The pop princess and current Coke pusher has reached a legal settlement with New York-based Warlock Records, allowing the record label to release an album Aguilera recorded in a basement studio when she was just 14 and 15 years old.
In May, the Grammy winner, now 20, filed a lawsuit against former producers Robert Allecca and Michael Brown, claiming they illegally sold the distribution rights from her early demo recordings to Warlock.
Aguilera also sought an injunction to prevent the release of the new (old) album, titled Just Be Free, and urged her devotees not to buy the disc. Her lawyer, Carla Christofferson, initially described the recordings as "not of the quality that her fans expect."
But now, instead of burying the old tapes and praying they don't end up on Napster, Aguilera has apparently agreed (albeit begrudgingly) to lend her name and likeness to the disc, which was recorded just two years after she became a cast member on The New Mickey Mouse Club.
Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed, but Aguilera will let Warlock release the album, provided it includes a statement from the singer explaining the album's origins. To put things in context, the disc also will feature a photo of a younger Aguilera.
"At that young age, I made the recordings as a possible stepping stone to a career in music, which is my ultimate passion," Aguilera says in her album message to fans. "They were made just so that I could get my foot in the door of the music business. I did not intend that the recordings would be widely released, especially after I signed with a major record label.
"I have not updated or finished the versions recorded in my childhood and they are being released 'as is,' although I tried to prevent the release for several years," she adds. "The recordings do not in any way reflect my current musical taste and where I am as an artist. The growth and vocal development I experienced as I matured into young adulthood is not reflected in the recordings.
Aguilera goes on to say that her next album, due out this fall, "will be the album that truly reflects my artistry, my vision and my passion. The Just Be Free recordings will hopefully be a footnote in a musical career that I dream will last for many years to come."
Aguilera sued Allecca and Brown, as well as Warlock Records and its president, Adam Levy, after a June 19 release date was announced for Just Be Free. Music sites and retailers including Amazon.com had already begun taking pre-orders for the disc, which is now said to be due in August.
A spokesman for Warlock Records could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday on the settlement.
The following is a track listing for Just Be Free: 1. Just Be Free
2. All I Want to Do
3. Running Out of Time
4. The Way You Talk to Me
5. Believe Me
6. By Your Side
7. Move It
8. Our Day Will Come
9. Dream a Dream
10. Make Me Happy
11. Move It (dance remix)
12. Believe Me (dance remix)
13. Just Be Free (bonus track--Spanish version)