They're young, they're beautiful, and they're changing the face of pop music with their dazzling talent and style!
Christina Aguilera: This GENIE IN A BOTTLE is making all her wishes come true!
Destiny's Child: THE WRITING'S ON THE WALL! With one Grammy nomination already, this group is headed for great things.
Jessica Simpson: This teen has A HEART OF INNOCENCE and a voice like an angel.
Blaque: TIME AFTER TIME, this group shows its got talent to spare.
Mandy Moore: Her voice is sweeter than CANDY, but her attitude's all heat.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Sure, we’ve been boy crazy in the past (Backstreet Boys, ’N Sync, 98 Degrees) but the new millennium is clearly the era of girl power—and several young women are leading the way. They are pop’s teen queens—Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Jessica Simpson—and the gal groups that get you groovin’—Destiny’s Child and Blaque.
What sets them apart from all those divas du jour is an irresistible combination of style, talent, tenacity, and, above all, tunes that talk to our generation. Ask any of them what the greatest thrill of performing is, and they’ll tell you the same thing: connecting with an audience. Communicating, you see, is key—just ask Christina.
“It’s so cool when you look out there and see thousands of faces really getting into your music,” she told MTV. “It makes you feel great to know you can reach people.” And judging by the millions of fans who hurry to the stores to buy their CDs, there’s quite a connection.
Each of these performers has an interesting tale to tell about how they got where they are. Some were drawn to the stage since they were in diapers; others discovered they had a God-given gift and wanted to use it (“It would be a sin not to!” insists Jessica). But they all vowed—no matter what—they were going to let nothing but nothing stand in their way. So what if all those boy bands were burning up the charts? Step aside, fellas, they seem to say, and let us show you how it’s really done!
It’s easy to draw inspiration from these young women, even if you have no ambitions of performing live before an amphitheater full of screaming fans. No matter who or what you want to be, you have the power to make your dreams come true. So what if you’re still not old enough to vote? That didn’t stop any of these ladies from launching their careers.
And that’s precisely the message they want to put out to the masses: “Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself,” Mandy told Access Hollywood. “I’m proof that anyone can make it.”
How, you ask? Well, for that, you’ll just have to read on.…
WISHES DO COME TRUE
“Even though you can picture yourself a million times doing it and being there, when it happens, it’s still really surreal.”
Christina Aguilera leads such a charmed life today, you can’t help thinking magic must have had something to do with it. The nineteen-year-old newcomer is beautiful, smart, talented, and now a Grammy winner to boot. Did a genie grant her three incredible wishes? “Uh-uh,” she laughed when TRL host Carson Daly asked her. “I did this on my own.”
Christina is certainly capable of casting a spell on audiences. Her first single, “Genie in a Bottle,” sold 1.3 million copies and went double platinum in less than a month of its release (as of this writing, it’s reached quintuple platinum!). “It’s almost like she has superpowers and doesn’t know how to use them yet,” said her album’s executive producer Ron Fair. “She is a God-given genius of R&B riffing.”
The past year has certainly been a magic carpet ride for her: fame, fortune, and recognition from both her peers and the press. Time magazine dubbed her “one of the most strikingly gifted singers to come around since Mariah Carey.” People calls her “pop’s new It Girl,” and Rolling Stone praised her “powerhouse pipes.” Meanwhile, fans flood MTV and radio stations round the clock with requests to play her music. Her CD debuted at number one, elbowing out even Puff Daddy’s latest release. She is the first female artist to give RCA a number-one single since Lisa Loeb with “Stay (I Missed You)” in 1994.
“I wish someone would pinch me so I’d be sure I’m not dreaming,” she said backstage on Grammy night, clutching her award for Best New Artist. “I never, ever imagined any of this would happen to me. It’s like a dream come true.”
What a (little) girl wants
That dream began on December 18, 1980, in Staten Island, New York, when Christina Maria Aguilera, a bubbly baby with sparkling blue eyes, was born into the world. Her father, Fausto, hailed from Ecuador and became a U.S. Army sergeant. “I spent my early years moving around a lot—I was an Army brat,” she told YM. She spent time in New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Japan. “I was always jealous of people who had friends for life, because I never knew what that was. I’d make a friend and have to move.”
Showbiz did, however, run in her blood: her mom, Shelly, was a violinist and pianist who had traveled through Europe with the Youth Symphony Orchestra as a teen. According to her mom, Christina was always “a very good child and very bright. She’s never mentioned even once wanting to be anything other than a performer.”
Her parents separated when she was seven and divorced when she was eleven, so Christina, her little sister Rachel (now thirteen), and her mom moved in with her grandmother, Delcie Fidler, in her home in Wexford, Pennsylvania. (Her mom eventually remarried and Christina now adores her stepdad Jim Kearns, her stepsis Stephanie, thirteen, her stepbrother Casey, sixteen, and her half brother, Michael, three). It was her grandma who first encouraged her to develop her voice. “She’d always tell me, ‘You have a gift and you should use it,’ ” Christina recalled in The Providence Journal-Bulletin. “I’ve been singing since I was in diapers.”
When she was just a toddler, Christina would lay a towel on the floor (that would be her stage), sit all her stuffed animals around her (her adoring audience), and sing into an old baton she called her “i-caphone.” Her earliest memories are of singing tunes from The Sound of Music. “When I discovered Julie Andrews, I fell in love,” she told the New York Post. She’d put the soundtrack of the musical into a tape player, and then “close the door to my room and open my window and just sing out. It was such a release for me, for any bad energy or anything that was going on, tension or pain that I was going through.”
That fantasy world quickly turned into reality: Christina longed to be onstage and urged her mom to help her. “My mom was never a stage mother,” she once reflected. “If anything, I was a stage child!” Shelly was a little hesitant—she wanted her daughter to have a normal life—but she could see how badly Christina wanted it and how others responded to her talent. “I remember she was about three and singing on a bus and people stopped us,” Shelly said. “They couldn’t believe she could [sing so] maturely for her age.”
Besides, nothing would deter Christina from pursuing her dreams. “It [Christina’s dream] was like a car driving itself,” her mom told Teen People. “It just kept going—and going—and going.”