Christine Flores (born September 26, 1981), better known by her stage name Christina Milian (pronounced ), is an American R&B and pop singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress, and model. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Milian moved to Los Angeles when she was 13 years old, desiring to be an actress. By the age of 17, Milian had begun writing songs to help obtain a recording contract. Milian has released three studio albums, and has finished recording a fourth, Elope, which is scheduled for a late 2009 or early 2010 release.
Milian's self-titled debut album was released in 2001, and features the singles "AM to PM" and "When You Look at Me"; both peaked in the top three on the UK Singles Chart. The singer's second studio album, It's About Time (2004), provided her first major US hit "Dip It Low". Milian's third studio album, So Amazin' (2006), produced only one single, "Say I". A month after the release of So Amazin', Milian's representative confirmed that she had left the Island Def Jam record label due to "creative differences". Milian signed with Interscope Records in 2009, through which she will release her album, Elope. The album's first single, "Us Against the World", was written by Milian.
Although Milian is best known for her singing career, she originally wanted to be an actress. Her first lead role was in the 2003 film Love Don't Cost a Thing, and subsequently had main roles in Be Cool and the horror film Pulse. Milian had a minor role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and starred as the lead role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: Fight to the Finish. Milian has been described as a role model, and her mother manages her musical and theatrical careers. On September 4, 2009, Milian married The-Dream in Las Vegas, and was confirmed to be pregnant with his child a week later.
Milian was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to Cuban parents Don and Carmen Flores. Named Christine Flores, Milian changed her name and adopted her mother's maiden name in the hopes of landing a wider range of acting roles. The oldest of three sisters, she moved with her family to Waldorf, Maryland soon after her birth. Milian was only four years old when she showed an interest in show business, and when her family realized that she was a talented actress, she became determined to pursue an entertainment career. As a child, Milian was "very imaginative and very creative", and watching television and listening to the radio became her life. They inspired her to have fun, and she convinced her parents that she "wanted to be inside the TV", although it took some time to convince them. By the time she was nine-years-old, Milian had begun auditioning with local talent agencies, shot commercials for Wendy's and Honeycomb, and played the lead role in the musical Annie. Milian's mother noticed her daughter's potential and moved to Los Angeles with her three daughters when Milian was 13 years old. Milian's father stayed in Maryland and divorced her mother soon after the move.
Milian describes her family as her "everything", and says that although she got along with everyone as a child, she did not have many friends. Acting at a young age, Milian says that "people knew about it. It was the talk. Even the teachers were talking about it." When Milian moved to Los Angeles, her only desire was to be an actress. She always wanted to be in the record business, but did not know how to obtain a recording contract. After living in Los Angeles for six months, Milian moved into the same apartment complex as songwriter and producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. Jerkins heard about Milian from a boy band he was working with and once he heard her sing, they began working together. For a year and a half, Milian went into a studio everyday and worked with Jerkins, which is where she started meeting people in the record business. She began writing songs at the age of 17 because she needed a demo to help her obtain a recording contract. According to Milian, every time she recorded a song, the producer would refuse to give her the demo, or would write lyrics that she did not agree with. She felt that she had to write a song, record a demo, and send it out on her own.
2000?2002: Christina Milian
Milian made her first professional musical appearance on rapper Ja Rule's second studio album Rule 3:36 (2000), performing vocals on the song "Between Me and You". The song was released as the album's lead single in 2000, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and in the top 30 of the UK Singles Chart. Milian co-wrote and performed backing vocals for the track "Play" for Jennifer Lopez's album J. Lo (2001), and co-wrote "Same Ol' Same Ol'", the first single from girl group PYT's debut album PYT (Down with Me) (2001). In the following years, she was featured on the track "It's All Gravy", a duet with British rapper Romeo, which was a UK top ten hit; provided the theme song for the hit Disney series Kim Possible, "Call Me, Beep Me!"; and collaborated with Hilary Duff on Duff's Christmas album Santa Claus Lane (2002), on the song "I Heard Santa on the Radio".
