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Reflection (song)

"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 Tony Award winner, 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.

Song by Lea Salonga
from the album Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
ReleasedJune 2, 1998
LabelWalt Disney
Producer(s)Matthew Wilder

A single version of the song was recorded by American singer Christina Aguilera and became her debut single. She was 17 at the time it was released. 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. 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. A later, the remix by Eric Kupper was released.

Use in MulanEdit

In the film Mulan, the song is recorded by Filipina singer and actress Lea Salonga as the title character Mulan. "Reflection", which lasts for 2:27 [1] was written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, in the key of A major. Salonga's vocal range spans from the low-note of G♯3 to the high-note of D5 in a moderately slow tempo of 119 beats per minute.[2] Irving Tan from Sputnikmusic labelled "Reflection" a "decent" song.[3]

The song is performed after Mulan returns home following a humiliating and failed attempt to impress her matchmaker. The lyrical content expresses the way Mulan feels about wanting to show the world who she really is instead of pretending to be who she is not, but is afraid to disappoint her family by doing so. This scene takes place at Mulan's home in its surrounding gardens and ends in her family temple, where she removes her makeup to reveal her true appearance.

Christina Aguilera versionEdit

Single by Christina Aguilera
from the album Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack, Christina Aguilera and Disneymania
ReleasedJune 15, 1998
FormatCD single
RecordedFebruary 1998
Producer(s)Matthew Wilder
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"Genie in a Bottle"

Aguilera approached record label RCA, then having financial difficulties, and was told to contact Disney.[4] After being given the opportunity to record "Reflection", it was reported she had gained a record deal with RCA Records.[5] After she was asked to hit High E above Middle C 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.[4] After successfully hitting the note, which she called "the note that changed my life", she was given the opportunity to record the song.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] "Reflection" was adopted as a track on the album.

Aguilera's version of "Reflection" was released to adult contemporary radio on June 15, 1998.[7] The song was released as a CD single in Japan on September 18, 1999.[8] 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.[9]


Beth Johnson of Entertainment Weekly noted Aguilera has a "who-am-I musings" persona in the song,[10] while Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic commented that the "Matthew Wilder and David Zippel's full-fledged songs [on Mulan] are flat and unmemorable."[11] "Reflection" peaked at number 19 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[12][13] 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.[14]

Live performancesEdit

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.[12] 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.[14] The singer also performed "Reflection" on MuchMusic's Intimate and Interactive on May 17, 2000.[15] An ABC special in 2000, featuring a performance of the song, was recorded and released in a DVD titled My Reflection.[16] The song was later included in the setlist for Aguilera's Vegas residency The Xperience.

Track listingEdit

  • Australian CD single
  1. "Reflection" (performed by Christina Aguilera) – 3:34
  2. "Honor To Us All" (performed by Beth Fowler, Lea Salonga, Marnie Nixon) – 3:03
  • Japan CD Mini single
  1. "Reflection" (performed by Christina Aguilera) – 3:34
  2. "Reflection" (performed by Lea Salonga) – 2:27
  • Taiwan CD Mini single Promo
  1. "Reflection" (performed by Christina Aguilera) – 3:34
  2. "True To Your Heart" (performed by 98 Degrees & Stevie Wonder) – 4:17
  • US CD single Promo[17]
  1. "Reflection" – 3:34


Chart (1998) Peak
South Africa (RISA)[18] 87
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[13] 19
Chart (2014) Peak
South Korean International Singles (Gaon)[19] 86

International versionsEdit

When the movie was first released in 1998, it numbered 30 dubbed-versions worldwide.[20] Over the years, this number has increased to 40 official versions, to which some unofficial versions have been added by local TV stations and studios in their local languages: namely Arabic (TV version),[21] Armenian,[22] Karachay-Balkar[23] and Tagalog.[24]

Edyta Górniak recorded a Polish version of the song titled Lustro (Mirror) to promote the movie. Anabela Braz Pires, European Portuguese singing voice of Mulan, along with the whole European Portuguese movie cast, won a prize for the best foreign version, while Yè Bēi [cmn], who provided Mulan's singing voice in the Mainland Mandarin Chinese version, was hailed as one of the "10 best versions of the world" by Disney director of production.[25]

Other versionsEdit

The group Mannheim Steamroller covered the song on their 1999 album, Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse. Michael Crawford covered this song in The Disney Album. His rendition replaces the word "girl" with "man" in order to avoid gender confusion. 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.[27] Jackie Evancho also covered the song on her fourth studio album, Songs from the Silver Screen.[28] In La Voz... Argentina (the Argentinian version of The Voice), the Spanish version of the song was covered by Sofia Rangone.[29] During the Chinese competition show Singer 2018, British Singer Jessie J performed a rearranged version of the song, during episode 11, gaining her fifth first place.


  1. ^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Mulan: Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "Digital Sheet Music – Lea Salonga Reflection (from 'Mulan')". Walt Disney Publishing Company. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Tan, Irving. "Review: Soundtrack (Disney) - Mulan". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Dominguez 2003, p. 43
  5. ^ Dominguez 2003, p. 38
  6. ^ a b c Dominguez 2003, p. 44
  7. ^ "Disney's Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 110 (19): 20. May 9, 1998. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  8. ^ "リフレクション" [Reflection] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stepehn. "Reflection: Overview". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
  10. ^ Johnson, Beth (August 20, 1999). "Christina Aguilera (1999)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (June 2, 1998). "Mulan Soundtrack Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Dominguez 2003, p. 45
  13. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2007). Top Adult Songs 1961-2006. Record Research, Inc. p. 5. ISBN 0-89820-169-1.
  14. ^ a b Dominguez 2003, p. 46
  15. ^ "Christina Aguilera Live". Intimate and Interactive. May 17, 2000. Event occurs at 60. MuchMusic.
  16. ^ " 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.
  17. ^ Reflection (CD single liner notes). Christina Aguilera. Hollywood Records. 1998. 03MS32900.CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ "Divas of South Africa & America − South African Divas Singles". Geocities. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  19. ^ "Gaon Singles Chart (International)" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  20. ^ "Mulan". Charguigou. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  21. ^ RobodL96 (June 20, 2014), Reflection (Arabic TV), retrieved November 2, 2016
  22. ^ Robodl96 (October 22, 2016), Reflection (Armenian), retrieved November 2, 2016
  23. ^ Robodl96 (August 16, 2015), Reflection (Karachay-Balkar), retrieved November 2, 2016
  24. ^ "Tagalog". Charguigou. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  25. ^ "Mulan". Charguigou. Archived from the original on April 28, 2016. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  26. ^ "Mulan". Charguigou. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  27. ^ "Top 20". American Idol (television show). Jordin Sparks. 2007.CS1 maint: others (link)
  28. ^ "Songs from the Silver Screen". Target Corporation. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  29. ^ "Termino Una etapa en 'La Voz Argentina'". Diario Show (in Spanish). August 12, 2012. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012.


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