Christina always seems a heartbeat away from bursting into song. The synapses between her emotions and her singing voice are firing constantly, she practically punctuates her sentences with perfectly pitched ad-libs and mmhmms and ohhh yeahs. If she hesitates or makes a mistake, she laughs it off and powers through. Her raw talent, technical savvy, and emotional willingness are what make her a Master, and while I'm by no means arena-ready, her class reminded me why I love singing, which I’ll continue to do, even if it’s just in my bathroom, into the mic on the earbuds I bought at Duane Reade.
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To give things a classroom-y feel, students are prompted to contribute to message boards and join the members-only Facebook group. I usually avoid comments at all costs, but behind the MasterClass paywall, things are different:
Overall, I enjoyed the MasterClass experience, so if you’re not a singer, hold out to see who else joins the faculty. Upcoming professors include Annie Leibowitz and Werner Herzog, and I’m excited to see what other A-Listers they can persuade.
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At one point, Christina describes her process as I do my thing, I feel my thing, and it becomes what it is. For most of us, feeling the thing is what makes singing so cathartic — and so terrifying. Singing is heightened. Singing is vulnerable. Singing is being brave enough to demand that everyone shut the fuck up, please, because you are a human being who is feeling something and you need to express it.
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Fifteen years ago this month, Christina Aguilera successfully shed her Disney image with her sultry self-titled debut album, a No. 6 hit and a game-changing moment for the former Mickey Mouse Club star. The following decade-and-a-half has been full of such reinventions for Aguilera, who has gone from bubblegum queen to dirrty diva to Beautiful balladeer to, most recently, all-star guest artist, helping artists like Pitbull and A Great Big World achieve chart success. Throughout her career, one constant has remained: a powerful, wholly unique set of pipes that, when paired with the right arrangement, can still blow Top 95 listeners away.
Christina is admirably blunt about the tools she needs to execute a performance that meets her standards. Preparation is key, she insists as she lays out her must-haves. She needs water — room temperature and ice cold. She needs coffee and tea. She needs Oasis throat spray. She needs pre-opened honey packets, on a plate, with a spoon. A handful of Ricola lozenges must also be unwrapped. They’re diva requests, but she has diva receipts. I make a mental note to forget being so good they can’t ignore you. Be so good they’ll unwrap your candy for you.
IRL, my undergraduate degree is a dusty BFA in Musical Theater. Since graduating, I’ve Kondo’d my tap shoes and leotards, and I’ve been on an indefinite singing-in-public hiatus since 7567. I’d been toying with the idea of getting back into singing, so when ads for MasterClass started targeting me like Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, I was intrigued.