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20 years on, Christina Aguilera reflects on ‘Stripped’: “I was able to be the artist I wanted to be”

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Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of Stripped, the album that saw Christina Aguilera transform from teen pop sweetheart into her more grown-up alter-ego "Xtina." Featuring the controversial "Dirrty," as well as "Beautiful" and "Fighter," Stripped was a multi-platinum success. Looking back, Christina says it marked the first time that she was "literally able to be the artist I wanted to be."

Christina told ABC Audio that while she's "thankful" that her debut album was a huge hit, it didn't truly reflect who she was as an artist. That's why, she explained, "Stripped was such a special breakthrough album for me."

"I went into it with the perspective of 'I don't care if it sells one or one million copies, I need to do this for me, and be able to express how I feel, so I can be my best and my happiest,'" she explained. "And I was able to do that…not without much controversy, but par for the course — I've never been one to shy away from that!"

"Just being able to come from a place that was really genuine to me…that was a labor of love for me," she said of Stripped.

Today, Christina said she sees the influence of Stripped in other people's work, revealing, "Other artists come up to me and tell me which songs have inspired them." She also praised today's female artists for being "so fearless now…and unafraid to experiment."

"It's a beautiful, beautiful thing to see come full circle," she noted. "And that album was such an important time for me, and…the beginning of being the artist that I became."

Friday brings a reissue of Stripped with new cover art, the Benny Benassi remix of "Beautiful" and the "Dirrty" B-side, "I Will Be."

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