounded like a must-see not only for her ardent fans.
Singers of her scale seldom perform here, and she was guaranteed to deliver a magnificent show. Yet there was a downside. The concert was going to take place at Ukraina music hall on Oct. 20, which meant very pricy tickets and limited number of seats. True enough, most of the tickets were gone several weeks before the show. However, there is still hope for anyone who desperately wants to see Christina live. Inspired by the public excitement with the show, the organizers added another gig to the program, set to take place the following day at Palats Sportu. Tickets will of course be much cheaper – from Hr 200, and there is plenty of space inside the concert hall – we all can get in, if we hurry.
A star is born
Christina Maria Aguilera was born Dec. 18, 1980 in New York to an Ecuadorian father and a mother of Irish descent. Having discovered her singing abilities at an early age, Christina tried out on various talent shows and many were impressed with the “big voice” of a little girl. It wasn’t until her appearance on The New Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney Channel in 1993 that her singing career started seriously moving up. In 1998, she recorded the song “Reflection” for Disney’s animated film “Mulan” and was signed to RCA Records. A year later she debuted with the album “Christina Aguilera” and found herself among most promising young pop stars in the US and worldwide. Her hit singles “Genie in a Bottle” and “What a Girl Wants” topped the charts and made her main rival to another pop star and former Mickey Mouse Club colleague, Britney Spears. Little did anyone know, that almost ten years later, the career of Spears will be going down the drain, while Aguilera’s star would be rising higher and higher.
Back to the roots
Like many singers of Latin descent, Aguilera decided to reflect on her heritage in the album “Mi Reflejo,” released in 2000, featuring Spanish versions from her debut record as well as original Spanish songs. Some criticized her for trying to speculate on the Latin music boom at the time, yet the album did well, especially in Latin charts and went gold in the US. She also hurried to release a Christmas album, “My Kind of Christmas,” in autumn same year.
In 2001 Aguilera teamed up with Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink to record a sensational remake (and appear in twice as sensational video) of Labelles’s “Lady Marmalade” for the soundtrack to musical drama “Moulin Rouge.” The song was a huge hit and became the most successful airplay-only single in history.
Everything seemed going well for Christina, yet she wasn’t happy. The bubblegum pop image created for her by the management didn’t allow her to express herself as much as she wanted. So Aguilera took matters in her own hands. She filed a lawsuit against her manager, hired new one, and in October 2002 released her second full-length English album, “Stripped,” matched with a a dramatic image overhaul. The album, reaching No.2 on the Billboard 200 chart, was likewise a considerable departure from what she did before. As co-writer of most of the songs in “Stripped,” Aguilera experimented with a variety of music styles, including R&B, gospel, soul, pop rock and hip-hop.
As if attempting to get away from her “sweet blonde” style as far as possible, she appeared in many magazines nude or semi-nude, promoting her new sexy, provocative, raunchy image. This and controversial video for the song “Dirrty” eventually had a negative impact on her reputation in the US. Still, “Xtina,” as she liked to call herself at the time, claimed the new style reflected her true persona. Besides, the soulful ballad “Beautiful” from the same record was not just a massive hit, but also received critical praise, and the rock song “Fighter” remains one of her most original works.
“Stripped” stayed on the US and U.K. charts well into 2004. In the summer Aguilera joined Justin Timberlake on his international “Justified” tour and later the same year she dyed her hair black and continued touring by herself with the “Stripped World Tour.”
After shocking the world by experiments with her looks and behavior, Christina Aguilera reinvented herself once again. She cut her hair, dyed it blonde and presented a look a la Marilyn Monroe. She was no more a “dirty” girl, but, instead, a classy Hollywood beauty with soft curls, bright red lipstick and 50s outfits.
Her music changed accordingly. Christina’s third English studio album, the double-CD “Back to Basics,” released in August 2006, debuted at No.1 in the UK, the U.S. and many other countries. The record sounded like a homage to 20s, 30s and 40s jazz and blues with a modern twist. Hits like “Ain’t No Other Man” and “Candyman” with matching videos were hot, sexy, musically well-accomplished songs, taking pop music to a new level, with a mixture of vintage tunes and modern beats. With her new record Aguilera went on tour worldwide, giving extravagant performances including cabaret, three-ring circus and 10 piece costumes created by designer Roberto Cavalli. In January 2007, she was named the 19th richest woman in entertainment by Forbes magazine.
After ten years in show biz, Aguilera decided it was about time to release a best hits compilation. The album “Keeps Gettin’ Better – A Decade of Hits” is set to come out on Nov. 11, 2008.
Like some of her show biz colleagues, Christina released several fragrances for her fans in Europe. First came “Xpose” in 2004, then “Simply Christina” in 2007 and “Inspire” with a body care collection in 2008. And she did inspire not just her fans, but also famous jewelry designer and close friend Stephen Webster, who created the “Shattered” collection of sterling silver pieces dedicated to her. She was featured in the ads for it as a Hitchcock heroine.
So now that the world is already awaiting her next album and possibly another image reinvention, Christina continues traveling the world, giving concerts in places where she has no’t performed yet. Kyiv is lucky to become one of them – twice.
Palats Sportu (Palats Sportu metro, 246-7406). Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. Tickets Hr 200 to Hr 2,500
Palats Ukraina (Palasts Ukraina metro, 103 Chervonoarmiyska, 274-2444). Oct. 21, 7 p.m. Tickets Hr 500 to Hr 9,500