The 20-year-old pop starlet has filed a federal lawsuit against two record companies and her former producers, hoping to stop them from releasing a demo she made when she was 14 years old.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeks an injunction to prevent the release of Just Be Free, a demo disc featuring the title track and 12 other songs she recorded with producers Robert Allecca and Michael Brown, just two years after she became a cast member on The New Mickey Mouse Club.
Now, of course, Aguilera is an international superstar--and lo and behold, Allecca and Brown have allegedly sold the recordings to Warlock Records, which plans to release the album June 19. Sites like Amazon.com are already taking advance orders for Just Be Free.
For everyone's sake, let's just hope the disc doesn't include a cringe-worthy, Star Search rendition of "The Greatest Love of All."
"She did them in the basement of a house, and they're just not of the quality that her fans expect," says Aguilera's lawyer, Carla Christofferson. "They sold the distribution rights to Warlock Records, put some new music on the tracks and sent advance pictures to Amazon" and other music sites, she said.
Aguilera hooked up with Allecca and Brown six years into her fledgling pop career--after performing on Star Search at age 8 and singing the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Steelers at age 10. At the time, the suit says Brown and Allecca worked for BAM Records, and they recorded her demo in a basement studio.
But Aguilera claims there was an "implied agreement" with producers that the tracks were for demo purposes only. "Despite the rough and unfinished nature of these recordings and the agreement that these demos were recorded for a limited purpose, defendants nevertheless seek to sell these demos for widespread commercial distribution," the suit reads.
The suit names both Allecca and Brown, as well as Warlock Records and its affiliates, Platinum Recording Group and JFB Music, as defendants. Aguilera is suing for breach of contract and improper use of her name, likeness and voice for the album.
None of the defendants could immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Aguilera is not the only pop star to have youthful (or at least musical) indiscretions catch up to her. In February, LeAnn Rimes battled publicly with her label, Curb Records, after it released an album of tracks purportedly made without her input, using unfinished tracks culled from previous albums.
Said Rimes in a statement: "I want to make abundantly clear to you that this album is not a reflection of myself as an artist, but is solely the conception of Curb Records, and for that I am truly and deeply sorry."