“I remember when I was first coming up, there was a big debate around me on changing my last name because all the businessmen around me thought it was too long, too complicated, and too ethnic,” the Grammy winner, 39, told Billboard in an interview published on Friday, June 26. “‘Christina Agee’ was an option, but that clearly wasn’t going to fly.”
Aguilera added, “I was dead set against the idea and I wanted to represent who I really was. Being Latina, it is a part of my heritage and who I am. I’ve been fighting for my last name my whole life.”
In her decades-long career, Aguilera recorded one Spanish album, Mi Reflejo, in 2000. She has also released re-recorded versions of some of her biggest hits, including “Genie in the Bottle” and “Come On Over Baby (All I Want is You),” in Spanish.
In her Billboard interview, the “Candyman” singer shared her experience remaking her singles with a Spanish twist. “I was excited to bring a new life to [these songs] and reinvent some things,” she explained.
“I was allowed to create and express new ad-libs and vocal runs that I wasn’t given the freedom to do on the original record,” she continued. “Everything sounds better in Spanish. Let’s be honest.”
The New York-born singer’s father is Ecuadorian, while her mother is of European descent. In the past, Aguilera has been vocal about the criticism she has received for not being Latina enough. She hit back at haters in a 2012 Latina cover story for targeting her with such disapproval.
“I’ve dealt with that my whole life,” she told the magazine at the time. “I don’t speak the language fluently. And I’m split right down the middle, half Irish and half Ecuadorian. I should not have to prove my ethnicity to anyone. I know who I am.”
Aguilera added, “All I know is no one can tell me I’m not a proud Latina woman … I dove headfirst into a Spanish-language album for that reason and I’m planning another one even though I don’t speak the language. I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with some people.”
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