Paige Mastrandrea Paige Mastrandrea | January 6, 2022 | Lifestyle Feature Covers Culture Feature Features Featured Celebrity
No matter what age you are, it’s a unanimous sentiment that Grammy Award-winning artist Christina Aguilera (@xtina) is one of the greatest female icons of all time. Not only is her vocal range unmatched, but her ensembles have gone down in history as some of the most epic outfits of all time that the most famed celebrities in the world have re-created over the past 20-plus years. From her emergence on the scene in Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club when she was a young star-in-the-making, it was undisputed by all that Aguilera was a once-in-a-generation talent.
Throughout her career, she’s proven that to her fans all over the world. A deep love for music and female empowerment runs fiercely in the star’s blood. In 2000, the songstress debuted her first Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo, for which she received her first Latin Grammy Award. And after taking time to nurture her family and later helm a residency in Las Vegas, Aguilera is back this month to debut her second Spanish-language album.
Like many, Aguilera took advantage of the off-time during the 2020 lockdowns to focus on her music and let her creative juices thrive. To no surprise, she committed to this process 100 percent, relocating to Miami’s COVID-safe writing camp with Sony Latin. For four uninterrupted weeks, Aguilera sat in the studio with a powerhouse group of songwriters, musicians and producers, where the musical magic and good times flowed.
“Something crazy happened there,” the star recalls. “The chemistry and synergies between us, the storytelling and sharing among such beautiful souls… the Miami flavor—it was indescribable. We had a family dinner every Friday night, and by the last dinner, we realized—holy s***, we have an album!”
Thus, the album was born, which Aguilera will release later this month. Before the end of 2021, she debuted the first track off the album, aptly titled “Pa Mis Muchachas,” in collaboration with three impactful female Latin artists: Becky G, Nathy Peluso and Nicki Nicole. Known and loved for her lyrics that empower women all over the world, this collaboration was extra-special to Aguilera and noteworthy as it wasn’t just the first single released from the album, but in fact the first track that was created, setting the precedent for the entire opus’ heart and soul.
“Funnily enough, ‘Pa Mis Muchachas’ was the very first song we wrote and recorded for this album. Right from the start, in my very first session at Maestro Julio Reyes Copello’s studio, the energy was undeniably special,” she recalls. “The guitar strings, the lyrics, intensity and passion within the song poured out of everyone. I was introduced to Nathy, Nicki and Becky, and there was no doubt in my mind that they were the perfect muchachas for this track. I’m no stranger to female anthems, and this one felt right to lead with. All three of those women are role models and represent strength and Latina sisterhood. I couldn’t have imagined better collaborators for this track.”
Indeed, “Pa Mis Muchachas” gives us the nostalgic vibe that we’ve long been craving from Aguilera since her historic collab will fellow female icons Lil’ Kim, Pink and Mya in “Lady Marmalade” back in 2001. While the familiar snap-chant intro of the ensemble still rouses partygoers to their feet to dance and sing in unison, Aguilera continues to bring her irresistible ballads to the latest generation of music, enhancing her prolific artistry and musical prowess across all borders.
She debuted the track together with the female team at the 2021 Latin Grammy Music Awards in Las Vegas, as well as other new hit singles like “Somos Nada,” where her alluring aesthetic captured headlines across the world with a performance described as a “decadent, grrl-power-filled showcase” by the Latin Recording Academy.
“When my fans are listening to this music, I want them to feel empowered, vocal and free. Of course, I want to bring out other emotions and feelings in my music, like being sexy and energetic—but at the root, I am really pushing for a sense of empowerment coming from my music.”
She continues, “At times, I need ballads that awaken deeper emotions because sometimes it takes a song to channel our sadness or happiness that’s trapped inside of us.”
Inspired by her Ecuadorian roots, with themes of motherhood, sisterhood and friendship prevalent throughout the album, Aguilera sets out to reinvigorate her devoted fans by encouraging them to take charge of their own lives and become their own bosses—a theme that is paramount to the star’s mesmeric life and career.
This is evident now more than ever. Aguilera has embraced the new-age music industry with open arms after reemerging with this new album 22 years later. As someone who encourages those around her to grab the reins of their lives, the introduction of social media has been particularly profound to her.
“I think one of the most important changes has been the voice of the artist [that is widespread today], and I credit that to the presence of social media and unlimited platforms we can use to connect with the world at large,” she notes. “I have much more access to my fans and have a greater ability to share my thoughts, passions and feelings about things outside of my lyrics. It’s gratifying to know that I can control my own narrative.”
This welcome change is a 180 from what she experienced as one of the greatest recording artists of the ’90s, where the power rested in the major labels. During this time, she often frequented and created in our very own Magic City.
“I love the nostalgia of being in Miami at a young age,” she notes as we reflect on her gracing some of the iconic old-school pages of Ocean Drive in its heyday. “Florida is home to some incredibly fond memories for me. Miami has always been a city to me that has highlighted some of the most exciting nightlife and entertainment experiences in the U.S. It’s also no secret that my career started at Disney World, so Florida truly remains one of the places where I grew up! It feels like home in many ways, and Miami is now my daughter’s favorite place in the world.”
Because of this, it’s even more significant that the pop icon is returning to the place where her career began to release her latest work.
“It was only fitting we recorded and released the album here with the Sony Latin team because of the beautiful presence of Latin culture, in addition to the incredible musicians living in Miami. Living and working out of the Sony Latin home base was a dream come true. All of the incredible executives and artists living locally warranted for Miami to be the best place to record.”
And in true Miami style, she capped the experience off in the most appropriate setting—dancing the night away to irresistible salsa beats until sunrise at Little Havana’s quintessential Ball & Chain club. Que perfecta?!
The new year brings hope and a time for new beginnings. And in my opinion, there is no one more equipped to set the precedent for this mentality than our beloved Xtina and her welcome return to the Latin music scene. Successfully balancing her personal and professional worlds and continuing to impact and influence the culture of music, style and creative artistry, she unequivocally proves that we can have it all if we have the will to make it.
“It’s important to me that kids all over the world know they have a voice and deserve to be heard,” she notes. “I want them to know it’s cool to be different and to explore whatever it is they love, and I want them to be brave and forge their own paths.”
After all, it only makes us that much stronger, makes us work a little bit harder and makes us that much wiser—well noted, Xtina!
Xtina Up Close:
Something people may not know about you:
I love video games! I love cozying up on the couch with my kids and playing Mario Kart. I know it’s not the most unique thing, but it’s something unexpected that I truly love.
Most prized possession:
Can’t live without:
My children! They are the most prized part of my life.
Photography by: Cover photo by David Black; Additional Photos by Katia Temkin