In the middle of recording two seperate albums, Christina Aguilera is walking out of quarantine feeling moved by her creativity. So much so that she wants to help fresh new talent in her latest partnership — and the whole experience involves candy.
"It's a great time to be creative and re-inspired, coming out of all the shutdown and not being able to see family," Aguilera told iHeartRadio of her new collaboration with SweetTARTS. Like many, the singer has spent her summer working remotely and reuniting with loved ones. "Now is a great time to share and also to get creative with the computers and just step outside of Zooms and make fun things of screen time. This is actually an opportunity to be really creative with screen time."
Beginning Tuesday (July 13), creators can make the most of Aguilera's partnership with the brand by crafting a beat using their online music platform, the SweetBEATS™ Music Mixer, for the chance to win face time with the star. The app depicts its buttons as pieces of candy to represent different pre-programmed rhythms and textures, a tool that the singer likened to video games. "I do have sort of an anxious brain that likes to rush through things and I need visualization," the self-proclaimed gamer said of the platform's design and functionality. "For me, gaming is like an outlet of decompression." The contest will culminate in August with Aguilera hand-selecting the winning beat after listening to the contest's Top 20 entries, all chosen by fans. She'll assist the winner in leveling up the beat with one-on-one advice for the track's final makeover in a recording studio.
Aguilera's partnership comes in the middle of her recording sessions for two "different passion projects": the follow-up to 2018’s Liberation and her long-overdue sophomore Spanish LP. With a handful of pop incarnations in her book, the singer said that the former is about to unleash a new chapter of reinvention and she has the lockdown to thank for that. "When everything kind of shut down and I was off of the road for a while, I had a moment to really regroup and really assess what was making me happy and kind of what wasn't working for me anymore," she revealed, admitting that the project's inception arrived after making some "important decisions" for herself. "I feel like I've overcome a lot of the bullsh*t that I was not happy about."
The outcome resulted in the singer basking in "studio mode," as she called it. "Being able to express myself from a place, but a place of now, contentment is a really huge thing," she explained.
As for the follow-up to 2000‘s Mi Reflejo, which included Spanish versions of early hits, as well as some then-new material, Aguilera said the upcoming release finds her in a different space when it comes to her womanhood, vocals and cultural integration. "When I listen back to that record, I'm proud of it, but it was like baby Christina," she explained, adding that her voice hadn't even finished developing at the time of its recording. "Now, I get to explore my roots and the culture a little bit more deeply than I ever have before. I went to Miami and spent a month with incredible writers and producers and singers, and just the talent in the Latin community is so huge. They have a love and a passion for what they do that kind of is incomparable to anything else. It really brings me so much joy to bring this to life and explore my past, and even my relationships."
Reconnecting with her roots also found Aguilera taking another look at her complicated relationship with her father, a source for several tracks in her discography. "There's a very special song about my father actually, which has been a very layered topic for me, but it's all about sort of being able to move on at this point in my life and make peace with certain things and what that means. Hopefully, [it] will inspire other people to overcome certain things in their lives, as well, as music is so great at helping us do," she explained.
For now, Aguilera's taking the newfound inspiration and using it for her pair of shows at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday and Saturday, a week after the venue made its big return. The shows will see her team up with The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel for a concert performance with cinematic flair. "I'm so inspired by scores and movies and orchestral arrangements in general," she said. "This is quite a magical undertaking. It's an honor, so, big things ahead."