Her ability to sing the high “E” note in full voice was worthy of attention. It was a bathroom tape-recorded demo of Whitney Houston's “Run to You” got her that attention. After recording a song for Disney's Mulan soundtrack in 1998 (“Reflection”), Aguilera secured herself a deal with RCA Records. “Reflection” nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.
Her 1999 self-titled debut yielded three chart-topping hits in "Genie in a Bottle", "What a Girl Wants" and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)." It sold some eight million copies in the U.S., and another nine million globally. To show she really had the vocal chops, a lot of Aguilera's promotional appearances founding her in stripped-down acoustic settings. Her efforts earned her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
She followed that up in late 2000 with Mi Reflejo, a Latin pop album that helped her further achieve worldwide success. It stayed at number one on the Billboard Latin charts for a record 20 weeks and won Aguilera a Latin Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Album and a World Music Award.
For 2001, Aguilera joined Lil' Kim, Mýa, and Pink in a remake of Labelle's legendary 1975 single "Lady Marmalade." The track was for the film Moulin Rouge! and its soundtrack and it topped the charts for five weeks becoming the most successful airplay-only single ever. Another Grammy Award came for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, along with two MTV Video Awards, to which Aguilera responded, "I guess the big hair paid off.”
After severing ties with her manager, Aguilera released Stripped in 2002. On the strength of several singles, the record met with reasonable commercial success despite Aguilera displaying her dirty girl "Xtina" persona throughout. The first single and video, "Dirrty," only stirred up controversy while the second cut, “Beautiful,” brought home another Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Although it would be four more years until the album's successor would be released, touring behind Stripped would last a good long while, including a partnering with Justin Timberlake. The various Stripped tour incarnations were wildly successful and the record sold some 13 million copies worldwide, staying on the U.S. and UK album charts for two years.
In 2004, a handful of collaborations kept Aguilera in the spotlight. A remake of the '70s classic “Car Wash” with Missy Elliott was featured in the animated Shark Tale and a duet with Nelly on "Tilt Ya Head Back" appeared on one of his releases. Neither song did well commercially. However, Aguilera fared better and got a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2005 when she teamed with Herbie Hancock on Leon Russell's “A Song for You.” She also joined forces with Andrea Bocelli for "Somos Novios" off his album Amore.
Aguilera's third outing, the double-CD Back to Basics, dropped in 2006 and infused more jazz, soul, and blues into her brand of pop. Debuting at number one in 13 countries, it was warmly received, as was her switch to a more classic, glamorous image. She calls it "a throwback to the 20s, 30s, and 40s-style jazz, blues, and feel-good soul music, but with a modern twist." The elaborate tour staging included cabaret, three-ring circus, and juke joint sets as well as 10-piece costumes designed by Roberto Cavalli.
Once again, Aguilera's efforts were roundly rewarded with a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the song "Ain't No Other Man" and one of the top-grossing tours of 2007 ($90 million worldwide).
Bionic became Aguilera's fourth release in June, 2010. The album features multiple producers, as well as collaborations with M.I.A., Santigold, and Peaches. The first single, “Not Myself Tonight,” got an early release on iTunes in April, 2010.