The singer tells HelloGiggles about the vulnerability of using her voice, taking a break during 2020, and more.

Hedy Phillips
Jul 14, 2021 @ 6:02 pm
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Christina Aguilera
Credit: Getty Images

Not every celebrity is willing to be vocal about causes they care about. For some, being open about those things can feel a little bit scary, as vulnerability often does. But for Christina Aguilera, talking loudly about what she's passionate about is one of the most important aspects of her career as a singer, entrepreneur, and public figure. For years, she's spoken out on topics like women's rights and unequal treatment for the LGBTQ+ community, doing everything from raising money for HIV/AIDS treatments to fighting back against bullying. As Aguilera tells HelloGiggles, she knows how important her voice and her platform are—even when using those tools feels daunting.

"There's always going to be pushback and a naysayer and someone that is going to want to combat anything that you're doing, no matter what side of the spectrum you're on," she says on a Zoom call in early July. However, she adds, "What I learned really young is that you cannot please everybody at the same time, so it's an exhausting battle."

Aguilera started performing when she was 6 or 7 years old, at local gigs in her community, she shares, but appeared on Star Search at age 9. It was nonstop from there, joining The Mickey Mouse Club and releasing her debut album in 1999. Almost everything she's ever known and lived has been in public—and scrutinized.

Aguilera credits her upbringing for making her brave enough to speak out on these topics, sharing that her home environment was "​​one of chaos." 

Aguilera has spoken candidly in the past about her mother being "pushed around" by her father and how she never wanted to get herself into a similar situation.

"I know that there's some other little girl, or guy, or person...that I'm able to connect with and try to give some encouragement to, to try to push through their own struggles," she says now.

Aguilera has used this strength to also speak up for people she cares about—like when she took to Twitter recently to stand up for Britney Spears amid her conservatorship battle. The two appeared together on The Mickey Mouse Club as kids and famously came up together in the industry, but while both were subjected to much of the same criticisms from the public and the media, their outcomes were completely different. Where Spears found herself in a troubled marriage and constantly hounded by paparazzi, before being placed under a conservatorship by her father, Aguilera was able to better surround herself with people who cared for her and helped boost her up. 

In a lengthy message on June 28th, Aguilera discussed how upsetting it is to know that Spears' reproductive health is not under her own control. "Every woman must have the right to her own body, her own reproductive system, her own privacy, her own space, her own healing and her own happiness," she wrote. Continuing her message, the singer called out the "conditions and pressure unimaginable to most" that Spears—and she herself—have worked under over the years, concluding that her former colleague deserves to "live her happiest life."

Despite knowing that her message would be picked apart by fans and press, Aguilera decided to speak spoke out anyway. She explains now that making bold, potentially controversial statements like that will always "be a battle on some level" because they require you to go outside your comfort zone.

"I've gotten backlash for so many things during my career and you have to push through those things," the singer says. "Living a life in the public eye is hard, because you live your life and go through what you do for everyone to make assumptions or judgements about it."

Aguilera's vulnerable, outspoken nature manifests in her music, as well (she's currently working on two albums—one in English and one in Spanish). "I'm huge on lyrics and moving [the conversation] forward," she says, adding that she'll do this even when those situations "might be hard—double standards, women's rights, women's views, domestic violence, gay rights, and so on."

But she's now at a point in her career where she wants to spread all of her skills and insights with new artists. Currently, she's bringing her musical expertise to a new playground by teaming up with SweeTARTS to mentor a budding musician who wins the candy brand's contest. Aspiring musicians can use the SweetBEATS Mixer to create a song, and Aguilera and a team of judges will pick a winner who will get help from the star to turn it into a fully produced track in a studio. 

Calling music and candy "two of my favorite things in the world," Aguilera says she was excited to join in on this project also because she'll have a hand in shaping someone's music, much like she did as a coach on The Voice, where she appeared off and on during Seasons 1 through 10. "Who knows what it could lead to?" she says of whoever wins the contest. "It could lead to somebody's next passion or career choice." 

The singer adds that she's looking forward to stretching her production muscle for the contest, as well, something she hasn't done as much recently while focused on touring and everything else going on in her world. "This is an opportunity for me to get into my studio roots," she notes.

But that's not the only way Aguilera is making a comeback now! She's working on—and excited about—her upcoming albums. She told Billboard she's harkening back to her Latin roots for the Spanish-language one and told People it's an album she's wanted to make for "so many years."

After a year and a half on pause, Aguilera's moving full steam ahead. She was in the middle of live shows in early 2020 when the world shut down because of COVID-19, and she was forced to hunker down at home like the rest of the world. While the pandemic affected everyone differently, for the singer, it was the first time in a long time that she was to be home with her family and just be still. She used this time to reflect and appreciate...and cut some people out of her life.

"I let go of a few things that I didn't feel served me, a few people that I didn't feel were great for me, and where I want to be in my life," she reveals. "Life is too short not to be happy. So that's what I encourage most out of anything."

As someone who has worked pretty much nonstop for her whole life, Aguilera saw this time as valuable to not just her physical health but her mental health as well. "Being on the road is not just hitting the stage—which is exhilarating, and it's what I was born to do—but doing it with kids in tow and trying to be the best mom ever while hitting that stage and being the best performer ever for your fans. ... It's a constant juggle and it's sometimes mentally draining," she says. "I realized as I got older, I have to slow it down or I'm not going to be okay."

After using the year to recharge, the star is now ready to get back on that stage (or in the studio with SweeTARTS) and continue to share her messages of encouragement and support. It's just that now she's taking things a little slower and giving her mental health the attention it deserves.

"Everyone should be able to live their best life as they see fit, and sometimes we just need to take a moment to be able to figure that out," Aguilera says. "We all need a moment."