The Voice Within

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"The Voice Within"
Single by Christina Aguilera
from the album Stripped
B-side "I'm OK"
Released October 27, 2003 (2003-10-27)
Format
Recorded The Record Plant (Hollywood), NRG Recording Studios (North Hollywood)
Length 4:15 (radio edit)
5:04 (album version)
Label RCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"Can't Hold Us Down"
(2003)
"The Voice Within"
(2003)
"Car Wash"
(2004)

"The Voice Within" is a song recorded by American singer Christina Aguilera for her fourth studio album, Stripped (2002). The song was written by Christina Aguilera and Glen Ballard, with production handled by Ballard. It is a piano-driven ballad talks about trusting oneself and one's instincts. "The Voice Within" was released as the fifth and final single from Stripped on October 27, 2003 by RCA Records.

Upon its release, "The Voice Within" received mainly positive reviews from music critics, who called it an inspirational ballad and praised Aguilera's strong vocals on the track. Some likened the song to works by Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Commercially, "The Voice Within" achieved moderate success on charts worldwide, peaking within the top ten of charts in several countries including Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and it reached number 33 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

An accompanying music video for "The Voice Within" was directed by David LaChapelle. It was filmed in black and white as a one shot. The video was nominated for three MTV Video Music Awards at the 2004 ceremony. In support of Stripped, Aguilera performed the track on her two major concert tours: Justified and Stripped Tour (2002–03) and The Stripped Tour (2003). "The Voice Within" has been covered on several television talent shows.

Recording and composition[edit]

"The Voice Within" is a piano-driven ballad which talks about the theme of self-respect.[1]

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"The Voice Within" was written by Aguilera and Glen Ballard and was produced by Ballard.[2] The track was recorded by Scott Campbell at The Record Plant in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California and at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, LA, CA, while it was mixed by Peter Mokran.[2] Bass was performed by Mike Elizondo, while Matt Chamberlain played drums.[2] Ballard also played guitar with John Goux, and played keyboards with Randy Kerber.[2] Musically, "The Voice Within" is a piano-driven ballad.[3] Composed in the key of G major, it has a moderately slow tempo of 66 beats per minute.[3] Aguilera's vocal range on the track spans from the low-note of D3 to the high-note of F♯5.[3] Her vocals on the song were been described as strong and powerful by critics.[1][4][5] Lyrically, the song says that one should trust one's own mind and find strength.[1] The motivational lyrics include, "When there's no-one else, look inside yourself, like your oldest friend just trust the voice within".[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Aguilera performing "The Voice Within" during Stripped Live... on Tour (2003)

"The Voice Within" was released to US contemporary hit and adult contemporary radio stations on October 27, 2003 as the fifth and final single from Stripped by RCA Records.[6][7] It was also available for Maxi single sales in stores.[8][9] Upon its release, "The Voice Within" received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Josh Kun from Spin labelled it a "swoony Celine-for-teens ballad".[10] Sal Cinquemani for Slant Magazine gave the song a very positive review, naming it an "inspirational" ballad and praised her powerful vocals.[11] CD Universe also praised Aguilera's "rich, throaty style" vocals on the track and compared the song to works by Mariah Carey.[4] Sputnikmusic's critic Amanda Murray commented that the song is "tacky" yet "powerful all the same".[12] Kyra Lennon for Yahoo! Voices praised "The Voice Within" as one of the most motivational songs.[1] She wrote, "Hearing these uplifting words sung by Christina Aguilera's amazing voice is an incredible pick-me-up on a bad day".[1] Rachel McRady of Wetpaint complimented the song's inspiration melody, calling it "basically reduces us to tears every time we hear it".[5]

On November 29, 2003, "The Voice Within" made it chart debut on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 62, becoming the week's "Hot Shot Debut".[13] On the chart issue dated December 6, 2003, the single jumped to number 57.[14] During the following week, the song rose to number 46.[15] In its fourth week charting, it charted at number 36.[16] Finally, it reached its peak at number 33 on January 10, 2004.[17] The song became Aguilera's eleventh top-forty hit on the chart, and remained on the Hot 100 for a total of 16 weeks.[18] It also charted at number 11 on the Pop Songs chart,[19] number 16 on the Adult Contemporary chart,[20] and number 33 on the Adult Pop Songs chart.[21] The song reached number ten on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.[22] Throughout Europe, "The Voice Within" achieved moderate success on charts, reaching the top ten on many of them.[23] It was also a top-ten song in Australia, peaking at number eight in the country.[24]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by David LaChapelle, who previously directed the music videos for "Dirrty" (2002) and "Can't Hold Us Down" (2003).[25] He explained to MTV News that the video's concept, "There's all kinds of connotations to the word 'stripped.' I wanted to strip it down to one take. Just her and this incredible voice. And really not have anything that is going to overshadow that. She's trying to grow as an artist and along the way she's taking all kinds of risks and a lot of times people let those things overshadow her ability and her talent. I wanted to bring it all back as a sort of bookend to this album".[25] The video begins with a close-up scene of Aguilera and zooms out to her wearing a slip and sitting in an abandoned prop room.[25] In one continuous black and white shot, Aguilera walks through several rooms, exits the building, and finally lays on a light box. The video was filmed at a deserted theater in downtown Los Angeles. It was inspired by neorealist works.[25] The video was nominated for three 2004 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Female Video, Viewer's Choice, and Best Cinematography.[26]

