Once again, time for some music that inspires! Welcome back, #MusicMonday peeps! Been a bit with work and the SYFY Wire profile, but let’s get to it, shall we?
By now, “Shadowdance” fans have read about my vampire pop princess Valentina Lorena. Worst kept secret: she’s inspired by Christina Aguilera.
From Mouseketeer to teen pop star
Christina Aguilera was part of that late nineties wave of pop princesses. I blame the success of her fellow Mickey Mouse Club alum Britney Spears. When RCA Records first picked up Aguilera, they were going for something different and more adult contemporary.
Alas, there was too much money in that teen pop craze. Plus, Aguilera had just recorded the song “Reflection” for Disney’s Mulan soundtrack.
It was, unfortunately, inevitable she’d get thrown down the literal rabbit hole.
Aguilera emerged from that hole with “Genie in a Bottle,” a chart-topping single that cemented her as one of the pop stars, but the one who could actually sing.
From teen pop star to sexy vixen
After her self-titled debut, an album to catch the also relevant Latin pop craze and the requisite Christmas album, Aguilera decided to take more control of her sound and her career.
The result was the 2002 album Stripped, which Aguilera executive produced. She also co-wrote most of the songs. Aguilera said the title “represented a new beginning, a re-introduction of herself as a new artist in a new way.”
And boy was it ever!
The album featured the ballad “Beautiful” and the anthem “Fighter.” Both songs allowed Aguilera to show what she could really do with her voice.
It famously also brought us the song “Dirrty.”
The video featured a sexed-up Aguilera in a boxing ring. Her look forever purged the pop princess look she’d had for “Genie.” Aguilera called this sexy persona Xtina.
I was instantly smitten. I forced my friends to listen to “Dirrty” every chance we got, sometimes on repeat. The image stuck too. My vampire pop princess Valentina Lorena was born.
But did Valentina go too far? Not for Xtina!
By 2010, I was writing the first two “Shadowdance” urban fantasy novels. I looked at what I had the Valentina character doing and worried if I’d taken things too far. Would the world believe a pop star with Marilyn Manson-style theatrics, a high sex drive and more than a hint of devilment?
Then my muse Aguilera dropped the album Bionic.
“Not Myself Tonight” was the first single from Bionic. As you’ll see below, it features Aguilera in a variety of S&M-inspired outfits and Illuminati conspiracy theory situations.
Whatever I was thinking with Valentina, I wasn’t going far enough!