“Genie In The Bottle” performed by “Christina Agee” doesn’t quite have the same ring as “Christina Aguilera,” but according to the pop music superstar, some music industry execs floated the moniker when she was just starting out in her career.
“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 five-time Grammy winner, 39, told Billboard in an interview published Friday.
“‘Christina Agee’ was an option, but that clearly wasn’t going to fly,” Aguilera said.
Aguilera said she fought to keep the namesake that she had carried through her career as a young Disney star and said her heritage made her want to stand by the name she was given at birth.
“I was dead set against the idea and I wanted to represent who I really was,” she said. “Being Latina, it is a part of my heritage and who I am. I’ve been fighting for my last name my whole life.”
Although the “Lady Marmalade” songstress has only cut one Spanish album in her career, she’s remade many of her hits with a Spanish flair — including “Genie” and “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You).”
Nominated for 20 Grammys in her career, Aguilera’s lone Spanish album “Mi Reflejo” was released two decades ago in 2000, and in re-recording her domestic songs for international listeners, Aguilera said the opportunity brought “new life” to the records and allowed her to “reinvent some things.”
“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 explained to the outlet. “Everything sounds better in Spanish. Let’s be honest.”
Born to an Ecuadorian father and a mother who is of European descent, the former “Voice” coach has often received grief for straddling the fence of her multiple heritages and not being Latina enough.
“I’ve dealt with that my whole life,” she told Latina magazine in 2012. “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.”
She continued in defending her heritage: “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.”