Christina Aguilera kicks off her Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood on Friday

By Melody Chiu
May 29, 2019 11:00 AM
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Fans were quickly taken by Christina Aguilera‘s sass and fiery personality when The Voice debuted in 2011, but the singer says she never fully felt like herself on NBC’s hit singing competition show.

“What I was doing last year with Liberation was kind of a shedding of a certain skin on some level,” Aguilera, 38, tells PEOPLE exclusively in its latest issue. “Prior to that, I had given myself fully to television and being a part of a network that really wasn’t quite the fit for me after the amount of time I put in.”

After six seasons on the show, the star says she was “ready to move on” and focus on her creative side again.

“I wanted to get grounded again in my artist body, and that’s what I did with Liberation,” says Aguilera, whose new Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood debuts Friday. “Moving on to this era, it’s just an exciting time of fresh energy. Vegas is coming at the perfect time for me.”

Christina Aguilera
Zoey Grossman

Touring for the first time last year since her Back to Basics tour that wrapped in 2008, Aguilera — who is mom to son Max, 11, and daughter Summer, 4 — says she finally felt ready to get back on the road.

“I was so scared to be on tour for so long. It took me a long time. I originally took the seat on The Voice because it kept me in a little bit of a more grounded position for my children,” she says. “But after a certain amount of time, of course the artist in me was like, ‘I have to evolve!’ I was just very afraid of going out on tour and the instability I felt it would maybe impose on my children.”

Now with her residency ahead of her, the star says she’s feeling more refreshed than ever and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

“I’ll totally be nervous, but I think nerves are part of the exciting chemistry and build-up and adrenaline that makes a show that much more impactful,” she says of Xperience‘s opening night. “It’s going to be a really special moment!”

For much more on Christina Aguilera’s new residency show, motherhood and 20 years of pop superstardom, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.