Reflection (song)

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Song by Lea Salonga from the album Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
Released June 2, 1998
Recorded 1997
Length 3:36
Label Walt Disney
Producer Matthew Wilder
Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack track listing
"Honor to Us All"
"I'll Make a Man Out of You"
Single by Christina Aguilera
from the album Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
Released June 15, 1998
Format CD single
Recorded February 1998
Genre Pop
Length 3:33
Label Hollywood
Producer(s) Matthew Wilder
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"Genie in a Bottle"

"Reflection" is a song written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel for the soundtrack of Disney's 1998 animated film Mulan. In the film, the song is performed by Filipina singer and actress Lea Salonga as Fa Mulan. An accompanying music video for "Reflection" was included as a bonus to the Disney Gold Classic Collection DVD release of the film in 1998.

A single version of the song was recorded by American singer Christina Aguilera and became her debut single. The single's commercial success funded Aguilera's debut album from RCA, in addition to gaining her credibility amongst established writers and producers. Releases of the single were limited, which resulted in the track charting only on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, at number fifteen. An accompanying music video for the song was included on the DVD release of Mulan. Aguilera has performed the track on four televised performances, including at the CBS This Morning show, which saw her gain the attention of songwriter Diane Warren.

Background and composition[edit]

A sample of "Reflection", featuring Aguilera singing the last chorus over a pop background.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Aguilera approached record label RCA, then having financial difficulties, and was told to contact Disney.[1] After being given the opportunity to record the theme to the 1998 film Mulan named "Reflection" it was reported she had gained a record deal with RCA Records with Aguilera saying "I landed a record deal simultaneously as I landed the Mulan soundtrack. I had just turned seventeen years old, and during the same week, I just landed both. I recorded the Mulan soundtrack first and then a few months later I was out in L.A. recording the record for about six months".[2] When asked about the song and Aguilera, RCA executive Ron Fair commented,

"She is a badass genius of singing. She was put on this earth to sing, and I've worked with a lot of singers.... When Aguilera met with us, she didn't care that she was auditioning for a record deal; she got into a performance zone that you see in artist much more mature than she is."[3]

After she was asked to hit a musical note required for "Reflection", she thought that the song could be the gateway into an album deal. Aguilera spent hours recording a cover of Whitney Houston's "Run to You", which included the note she was asked to hit.[1] After successfully hitting the note, which she called "the note that changed my life", she was given the opportunity to record the song. To record the song, she flew to Los Angeles for roughly a week.[4] Despite growing increasingly exhausted during the recording sessions, when she heard that a 90-piece orchestra would be arriving to record the instrumental she begged to stay and witness the event. She later called the experience "amazing".[4] Due to the success around the recording of "Reflection", RCA wished for Aguilera to record and release an album by September 1998 to maintain the "hype" surrounding her at that time.[4] The label laid the foundation for the album immediately and started presenting Aguilera with tracks for her debut album, which they later decided would have a January 1999 release.[4]

"Reflection" was written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel,[5] in the key of F major. The track begins with the lyrics "Look at me, you may think you see who I really am, but you'll never know me", with Aguilera's vocal range spanning from the low-note of G3 to the high-note of Eb5 in a moderately slow tempo of 92 beats per minute.[5] "Reflection" was released to adult contemporary radio on June 15, 1998.[6] In 2000, Aguilera recorded the Spanish version of "Reflection" titled "Mi Reflejo" which was adapted by Rudy Pérez for the album of the same name.[7]


