Christina Aguilera, the Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and actress, has taken on the role of mentor.
The 30-year-old joins Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton on the panel of NBC’s new talent show for aspiring singers, “The Voice.” Since she was a child in suburban Pittsburgh, she has navigated the fame game, competing on “Star Search” and as a member of “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Her experience on and off the stage is what she shares with the show’s contestants.
She and ex-husband Jordan Bratman have a son, 3-year-old Max. “The Voice” airs 10 p.m. EDT Tuesdays.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: As a team leader on “The Voice,” you see people desperate to be recognized for their talent to finally make it. Was it a little different for you since you started so young?
A: Well, I wouldn’t quite say that. It’s been a long road. I mean, when you start at 6 years old, even that young, you know I kind of had this goal and aspiration to make a record and become a recording artist. Ten years later, I am making that record and that dream finally comes true, but it’s a whole other thing to make it. Of course, you have your naysayers along the way, but it almost gives you that much more desire and passion and drive to go for what you want. That’s what’s so great about this show. You get to be that mentor for these people and be a part of their journey and hopefully start their journey.
Q: All these contestants want stardom, but life changes once it’s achieved. How did you learn to deal with the white-hot spotlight?
A: I think certain people are just meant to do certain things. Since I was little, obviously, I had this specific focus and specific goal. Sort of the fact that I had been on “Star Search” when I was little and on the “Mickey Mouse Club,” having that background sometimes gives you a little bit of a head start in knowing what it feels like to have all eyes on you. I sort of grew up with a little taste of that. But yes, on a wide spectrum it can be really crazy and make you feel really vulnerable. That’s why sometimes when you are in this business it’s easy to, especially when you are female and you are starting out so young, to be susceptible to sharks.
Growing up so fast in this business, (you) put up certain walls and certain guards to protect yourself. It’s what you have to do. You learn the hard way early on. It has its ups and downs. It definitely has its perks, but you have to really want it. It’s one thing to talk about “Oh, I want to be famous,” but there’s a lot of work, a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication and travel and exhaustion that goes along with it.
Q: Do you believe in destiny?
A: I do, I believe everything happens for a reason, for sure. What I love about this show’s concept, (is) it brings it right down to the voice. There are certain people, for sure, that when we turn our chair around and we see them it is definitely not what we expected or pictured in our heads. That’s the beauty of what the show is about. It is a chance to take music back to its original form, before music videos, marketing and strategy and things like that. ... It’s about getting down to the nitty-gritty when you had your Billie Holidays and Nina Simones and you really didn’t have an opportunity to constantly get in touch with what they are doing or tweeting and all this stuff. (Laughs) You literally had to go by what they sounded like.
Q: You came from a modest background, so was it a challenge to adjust to the wealth that comes with fame?
A: (Laughs) I mean, there are definite perks. You know, my mom always did teach me to stay pretty grounded — to never take anything for granted. The minute that you do, it could all be taken away from you. You know some things are more successful than others. Everyone has that moment no matter what business you are in, no matter what you’re doing. Would I say it was difficult to adjust? You are just playing with bigger chips, but we all have the same sort of problems.
I think the biggest thing to adjust to is the people that end up changing around you because of the money. And the people that come out of the woodwork and all of a sudden you start feeling like people are around you for the wrong reasons because they want something from you. It’s sad. It’s a sad adjustment and realization to feel the people around you, who you thought you could trust, sort of change a little bit.
But other than that it’s been great. I get to support (my mother) and make sure that she is very well taken care of and to help my family, to help people around me whenever I need to. And to buy the right pair of shoes and handbag when I want to is pretty nice, as well. (Laughs)
(Patricia Sheridan can be reached at psheridan(at)post-gazette.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)