Milian's collaboration with Ja Rule led to a record deal with Def Jam; she traveled to Sweden and recorded her self-titled debut album. Soren Baker of the Los Angeles Times later suggested that instead of launching her career off the success of "Between Me And You", and by recording in Sweden without the "platinum production touch" of Irv Gotti, the owner of The Inc. Records, the momentum created by the song had evaporated. The album was released on October 9, 2001 in the UK, peaking at number 23 and selling a total of 101,986 copies. Internationally, the album peaked at number 36 in the Netherlands, and number 98 in Sweden. The album's domestic release was delayed partly due to the September 11 attacks, which occurred just two weeks before the intended release date. Milian decided not to release the album domestically; however, it was ultimately released three years later. Two singles were taken from the album, "AM to PM" and "When You Look at Me", both of which charted worldwide. A music video for the track "Get Away" was filmed in Paris, although it was not officially released as a single.
The critical response to Christina Milian was mixed. Andrew Lynch of entertainment.ie described the album as "relentlessly ordinary", and felt that Milian needed original ideas. A reviewer for Dawn found the album to be "full of danceable, likeable tracks, and even the occasional, successful ballad like 'Until I Get Over You'". Milian believed that the public expected "a certain thing" from her when she first appeared with Ja Rule, however she wanted to record the type of music she was signed to do. She said that "AM to PM" was a "cool record," but it was not what the public expected. Milian approached the executives at her record label, Island Def Jam, and "cussed them all out", telling them that they were not listening to her. She felt that she had gained their respect by explaining that she was serious about her musical career.
2003?2005: It's About Time
"My first single off my last album, 'AM to PM', was more of a kiddie kind of thing, very pop. This new single is more R&B, kind of a club/party kind of vibe. And I'm excited about it 'cause it's a new me. I'm 22 now and there's been some maturity, and it's nice for people to see this change."
?Milian on her growth between albums.
Milian felt that Def Jam was confused as to how they wanted her image to be portrayed; one second she was young and singing "AM to PM", and next she was a "grown-ass woman" singing "Get Away". She realized that the change confused the audience, and that "nobody was buying it". After the international release of her debut album, Milian went back into the recording studio. She felt that music trends were changing so she stopped recording and toured overseas for a year and a half. When she returned to the U.S., Milian resumed work on a new album and traveled the world, working with several producers and those who were "hot" at the time.
It's About Time was produced primarily by Bloodshy & Avant, and she recorded songs with "Darkchild", Cory Rooney, Warryn Campbell, Bryan-Michael Cox and Polli Paul. Milian received writing credit for seven songs on the album, which she wrote like a diary. The whole album took between six months and a year to produce, and she so-titled the album because she said "it took so damn long" to complete. It's About Time was released on July 13, 2004 in the U.S. The critical response to the album was mixed; the club tracks, most notably "Dip It Low", were praised while the ballads were said to be disappointing. The style and sound of the album was compared to that of Beyonc? Knowles and Jennifer Lopez by several critics.
Milian thought that "Dip It Low" was more R&B and had "kind of a club/party kind of vibe" compared to the lead single off her last album, "AM to PM", which was "more of a kiddie kind of thing, very pop". She described the album as more R&B compared with her "bubble-gum pop" debut album, and performed as an opening act on the Usher and Kanye West tour to promote her album. The album debuted and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard 200 album chart and number 21 in the UK, selling a total of 382,000 and 63,708 copies respectively, and received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Contemporary R&B Album" in 2005. The album's first single, "Dip It Low", became Milian's biggest hit to date, reaching number two in the UK and number five in the U.S.. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA for digital sales, and earned a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration". The album's second and final single, "Whatever U Want", featuring Joe Budden, failed to reprise the success of the lead single but reached the top ten in the UK.
2006?2007: So Amazin'
Milian's third studio album, So Amazin', was released on May 16, 2006. Milian worked with the music producing duo Cool & Dre on the majority of the production, with additional help from Rich Harrison, and executive producers Jay-Z and LA Reid. Cool & Dre produced ten of the album's eleven tracks, which Milian said "made a more consistent, very real and personal album". She found a "really great" chemistry with Cool & Dre, and was able to express herself "easier and so much better through their music". Marcello "Cool" Valenzano of Cool & Dre said that "we come from an R&B background, and we bringing something new to the table, a style we think is hot."
