Record Executives Told Christina Aguilera Her Name Was "Too Ethnic"
She could have been Christina Agee.
Before she was Xtina, Christina Aguilera said that she faced pushback for her name. In a new interview with Billboard, Aguilera explained that pre-"Genie in a Bottle," she was told that she should change her name. "Aguilera," she was told, was "too ethnic" and "too complicated." Of course, Aguilera didn't change her name and the rest is history. Whoever suggested that she go by "Christina Agee" can count the accolades by Christina Aguilera: a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2000 and a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album the very next year just to name a few.
"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. 'Christina Agee' was an option, but that clearly wasn't going to fly," Aguilera said. "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."
Aguilera explained that it wasn't the first time someone suggested she change her last name. When she was asked to take her stepfather's last name, she refused, noting that she's been fighting for her identity all her life.
"There was another time in my childhood when I was being asked to legally change my name to my stepfather's to be legally adopted and I was again dead set against it," she said. "I've been fighting for my last name my whole life."
She added that being so proud of her Latin heritage is why her Spanish-language album, Mi Reflejo, is so important to her. Not only did it get her a Latin Grammy, but the album also peaked at no. 1 on the Top Latin Albums and Latin Pop Albums charts.
"It was a beautiful thing to experience success in different markets and have a diverse fan base that grew in appreciating who I am," Aguilera added. "My message, as in all my music, stands for being fearless to explore who you are. It's never too late to open a new door. Although it's scary to dive into territory that isn't your first language, it still doesn't erase who I am and how I want to express myself in all aspects of what intrigues and inspires me."