Oct. 22 marks the 20th anniversary of "Stripped," the album that saw Christina Aguilera transform from teenage 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, Aguilera told ABC Audio her fourth studio album marked the first time that she was "literally able to be the artist I wanted to be."
Aguilera said that while she's "thankful" that her debut, self-titled 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 1 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 recalled. "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 added.
Today, Aguilera said she sees the influence of "Stripped" in other people's work. "Other artists come up to me and tell me which songs have inspired them," she said.
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."
A reissue of "Stripped" with new cover art, the Benny Benassi remix of "Beautiful" and the "Dirrty" B-side, "I Will Be," is out now.
Christina Aguilera reflects on 'Stripped' album's 20th anniversary originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com