August 15, 1998

The Providence Journal: One talented teen


A self-possessed 17-year-old named Christina Aguilera stopped in the office late last month on a promotional tour organized by the Providence-based music promotion firm Big Noise.

Aguilera, who is working on her debut record, scored a coup by being chosen to sing the big ballad, 'Reflection', from the soundtrack for the latest animated Disney movie, 'Mulan.'

Born in Staten Island, NY, Aguilera said she grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and has wanted to sing 'since I've been in diapers.' She made her TV debut at age 8 on Star Search.

She was on the brink of signing a record deal with RCA when she heard Disney was looking for a young female singer for 'Mulan.' But she had to be able to belt a certain note -- E above middle C -- which Aguilera calls 'the note that changed my life.'

Aguilera sang the song into a cheap tape recorder, sent the results to Disney, and the next thing she knew, she was in Hollywood. After singing 'Reflection' a few times, Disney execs told her she had the job.

'I was ecstatic,' she said. 'These things only come along once every few years. They took a huge chance using an unknown like me.'

An admirer of full-throated divas such as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, Aguilera is working on her own record in between promotional appearances for Disney. She said the result will probably be more danceable and R&B-flavored than 'Reflection.'

Aguilera, oldest of five siblings, will be a senior in high school next year, although she'll be tutored in order to fulfill her show-biz commitments. She's hardly worried about show business messing up her young life.

'I'd be worried about being messed up if I didn't do this,' she said.

- Andy Smith for The Providence Journal

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