The album's first single, "Say I", featured rapper Young Jeezy. The single saw peak positions of number four in the UK, and number 21 in the U.S. So Amazin' debuted and peaked at number eleven on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 54,000 copies in its first week and 163,000 copies in total. Internationally, the album peaked at number 55 on the Swiss Albums Chart, 67 on the UK Albums Chart, and 139 on the France Albums Chart. Reviews of So Amazin' were mixed; critics felt that while Milian claimed that she was displaying the various sides of her personality, the album could "only the surface of who she really is." "Say I" was praised by several critics, and was described as "instantly rousing" and "intoxicating".
In June 2006, Milian's representative confirmed that she had left Island Def Jam four weeks after the release of So Amazin'. Both parties said that they decided to end their relationship due to "creative differences", and that it was a mutual decision. Despite this, Daily News reported that disappointing album sales were the main factor. After leaving Def Jam, Milian released her first compilation album, entitled The Best of Christina Milian in 2006. Milian believed that she was dropped as a budget cut, and that Def Jam wanted to spend more money on label mate Rihanna. She revealed, "it was embarrassing. It was a week after my album got put out. I would be in my room a lot of the time crying by myself."
Following her departure from Def Jam, Milian signed with MySpace Records. The artist began writing songs and recording in the studio with numerous different producers, including Cool & Dre, J. R. Rotem, The Runners, Danja, Madd Scientist, T-Pain, Jim Jonsin and Toby Gad. Milian was featured on the cover of Rap-Ups 2008 Winter issue, in which she announced that the album's title was Dream in Color. The album's first single, "Us Against the World", was written by Milian and produced by Madd Scientist. The single, described as a "cinematic power ballad", premiered via MySpace on October 6, 2008, and was made available by digital download the next day.
In early 2009, Milian began working with The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, and L.O.S. Da Maestro. Milian's collaboration with The-Dream led to her signing a deal with Radio Killa Records. Milian revealed that aside from "Us Against the World", The-Dream and Tricky Stewart would be producing all the songs on her album. In March 2009, Milian changed the album's title to Elope. Regarding the album's title change, Milian explained, "the definition of elope is to run away secretly with one's beloved. This next album is about taking responsibility for yourself and making your own decisions." In June 2009, The-Dream said that the album was finished. Upon completion of the album, Milian said it represented "independence, not having to answer to any type of 'authority', being a woman at her best and feeling very confident". She said that fans could expect an "edgy sound with lots of strong powerful anthems. Big up tempos, R&B and pop at it's best and two big ballads". In August 2009, Milian confirmed that she had signed a deal to release Elope through Interscope Records, with a late 2009 or early 2010 release date. Milian has stated that the second single will be a duet with The-Dream called "Supersonic".
"I'm kind of happy that I was never the successful actress that went into music. But now that people know me for my music, it's definitely worked out for my acting career."
?Milian on her music and acting careers.
Although Milian is best known for her singing career, she originally wanted to be an actress. When asked whether she prefers singing or acting, Milian said that "they're both my passion. But, honestly, if I had to choose, it would probably be my music. I love writing. I love listening. I love the challenge of it." Milian has also stated that she loves "performing live on the stage ... above all else. It's my favorite."
Milian's first significant acting role was offered by Disney Channel to join The Mickey Mouse Club, however she did not accept and opted to star as a reporter on Movie Surfers. During this time, she had minor roles in several movies and television series, including Sister, Sister, Smart Guy, The Steve Harvey Show, Get Real, The Wood and American Pie. In 2002, Milian was appointed the host of the live competitive music series Wannabe on MTV, where she met director Joseph Kahn. Kahn suggested she audition for a lead role in the film Torque. Her audition was successful and she played a minor role in the film. She was subsequently cast in her first lead role in Love Don't Cost a Thing. Milian starred in Be Cool, the sequel to Get Shorty, with John Travolta and Uma Thurman, and recorded two songs for its soundtrack. She was then cast in a lead role in the horror film Pulse, starring alongside Kristen Bell and Ian Somerhalder. The film was a remake of the Japanese film Kairo (2001), and was adapted by Wes Craven and Ray Wright. Filming took place in Romania, which Milian said made for very rough conditions.
