Oct. 1, 2012 -- I think you already know her name. And just in case you forgot how comfortable Christina Aguilera is in her own skin, she's dropped a new music video for "Your Body," the first single off her upcoming album, Lotus. I'm loving the use of pastel colors and the vintage prop styling, all of which suggests a soft and feminine approach, but no less confident than her Dirrty days- if you're going to rock pink and lavender hair, you may as well do it with panache.
And she does.
If the rest of the album sounds this good, Xtina will be claiming her spot at the top of the charts come November 13.
An avid art collector (her home is filled with originals by D*Face, Shephard Fairey, and Banksy, including a funny one by the latter of a famously prudish Queen Victoria sitting on another woman's face), Aguilera has paid special attention to the visuals on this album, hiring photographers like Enrique Badulescu and Mark Hunter a.k.a The Cobrasnake, who, coincidentally, got his start as an asistant to Fairey. The look differs wildly from what Alix Malka shot for Aguilera's 2010 album Bionic, which was aesthetically very sharp and futuristic and cool, as was the music itself, even if it underperformed commercially when compared to Xtina's other albums.
Aguilera has defended her last album recently, calling it "ahead of its time" (peep the new Billboard cover story) but I just think it was misunderstood, and apparently I'm not the only one who feels that way.
The Voice coach was recently honored at the ALMA Awards, where she chatted with us on the carpet, turning heads in a black, curve-hugging Michael Kors gown.
As she puts the finishing touches on the album, which she says is symbolic of a flower "that can withstand even the harshest conditions and still remain strong and beautiful," 31-year-old Aguilera was game to answer some burning questions via e-mail - some that deal with her childhood, others than touch on her current state of mind, as well as how she changed after becoming a mother (Aguilera has said that she struggled with the decision to divorce music exec Jordan Bratman in 2010, but that ultimately she did what she felt was best for their son, Max, now 4).
Expect to see a lot more of these types of interviews with your favorite celebs. When you're as fabulous as them, sometimes it's best to get things done via e-mail. These people spend A LOT of time on airplanes.
The format is what I'm nicknaming "Proust: Remixed," after the famous Proust questionnaire Vanity Fair has featured on its last page for eons, also the one James Lipton uses at the end of all his Inside The Actor's Studio interviews. I just love what this simple yet totally transparent style of interviewing says about a person – even people whose careers I've studied for years and in some cases interviewed in the past, still manage to surprise me.
Of course, I'll be tailoring them to each subject. In Xtina's case, I wanted to know what's behind the new album and I mixed in some lighter questions with the deeper ones.
Out of a list of more than 30 questions, these are the ones she picked.
You've always made the albums that you want to make, whether people get it or not seems almost secondary. What's your artistic vision for Lotus?
I took an entirely different approach as typically I go for one look, one sound and a very distinct genre. For this album I really wanted to put music on the record that felt good, that moved me and just let myself be less limiting.
What is your current state of mind?
I really feel free and not as serious as I have been in the past. This album represents a rebirth for me, going through a few interesting years and coming out stronger. Even the title itself is symbolic of a flower that can withstand even the harshest conditions and still remain strong and beautiful. I have always been one to encourage perseverance. This album represents that.
When you were a child, what did you aspire to be?
As a child I knew I wanted to make music, to perform, and to move people with music. It was an escape for me growing up and I wanted to provide that escape for others.
And now, what do you aspire to be?
I still aspire to do the same but now I also think of someone else, my son. So I aspire to be the best mom I can while still following my childhood dreams.
What song of yours evokes the strongest memories for you?
There isn't one song per se. Each represents a different time in my life and thus each evokes a different memory. I think you can really gauge my state of mind by listening to my albums. Some are darker, some more thoughtful, and others more playful.
Who do you think is the most important person alive today?
My son Max, because he continues to grow and evolve and explore with no regard. He is fearless like most kids are and that is a beautiful thing.
What do you think is the ideal age for a woman?
I am enjoying being a woman now. Every year I think, this is going to be a great year, a new chapter. And it is. I enjoyed being young but I would never relive my teens. Those are hard years for everyone.
Which event in the past, present, or future would you like to witness in person?
I am a big fan of the 1940's and 1950's so I think I would like to be around then.
What's the most beautiful place you've ever seen?
I really love traveling to Japan. I love the lights of the city and also they have some beautiful, more serene parts as well. It is a place I visit often on my personal travels. I find a lot of comfort there and I like the culture and the people.
What do you consider to be your best trait?
I am very loyal to the people closest to me and will defend them no matter what.
If you could have a conversation with any historical figure, who would it be?
I do have an obsession with Marilyn Monroe so I would have to say her.
What was your latest splurge?
I have a weakness for handbags.
What was your latest bargain?
I love vintage t-shirts.
Do you have any regrets? And if so, what are they?I don't believe in regrets. Life is too short to not take chances.
What have you inherited from someone on the Latino side of your family?
My temper and my love for life.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I think something involved with beauty and makeup. Something very "girlie."
What is the quickest way to annoy you?
Not being honest. I am a stickler for people telling me the truth at all times.