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"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.
Use in Mulan
In the film Mulan, the song is performed by Filipina singer and actress Lea Salonga as Fa Mulan. "Reflection", which lasts for 2:27 (two minutes and twenty seven seconds), was written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, in the key of A 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 Salonga's vocal range spanning from the low-note of B3 to the high-note of F5 in a moderately slow tempo of 92 beats per minute. Irving Tan from Sputnikmusic labelled "Reflection" a "decent" song.
Christina Aguilera single release
A sample of "Reflection", featuring Aguilera singing the last chorus over a pop background.
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Aguilera approached record label RCA, then having financial difficulties, and was told to contact Disney. 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. 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. After successfully hitting the note, which she called "the note that changed my life", she was given the opportunity to record the song. 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. 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.
Aguilera's version of "Reflection" was released to adult contemporary radio on June 15, 1998. The song was released as a CD single in Japan on September 18, 1999. 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.
Beth Johnson of Entertainment Weekly noted Aguilera has a "who-am-I musings" persona in the song, while Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic commented that the "Matthew Wilder and David Zippel's full-fledged songs [on Mulan] are flat and unmemorable." In 2000, Aguilera recorded a Spanish-language version of the song entitled "Mi Reflejo" for the same titled album. "Reflection" peaked at number 15 on the Adult Contemporary chart. 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.
Aguilera 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. 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. The singer also performed "Reflection" on MuchMusic's Intimate and Interactive on May 17, 2000. An ABC special in 2000, featuring a performance of the song, was recorded and released in a DVD titled My Reflection.
- CD single
- "Reflection" – 3:34
|Chart (1998)|| Peak|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||15|
|Chart (2011)|| Peak|
|South Korea (Gaon Chart)||87|
The group Mannheim Steamroller covered the song on their 1999 album, Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse. 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. In La Voz... Argentina (the Argentinian version of The Voice), the Spanish version of the song was covered by Sofia Rangone.
- Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Mulan: Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- "Digital Sheet Music – Lea Salonga Reflection (from 'Mulan')". Walt Disney Publishing Company. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- Tan, Irving. "Review: Soundtrack (Disney) - Mulan". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- Dominguez 2003, p. 43
- Dominguez 2003, p. 38
- Dominguez 2003, p. 44
- "Disney's Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media) 110 (19): 20. May 9, 1998. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
- "リフレクション" [Reflection] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015.
- Erlewine, Stepehn. "Mi Reflejo: Overview". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
- Johnson, Beth (August 20, 1999). "Christina Aguilera (1999)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (June 2, 1998). "Mulan Soundtrack Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- "Mi Reflejo: Overview". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Dominguez 2003, p. 45
- Robert Greenberger (2009). Contemporary Musicians and Their Music - Christina Aguilera. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
- Dominguez 2003, p. 46
- "Christina Aguilera Live". Intimate and Interactive (in English). 2000-05-17. Event occurs at 60. MuchMusic.
- "Amazon.com: Christina Aguilera – My Reflection: Christina Aguilera, Dr. John, Brian McKnight, Bow Wow, Lawrence Jordan (II), Paul Hunter: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. June 5, 2001. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Reflection (CD single liner notes). Christina Aguilera. Hollywood Records. 1998. 03MS32900.
- "노래방차트" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
- "Top 20". American Idol (television show). Jordin Sparks. 2007.
- "Songs from the Silver Screen". Target Corporation. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- "Termino Una etapa en 'La Voz Argentina'". Diario Show (in Spanish). August 12, 2012.