The 37-year-old "Like I Do" singer joined Zane Lowe for an intimate conversation on Beats 1 on Apple Music on Thursday, where they discussed Aguilera's new music, how her kids influence her sound and how she's channeling her Stripped days.
"Whenever I was in that mode of creating Stripped, I was like, 'God, I have to get back to a place where I'm making music that I fully believe in and get the duct tape off my mouth.' It was a lot," Aguilera expressed after Lowe called the singer's new music a "wiser version" of the 2002 album. "It was a time in music, too, [where it] was extremely pop driven and very puppeteering with what was behind-the-scenes, and what the label felt would sell in a package deal. And once again I found myself in a place where [I think], 'God, all these rules.' I'm just not living up to my full potential."
"These songs so make sense and are so relevant now," the GRAMMY winner stressed. "I was doing it back then and I'm glad that I stuck to my guns. I really truly just came out with things that I believed in, even if it was against the grain, and even if people were like, 'Really, you shouldn't be saying that. It’s going to start up too much controversy.'"
The songstress, however, isn't a stranger to controversy. From her "Dirrty" music video, to her barely-there ensembles, to singing about love and sex, Aguilera owns up to everything she's done in her career. Now, as a mother of two -- son Max, 10, and daughter Summer, 3 -- she's more cautious of what she puts out.
"There are definitely two different hats that I wear, for sure," she explained. "My kids at home don't see the one on stage. I'm very not showy, even when I'm trying to do my vocal rehearsal. I was practicing for the Whitney [Houston] tribute [for the 2017 American Music Awards in December] and my daughter was watching Peppa Pig and she was like, 'Be quiet,' and shuts the door. I was like, 'Oh, okay.' It definitely is an eye-awakening moment. But, you know, it all changes into the artist you are and the person you are and you have to absorb that."
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Christina Aguilera Goes Makeup-Free for 'Paper' Magazine
"I think about the one day my daughter and my son see 'Dirrty' and what are they going to think and all this. But I always come from a message and a place and, as a woman, being empowered by your body," she continued. "What’s right for me might not be right for her, or might not be right for the next woman. But it is the way that I feel empowered in my own body and showing my own strength, and that's how I needed to be when I was 21. And I hope that she can be a smart, independent woman as well, and my son too, respecting women."
"She's just such a sweetheart and a real girls' girl. I love that," Aguilera said, adding that "it was important for me that I had somebody that could really blow. I wanted somebody that could come to play."
"She put so much heart and passion into it and that's all I could ever ask for," the Burlesque star shared. "I teared up when I first heard her vocal on it and I sent her flowers and I was just like, ‘Oh my god. You took it to the next level. I’m just so happy.’ That's what I love — the unity of it and the fact that we're just coming from such an empowered place just as women — two strong women — that have come from struggle and are able to share that in such a positive way."
See the singers' powerful performance in the video below.