A consistent performer and hit-maker since her musical debut on Ja Rules Between Me & You, Christina Milian has still not received her just-due. Unlike other Hollywood starlets, shes not afraid to appear as her true self – shes extremely smart and honest about her life. You wont find any stupid girls here.
Fully aware of what is happening around her, Milian knows she has to step her game up. Her self-titled debut album was never released in the U.S, despite her desperate pleas to the record label. Her second album Its About Time spawned the hit single Dip It Low, with a very sexy and controversial video, but failed to build the buzz Milian needed to propel her career to higher heights.
Now under the guidance of Def Jam executives Jay-Z and LA Reid, Milian hopes her new album will So Amazin will take her to platinum status. The catchy single Say I featuring Young Jeezy is exactly what happens when urban pop and the streets meet. But is it enough?
Instead of talking about her music, it seems people are more interested in whether Milian is dating Dre from Cool & Dre, the well-known Hip-Hop producers whom Milian recruited to produce most of her album. And if thats not enough, Milian recently admitted to breaking up with Nick Cannon because of his cheating ways. Does this sexy starlet really need a break up to sell records? AllHipHop.com Alternatives spoke with Christina to get to the point.
Allhiphop.com Alternatives: Lets start from the beginning. Most people dont know that you wrote most of J.Los hit Play. How did that gig come about?
Christina Milian: I was 18-years-old when I did that record. I was in Sweden working on my first album and the first week I had written AM to PM and Play. They were both party records so I figured- why have both of them on one album? I thought AM to PM was more me, so I said well give Play to somebody else. The producers ended up meeting with Tommy Mottola. Tommy loved the record and ended up putting it on J.Los album.
AHHA: Were you disappointed when you debut album didnt come out in the US?
Christina: Oh, very much so. I was working my butt off. I was overseas for a long time and I spent over two years doing promotional tours. In the meantime the overall goal for me was always home. I wanted to show the States what I was doing [overseas], and every time I was coming back, I was seeing new female artists. It was hard for me. The record label kept giving me release dates and pushing it back over and over again. That was the disappointing part for me.
After two years of being away from home, I finally said, Screw that, Im coming back home and Im doing movies, and Ill do another album later. It was better that way, because the music I had on my first album was so mixed up. Half of it was pop and the other half was urban. I dont know what the impression would have been of the audience over here. So Im glad it worked out this way.
AHHA: Its easier to say that now, right?
Christina: Oh yeah! It was a whole different story back then. I was cussing everybody out! Not my people but definitely the record label.
AHHA: Were you happy with the success of your second album?
Christina: I thought it was good, considering the backing that I had behind it. With that second album LA Reid wasnt particularly excited because he didnt make that album. It was made by the previous Def Jam execs – Lyor Cohen and them. So it wasnt particularly LAs style. Even with Dip It Low, I dont think he was excited about that one, but fortunately for me the song blew up for itself! So he had to kind of go with flow. We put out another single but his whole concern was really this album that I have now. Every time I would see him, all he would say is, I cant wait to work on the next album.
AHHA: You keep saying Jay-Z and LA Reid have supported you a lot for this album. How have they supported you?
Christina: LA Reid is a music man; he knows the music and hes got the ear for it. Then with Jay-Z, hes an artist so he understands expression as a true artist. They understood that Im a woman, I have my own sound and I know what I want. They allowed me to work on this album; to go in with Cool & Dre and work on an entire album with them. The music ended up being hot and I proved to them that I know what Im doing.
AHHA: What would this album have to do to be successful?
Christina: I definitely want to go above any sort of platinum status; thats one thing. I want to achieve so many things. My overall achievement is I want people to finally get to know me. Im tired of people always looking at me as just a performer or an entertainer or just as the actress. Thats not me. At the end of the day, Im a real person like anybody else. Thats why I made this album so much more personal. Like any true artist, you connect with them because they write their music based on their life and thats what I did with this album. I want people to look at me in a different way where its more than just a pretty, sexy girl thats got hot videos.
AHHA: Youve come out with your personal life in a big way. It seems wherever you see your name, Nick Cannons name isnt far behind. Do you feel like your personal life has overshadowed your music or is it a part of the getting-to-know-Christina process?
Christina: I think its part of the process. Not all of my music is based on that previous relationship and I dont need that previous relationship to succeed. If there is any misunderstanding, its that all of my music is based on reality now. Unfortunately, my previous relationship was very public, but not everything is about him. I dont need dude to make album sales. For real, Im being completely honest. I think the media use that to get people to go to a website or read a magazine. But I just want to clear that up. I dont need that in order to sell records.
AHHA: Any chance of releasing the diss track, or is it already leaked?
Christina: Its already leaked on the internet! Thats why people are talking about it. Believe me; I wouldnt have brought it up if it wasnt for people asking me. The media calls it a diss record and its not. I went through a break up. You go through the sad phase, where I wrote those kinds of records, and then you go through the angry phase and then youre over it. People take it how they want to but this is not some Ja Rule, 50 Cent beef thing going on. [laughs] Im not expecting some sort of record back from him.
AHHA: The New York Daily News reported that youre seeing Dre [of Cool & Dre].
Christina: Oh god – thats one big joke. Dont believe it.
AHHA: Well since youve gone public with your previous relationship, will you keep your next relationship private again?
Christina: Yes, very much so. Even my past relationship was very private for the longest part of the three years. Of course within three years its eventually going to get public. But Im a very private person because I dont want my relationships to be used as entertainment value, or people to use it against me, or for people to think that Im with somebody for publicity. My family, the relationships Ive been in – Ive always kept that separate from my career.
AHHA: One of your greatest criticisms is that youre trying too much to be like Beyoncé.
Christina: Oh gosh! Well thats not true! Do people think that every light skin Black girl that has blonde hair has to say that she wants to be like her? Thats not the case. And thats wack, because people dont realize theyre stereotyping us. Its unfortunate because I feel like its ongoing for me. My career has been a thirteen year process. I didnt even know about her until five years ago. My career, and every move that I make, I try my hardest to set myself apart from everyone else. And I dont even think its a matter of trying; I am a different person. When I make music, Im not listening to [Beyoncés] music and saying I want to make a song like that or I want to dress like her. Everyone dresses their own way, has their own style. Its sad that people have to make comparisons based on looks. I can be very real with you; in no way, shape, or form have I ever tried to be like anybody else.
AHHA: Your new movie Pulse is hitting theatre soon. Do you think Hollywood has changed? People say its changed because you see African-American actors winning Oscars but you open up the tabloids and its all about the Lohans and Simpsons.
Christina: Yeah, man. But look at how theyve gotten a lot of their celebrity. We all know theres a certain dignity we have to hold in order to reach that particular status. Why would we want to be in the tabloid magazines so people can dog us out? But there is a certain level of celebrity that we have to work so much harder to achieve. There are only a few roles for us, so theres a big group of us fighting for one role.
AHHA: Do you get scared that you might get typecast in urban films?
Christina: No because Ive been very careful as far as the role I take. I get sent scripts consistently, on a daily basis, but I know how to say no. Ive been very lucky. Films that Ive done, like Pulse, were all originally supposed to be a white girl [in the role]. Same thing with Be Cool– it was supposed to be a white girl or Hispanic. Actually, Im Hispanic but a lot of people dont know that.
AHHA: If they want a white girl, what do they say when you turn up?
Christina: They consider it because they see the movies that Ive done. I think people like Jennifer Lopez have opened peoples minds up to seeing the other side of it. Its not about the race or the color, we can adjust and people will still go see this movie.