Aguilera saw the song not as a way to gain critical acclaim, but as a promotional tool to gain notice in the music industry before the release of her debut album.[8] The attention was gained after the track was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, which gathered the attention of notable producers and writers.[8] Critically though, the song did not receive immediate success, with critics calling it "predictable" and criticizing the lyrics.[8] Beth Johnson of Entertainment Weekly noted Aguilera has a "who-am-I musings" persona in the song,[9] while Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic commented that the "Matthew Wilder and David Zippel's full-fledged songs [on Mulan] are flat and unmemorable."[10] While reviewing Aguilera's debut studio album, Ricky Wright of said that, aside from "Genie in a Bottle", "most of this music is straight from the cookie cutter", including "the Mulan ballad showpiece 'Reflection'."[11] Nikki Tranter of PopMatters considered "Reflection" a "nice song" without the "icky-pop beat" used on other songs recorded by Aguilera.[12] The Spanish-language version "Mi Reflejo" was picked as a highlight on same titled album by senior editor of Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine.[13] After premiering in June 1998, "Reflection" was Aguilera's first song to chart in the United States, peaking at number 15 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[8][14] After the success of the track, Aguilera's record label RCA decided to fund her debut album (costing over one million dollars), and eventually funded more than they had predicted initially.[15]

Live performances and covers[edit]

Aguilera has performed the song on television four times, first on the CBS This Morning, and then on the Donny & Marie show; neither of these performances were directed at her demographic of teen viewers.[8] Whilst watching the show on This Morning, Aguilera gained the attention of songwriter Diane Warren, who was astonished by such a young performer being as "polished" as she was. Warren later stated that she had seen the potential in Aguilera.[15] The singer also performed "Reflection" on MuchMusic's Intimate and Interactive on May 17, 2000.[16] An American Broadcasting Company special in 2000, featuring a performance of the song, was recorded and released in a DVD titled My Reflection.[17]

Singer and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks performed the song on the Dedication Week of the sixth season of the show, with the performance she moved forward to the next round. Jackie Evancho also covered the song on her fourth studio album, Songs from the Silver Screen. Ariana Grande covered the song when she was 11. In La Voz... Argentina (the Argentinian version of The Voice), the Spanish version of the song was covered by Sofia Rangone.[18]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Reflection" – 3:34


Chart (1998) Peak
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[14] 15
Chart (2011) Peak
South Korea (Gaon Chart)[20] 87


  1. ^ a b Dominguez 2003, p. 43
  2. ^ Dominguez 2003, p. 38
  3. ^ Donovan 2010, p. 42
  4. ^ a b c d Dominguez 2003, p. 44
  5. ^ a b "Digital Sheet Music – Christina Aguilera Reflection". Alfred Publishing Company. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Disney's Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 110 (19): 20. May 9, 1998. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stepehn. "Mi Reflejo: Overview". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved August 1, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Dominguez 2003, p. 45
  9. ^ Johnson, Beth (August 20, 1999). "Christina Aguilera (1999)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (June 2, 1998). "Mulan Soundtrack Review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ Wright, Ricky (August 1, 1999). " Christina Aguilera: Christina Aguilera: Music". Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ Tranter, Nikki (August 23, 1999). "Christina Aguilera: self-titled". PopMatters. Sarah Zupko. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Mi Reflejo: Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Robert Greenberger (2009). Contemporary Musicians and Their Music - Christina Aguilera. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Dominguez 2003, p. 46
  16. ^ "Christina Aguilera Live" (in English). Intimate and Interactive. 2000-05-17. Event occurs at 60. MuchMusic.
  17. ^ " Christina Aguilera - My Reflection: Christina Aguilera, Dr. John, Brian McKnight, Bow Wow, Lawrence Jordan (II), Paul Hunter: Movies & TV". June 5, 2001. Retrieved October 2, 2011. 
  18. ^ "TERMINO UNA ETAPA EN "LA VOZ ARGENTINA" (In spanish)". Diario Show. August 12, 2012. 
  19. ^ Reflection (CD single liner notes). Christina Aguilera. Hollywood Records. 1998. 03MS32900. 
  20. ^ "노래방차트". Gaon Chart. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 


  • Dominguez, Pier (2002). Christina Aguilera: A Star is Made: The Unauthorized Biography. Amber Communications Group, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9702224-5-9. 
  • Donovan, Mary Anne (2010). Christina Aguilera: A Biography. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-38318-2. 

External links[edit]