LOS ANGELES While her debut LP remains one of the hottest sellers in the U.S., Christina Aguilera is planning three new albums to ensure that her residence in the limelight isn't temporary.
In addition to the Spanish-language and Christmas albums she plans to deliver before the end of the year, the 19-year-old pop star already is setting goals for her next English-language, nonholiday LP.
"I really want try to take pop a little deeper than it is right now," Aguilera said backstage at the Grammy Awards last month, where she won the Best New Artist award. "I want to show people other areas of myself that they may not be familiar with."
She also hopes the LP will establish her as a songwriter and show her growth as a singer. "I really want to be seen as a vocalist," she said.
The pop star said she wants to build a career with the same longevity as that of her favorite singer, Mariah Carey.
Serious Staying Power
Aguilera has the talent and ambition to make that goal a reality, according to Lori Majewski, entertainment director at Teen People magazine.
"If people want to know why Christina is going to be around a decade from now, the answer is very clear: It's pure talent," Majewski said. "When you hear this girl open her mouth, everyone is astounded. I've seen her sing many times, and every time, I'm impressed, but the people who are hearing it for the first time can't even believe it."
She said Aguilera's drive to become a strong songwriter and improve her vocal style also signal serious staying power for the young star. "There's a real desire to learn," she said. "Christina doesn't think she knows it all already."
Aguilera recently co-wrote "We're a Miracle" (RealAudio excerpt), which appears on the soundtrack to "Pokémon The First Movie." She said songwriting has been a top priority.
Her self-titled album is #10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, where it debuted at #1 in September. The sultry first single, "Genie in a Bottle" (RealAudio excerpt), released in June, helped give the LP its initial thrust, while the follow-up single, "What a Girl Wants," also hit #1.
Aguilera recently released the album's third single, "I Turn to You."
She plans to head into the studio in April to record songs for her Spanish-language album, and then move on to her Christmas LP in May.
The Spanish-language album, to be produced by Rudy Perez and released in the fall, will include fresh material rather than Spanish versions of her English hits, Aguilera has said. It hasn't been decided if the album also will include her Spanish version of "Genie in a Bottle," titled "Genio Atrapado," which has gone platinum in Mexico.
Though she is not fluent in Spanish, Aguilera understands the language. Her father is from Ecuador.
"I definitely feel a part of [Latin culture]," she said.
Her decision to record original material will score points with the Spanish-speaking audience, said Haz Montana, program director at the Los Angeles Latin-music station KSSE-FM. Montana said Aguilera already has proved herself with the success of the Spanish translation of her English hit.
"There's usually a sizeable rejection when someone just translates an English song and doesn't speak a lick of Spanish," he said. "She's defied the odds."
Montana said he is optimistic about Aguilera's ability to pull off an entire album in Spanish. "Her accent is impeccable," he said. "There may be a slight nuance here and there that tells you that Spanish is not her first language, but that's as far as it gets."
The Christmas LP will include four new holiday-inspired tunes and several standards, including "The Christmas Song," "Climb Every Mountain," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Silent Night," "Oh Holy Night" and "Angels We Have Heard on High," RCA Records spokesperson Pamela Murphy said.
Mickey Mouse A Mixed Blessing
Aguilera was born in Staten Island, N.Y., to a military father and musician mother in 1980. The family lived in Japan, Texas and New Jersey before settling in Wexford, Pa., where Aguilera began performing in area talent shows. She performed on the syndicated show "Star Search" at age 8, and at 12 landed a part in Disney's "The New Mickey Mouse Club," where she co-starred with Britney Spears, 'N Sync's JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake, and actress Keri Russell.
Majewski said "The New Mickey Mouse Club" enabled Aguilera to begin her pop career with a strong fanbase. But it also has had some drawbacks, according to Aguilera, who said the history she shares with some of today's biggest pop stars has fueled misconceptions that they're all alike.
"It frustrates me when people don't take a minute to recognize the differences between all of us," Aguilera said. "They just lump us all together, just because we're about the same age and have similar backgrounds."
Aguilera got her first taste of pop-music fame when her duet with Japanese pop star Keizo Nakanishi, "All I Wanna Do," became a hit in Japan. She also recorded the song "Reflection" for the soundtrack to the animated film "Mulan" before signing to RCA.