Milian starred as the main character in the Christmas television movie for the ABC Family channel entitled Snowglobe, alongside Lorraine Bracco. She was to be a leading character in The CW's new show Eight Days a Week as Olivia, alongside Mario Lopez, but The CW decided not to pick up the series due to the Writers Guild of America strike. Milian had a minor role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past alongside Matthew McConaughey, and starred as the lead role in the straight-to-DVD film Bring It On: Fight to the Finish. Milian has also appeared in two video games: Def Jam Vendetta (2003), where she plays Angel, a mob boss' girlfriend, and as one of the female leads, Carmen Mendez, in the video game Need for Speed: Undercover (2008). E! has reported that Milian has started to write two books, both targeted for teenage girls. She has stated that she wants to show her female fans the healthy way on how to be happy.
Milian has been described as a role model to young girls, which she feels good about. She has said that there are a lot of people who young girls look up to, but "at the end of the day you have to be your own person and love yourself." Milian worked with the Children Uniting Nations charity, in which she was a big sister to foster children, and says her favorite charity is the Penny Lane Foundation. Milian was awarded with a humanitarian award at The Reign fundraiser from the Elton John AIDS Foundation for being a role model for young children. Milian said, "I've never been rewarded that way and never been acknowledged like that. That was really nice of them, and I was happy I was able to show up for the kids." Milian co-hosted the The Reign event with singers Eric West and Mariah Carey, and soon after, various media outlets reported that Milian was dating West. Both denied they were dating, and Milian posted on her MySpace that she has no idea who Eric West is.
After being together for two and a half years, Milian ended her relationship with actor Nick Cannon in 2005 when she found out he was cheating on her. Cannon revealed that he refused to stay faithful to Milian because their relationship was becoming too much like a "Christian romance". When Cannon married Carey on April 30, 2008, Milian said, "regardless of what I felt in the past at the time, I actually forgive him and I'm very much over that." After the production of So Amazin in 2006, Milian began dating Andre Lyon from the production group Cool & Dre. The pair dated until February 2009, when they decided to go on a break. Milian said that they were still really close, and decided to break up because it was "hard to grow together when you live on two different coasts". The singer wanted to take more opportunities and learn more about herself, which she often let go when in a relationship, but felt that she was in a now-or-never situation. Milian described Dre as an amazing guy, and said that although there was a change for the couple in the future, she needed to focus on herself. Reports soon emerged that Milian was dating The-Dream, who denied any romantic relationship with Milian, but said that he loved the attention.
In March 2009, Milian was photographed with The-Dream with a new blonde hairstyle. Soon afterward, Jermaine Dupri's "Oceans 5 crew", including his assistant, Tyrone, Usher, Bryan-Michael Cox and Johnta Austin, expressed their dislike of Milian's new hairstyle. Austin said that "this picture that we're looking at is probably the 'that ain't it' moment for probably the year This is what happens when people fall out of the game. That's Christina Milian looking like a damn fool." There was also speculation that the remarks were not directly aimed at Milian, and that the Oceans 5 crew had a dispute with The-Dream. The-Dream responded by saying that he loved the controversy because they were "controlling the airwaves", and found that those who "can't hate on me are going to hate on her". He defended Milian's decision to change her hair color, and called the crew members individually and told them to leave her alone. Later the same month, Milian was pictured kissing The-Dream in Hawaii.
Dre said that he supported Milian's relationship with The-Dream, "I think it's gonna be a good fit for her". He stated that he had "nothing but love for her and her family", and that he "wish her the best and we're definitely looking forward to what she's got going on". In late May 2009, it was reported that Milian and The-Dream were getting married, and the couple celebrated their engagement party in Las Vegas in June. On September 4, 2009, Milian married The-Dream at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The-Dream said he was eager to start a family with Milian, saying, "you have to do your work ? then whenever she makes that time for herself, she'll make that time . In the next couple of years, there'll be something around." MTV reported that Milian and The-Dream will get married again in Rome, Italy, and then renew their vows in the US in front of family and friends. On September 11, 2009, it was announced that Milian and The-Dream are expecting their first child together. The Daily Mail reported that "the pregnancy was a surprise, but they were getting married regardless".