Birthplace: Staten Island, N.Y.
Aguilera knew from a young age that she wanted to be a singer. She reportedly memorized all the lyrics to the songs from The Sound of Music by age 5. She appeared on Star Search when she was 9. (She didn't win.) Like Britney Spears and 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez, Aguilera got her big break on The New Mickey Mouse Club. Her two-year stint as a Mouseketeer, from age 12 to 14, caught the attention of record executives who were impressed with her vocal range. By age 15 she had a deal with RCA. During negotiations, Aguilera auditioned to sing on the Mulan soundtrack for Disney. She landed the job singing “Reflection,” the lead single on the 1998 soundtrack. She released her self-titled debut album in 1999, and the single “Genie in a Bottle” climbed to No. 1 on the pop charts. She won Best New Artist honors at the 1999 Grammy Awards (held in Feb. 2000).