Christina Aguilera Latest Studio Session Was One Sweet Deal for This 15-Year-Old Musical Novice

"I love being able to work with aspiring young artists who are just at the cusp of setting goals for themselves," Christina Aguilera tells PEOPLE, speaking about her collaboration with SweeTARTS

Christina Aguilera
Photo: Cole Gentry

Christina Aguilera gave one aspiring musician the studio session of his dreams!

The Grammy winning hitmaker, 40, collaborated with SweeTARTS this summer on cool campaign that allowed novice producers the chance to consult with the songstress by submitting a track using the brand's SweetBEATS Mixeran online music tool where anyone can mix and match songs with melodies and rhythms inspired by SweeTARTS candy.

After Aguilera sifted through all the submissions, one came out on top, from 15-year-old Augusta Sani. The two had a session together, before music producer Ray Charles Brown Jr. helped Sani develop it further into a cool and cohesive tune titled "Breezy 2015 Night (Extended)." (It's available to stream on Spotify now.)

"I love being able to work with new and aspiring young artists who are just at the cusp of setting goals for themselves," Aguilera tells PEOPLE, of working with Sani. "That was always the really positive takeaway of doing The Voice for me — just meeting these talented people who have the same dreams I grew up with as well, and being able to give them advice and an artist's point of view and guide them from the perspective of someone who has been in the business? It's so rewarding and something I wish I had when I was starting out."

Christina Aguilera Sweetarts
Cole Gentry

She went on to sing Sani's praises, recalling the conversations the two had during their session. "Augusta had no musical background in a professional way, which is why it was so awesome that this gave him the opportunity to experience that for the first time," Aguilera says.

"We got to talk about his goals — he raps a little bit, so I just wanted to give him some advice in developing that craft for himself, how to write from a meaningful place and the important of staying authentic and real and true to yourself musically when writing and rapping. I was excited to talk to someone who was so new to the game and only had these aspirations to be a part of it," she adds. "I walked away from our session with a big smile on my face because I just loved the fact that he was inspired."

None of that would have been possible without SweeTARTS, which Aguilera praised for giving Sani the tools to create his track.

"Their [SweetBEATS Mixer] was such an easy, fun way for people who have no tech experience to create a beat," she says. "Usually it's so complicated, with all the grids and numbers and lines, but they build this tool that laid it out and such an easy and fun way, anyone could do it. My 7-year-old [daughter Summer Rain] could do it! And that gave everyone the opportunity, no matter what your musical knowledge or experience was, to participate and just have fun with it."

Christina Aguilera
Jesse Grant/Getty

Aguilera has a long history of working with new musicians herself and challenge herself across genres — like on her fan-favorite sixth studio album, Bionic (released 11 years ago, in June 2010).

"I'm very, very eclectic in my musical taste," Aguilera tells PEOPLE. "Bionic was such an experimental record and I had so much fun doing it and recording it with artists from M.I.A to Sia to Santigold to Nicki Minaj to Ladytron; all these different, fun artists from such different musical worlds that I was able to combine together into this one album. It was amazing."

But the real joy, for Aguilera, comes in live performances, and the variety she can bring to those shows.

"Live performing is where my heart truly is at," she says. "Being boxed in a studio setting is never super fun for me. It's amazing when the work is done and I get to dive in creatively. I'm best when I get to hold a mic in my hand and hear myself acoustically in those big settings or in front of an audience where I can really connect with them. It allows me to experiment in such unique ways. And that's why every show that I do, it's so different."

It sure is. This summer alone, Aguilera performed two distinctly different shows, one at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California and another at the LadyLand Festival 2021 in Brooklyn, New York.

"At the Hollywood Bowl, I did a classic rendition of 'Genie in a Bottle,' with full strings and orchestrations. But then for LadyLand, I did a revamped version, chopping it up and incorporating some grime in it by adding Sneaker Pimps' 'Spin Spin Sugar' before," she recalls. "It inspires me musically because I get so wrapped up in creating these specific setlists for these specific shows, that I come out from the Hollywood Bowl going, 'Oh, I should do a full classical record!' And then I left LadyLand saying, 'Maybe I'll do a full record of dance music?' "

StarTracks Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera. Santiago Felipe/Getty

Right now, Aguilera is putting the finishing touches on her upcoming LP, a second Spanish album more than two decades after Mi Reflejo

"I'm on the cusp of releasing new Spanish music this fall, I just filmed the two music videos for that," Aguilera says. "We had so much material, we're going to release it in six song segments episodically throughout the next year, because it really tells a story and it takes you on this journey and adventure, experiencing different pieces of my past. This is an illustration of my roots."

"It's a full-circle moment for me now, as a grown woman," she continues. "It's just so fulfilling to me now to dive into that, knowing what I know now after the career that I've had and being able to dive deeper into something that I'm so passionate about. Because sometimes, some of my most commercial successes were not my happiest moments. They weren't 100% true to me, or were my passion. But from the Stripped record on, I've always made music I fully believe in, even if it doesn't play into a specific pop box script. And this new album is that, personified."

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