Live performance and covers[edit]

Aguilera performed "The Voice Within" for the first time during the Justified & Stripped Tour (2003), a tour held in support of Aguilera's Stripped and Justin Timberlake's album Justified (2002).[27] During the tour's late 2003 extension, The Stripped Tour, Aguilera also performed the track.[28] The performance is included in the video release Stripped Live in the U.K. (2004).[28]

On October 3, 2005, Roxane LeBrasse covered "The Voice Within" during the top nine show of the third season of Australian singing contest Australian Idol.[29] Despite being well received by judges, she was eliminated that night.[29] On March 28, 2006, Katharine McPhee performed the track live on the 24th show of the fifth season of American Idol, which resulted McPhee as one of the bottom two.[30] Simon Cowell compared McPhee's abilities to those of Aguilera, commenting that her performance was almost as good as the original singer.[30] "The Voice Within" was also covered by Meliz Serman on the 2006 TV series How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?.[31] In 2009, British girl group The Nolans performed "The Voice Within" live during there I'm in the Mood Again Tour, which was held to support their 2009 comeback album I'm in the Mood Again.[32]

Hong Kong singer G.E.M. recorded a cover version of the song, which is included in her album My Secret Limited Edition (2010).[33] The same year, "The Voice Within" was also performed by Jessica Robinson on Over the Rainbow.[34] On May 26, 2012, contestant Ruth Brown performed the song live during the semi-finals of the first season of The Voice UK, which left tears on her eyes.[35] Brown revealed that the song was personal to her because she had a hard time at school.[35] Judge Sir Tom Jones complimented her performance, "The story of the song means a lot to her, I think this girl is stronger than even she realises it herself", "You didn’t just sing it, you lived it".[35] On June 8, 2013, eleven-year-old Ariksandra Libantino sang "The Voice Within" during the final round of the seventh series of Britain's Got Talent.[36] The song was also played during the first season of Ghost Whisperer on an episode entitled "The Vanishing".[37]

Track listings[edit]

Canadian CD single[38]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Voice Within" (Radio Edit)
4:15
2. "Fighter" (Freelance Hellraister "Thug Pop" Extended Edit)
5:11
Mini CD single[39]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Voice Within"  
  • Aguilera
  • Ballard
5:04
2. "I'm OK"  
5:18
DVD single[40]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Voice Within" (Album Version)
  • Aguilera
  • Ballard
5:04
2. "Beautiful" (Fug Remix) Linda Perry 5:47
3. "The Voice Within" (Video)
  • Aguilera
  • Ballard
5:04
4. "Photo Gallery"      
Maxi single[41]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Voice Within" (Album Version)
  • Aguilera
  • Ballard
5:04
2. "The Voice Within" (Radio Edit)
  • Aguilera
  • Ballard
4:15
3. "Beautiful" (Fug Remix) Perry 5:47
4. "Can't Hold Us Down" (featuring Lil' Kim) (Da Yard Riddim Mix)
4:16
12"[42]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Voice Within" (Album Version)
  • Aguilera
  • Ballard
5:04
2. "Beautiful" (Fug Remix) Perry 5:47
3. "Can't Hold Us Down" (featuring Lil' Kim) (Da Yard Riddim Mix)
  • Aguilera
  • Storch
  • Morris
4:16
4. "Can't Hold Us Down" (featuring Lil' Kim) (Medasyn Mix)
  • Aguilera
  • Storch
  • Morris
4:11

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recording places
Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Stripped, RCA Records.[2]

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States October 27, 2003 Contemporary hit radio[6] RCA Records
Adult contemporary radio[7]
Germany December 8, 2003 Maxi single[8] Sony Music Entertainment
United Kingdom 12"[60]
DVD single[61]
Maxi single[9]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e Stripped (liner notes). Christina Aguilera. United States: RCA Records. 2002. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Voice Within Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Christina Aguilera – Stripped LP". CD Universe. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b McRady, Rachel (March 13, 2013). "Top 5 Best Christina Aguilera Songs of All Time". Wetpaint. Seattle: Wetpaint Ltd. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "R&R :: Going for Adds :: CHR/Top 40". Radio & Records. VNU Media. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "R&R :: Going for Adds :: AC". Radio & Records. VNU Media. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
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  42. ^ "The Voice Within" (12" liner notes). Christina Aguilera. New York City: RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. 2003. 82876 58429 1. 
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External links[edit]