Home >> Write >> People In The News >> Top 50 >> Ciara
Ciara just like a boy, except if that boy was an incredibly attractive girl
Oh, it’s a great time to be Ciara. At only a little over twenty years old, this alluring young woman can already call herself a singer, actress, songwriter, dancer AND record producer. There will be no twenty-something, what-should-I-do-with-my-life crisis for this bundle of talent. Ciara the singer (and actress, songwriter, dancer and record producer.) is living large, planted firmly on the path to success. To get to know this intriguing young woman a little bit better, let’s first get the basics out of the way. Ciara is NOT a stage name, as many have come to speculate; Ciara was born Ciara Princess Harris on October 25, 1985 in Austin, Texas. She was an only child and an army brat—her father’s work with the United States Army moved the Harris family to and from various army bases: New York, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, even Germany.
Finally, when Ciara was in her teens, the Harris family chose a settling place: Atlanta, Georgia. It was in Atlanta that Ciara experienced the moment that would change her life and fast-track her to stardom. One day, while staying home from school, Ciara was flipping television channels and landed on a televised concert by super-popular R&B/pop group, Destiny’s Child. Something about the three divas’ performance stirred Ciara, and she knew that her destiny had just called: “Oh, Ciara,” it seemed to say, “you are meant to be Ciara the Singer.” From that moment on, ciara immersed herself in songwriting. She joined a girl group called Hearsay, writing songs, performing, and eventually recording a demo tape. Sadly, catfights and creative differences lead ciara to leave Hearsay before the girl group ever really went anywhere. But again, destiny was knocking at Ciara’s door.
Her parting of ways with the gals of Hearsay left Ciara wide open to meet the man she now describes as her “musical soulmate,” producer Jazze Pha. Ciara graduated Riverdale High in Georgia in 2003. Most of her classmates struggled with typical post-high school issues: Oh, what should I do next? I must Get Up out of bed and make a decision. I made a Promise to myself to be someone by the time I was 21. Should I go to college or travel or work? If I go to college, should I go to Harvard or Yale? Should I major in political science or English literature? Ciara, however, had things pretty much figured out. With the help of Jazze Pha, Ciara was signed to LaFace Records by executive L.A. Reid. Ciara the Singer was born.
he album, called Goodies, delivered what its title promised. Ciara’s debut was an impressive one. Her first single, also called Goodies, soared to number one on the Billboard chart. Her debut album debuted at number three on the Billboard chart, sold over 5 million copies worldwide, gathered up awards and nominations at the speed of light, and produced three top-two singles. Goodies lyrics established Ciara as a sexy, independent woman. She warned all men looking for the goodies to “keep looking ‘cause they stay in the jar.” With these simple ciara lyrics, Ciara the singer established herself as a strong and classy alternative to some of the more established pop divas out there, whose lyrics suggested they were ready and willing to have their buttons loosened up. But, like we said, the Goodies song wasn’t the only goody to come off the Goodies album. Ciara the Singer released two more hit singles off Goodies. One was called 1, 2 Step and featured the legendary Missy Elliot. The other was the efficiently-titled Oh and featured Ludacris. Sadly, the fourth single, And I, did poorly. Not that it mattered. Ciara had established herself as a star. Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t just the record-buying audience who had noticed Ciara. Several recording artists astutely noted that Ciara was a singer full of Promise, and featured her on their own singles. For example, Ciara’s vocals can be heard on Missy Elliot’s Lose Control and on Bow Wow’s Like You. Both of these singles, by the way, peaked at number three. It seems like working with Ciara the Singer is a recipe for success. Meanwhile, Gwen Stefani okayed Ciara as her opening act. Oh! And let’s not forget the industry itself. Goodies brought Ciara a goody bag worth of nominations and awards. She received Grammy nods for Best New Artist, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (for 1, 2, Step), Best Rap Song, and Best Short Form Music. Lose Control, her duet with Missy Elliot, earned sensational Ciara her first Grammy. Ciara followed up her first album with her first acting gig: a role in the MTV production All You’ve Got. She played Becca, a volleyball star. Late 2006 was a great time to be a Ciara fan. The singer graced the world with a second album, aptly titled Ciara: The Evolution. On this album, Ciara collaborated with numerous musical greats: Pharell, Jazze Pha, Will.i.am, Rodney Jerkins, and Brian Michael Cox. The amount of creativity and talent poured into this album was reflected in its performance.
The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and has spawned three top twenty singles. In North America, the first single was Promise. In Europe and Asia, meanwhile, the first single was Like a Boy. A third single, My Love, is to be released in June 2007. Around this time, Get Up will be released in the U.K. We’ve all heard Goodies, Promise, Get Up, Like a Boy, Get Up and Oh, but how exactly can we define the Ciara body of work thus far? It definitely isn’t plain old pop, and it doesn’t sound like regular R & B, either. Most critics would put the work of Ciara into the category of Crunk & B. They’d even go so far as to name Ciara the Crunk & B reigning princess, or the First Lady of Crunk & B. Crunk (a term thought to be derived from the words crazy and drunk, or chronic and drunk) is a sub-form of R & B, spawned in the musical mecca of Memphis, Tennessee. In slang, crunk often refers to someone who’s intoxicated off a mix of alcohol and marijuana—so drunk you’re crazy drunk. In music, however, crunk refers to the alluring offspring of Memphis rap, Miami bass, and electro music. Unlike East Coast rap, which depends heavily on lyrics, crunk feels almost designed for partying it up in a nightclub: high energy, bumpin’ beats, simple, sing-along-able refrains. In fact, crunk tunes are so club-friendly that some of them have been banned from nightclub playlists because the nightclub guests (who are probably crunk in that other sense of the word) get too crazy. It’s quite possible you’re raising your eyebrows, wondering if crunk is a new genre. Well, yes and no. Crunk has been around for awhile—since the early 1990s, to be precise—but crunk didn’t hit the mainstream until the early 2000s. It’s no wonder that mainstream audiences are only just now becoming familiar with the term as a way to describe some of their favorite tunes, rather than just a way to describe the typical Friday night state of their neighbor’s handsome but unruly teenage son. Rap connoisseurs may remember a 1997 rap chart-climbing single called Tear Da Club Up ’97 by Three 6 Mafia. This song is thought to be the earliest hit crunk single.
Throughout the early 1990s, in the year 2003 especially, crunk songs made the transition from obscurity to popularity. Some notable crunk hits include Never Scared by Bone Crusher; Salt Shaker by the Ying Yang Twins; Damn! By YoungBloodZ; and the mega-popular Get Low by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz. An interesting bit of crunk trivia is that crunk artists tend to help each other out. For example, Salt Shaker featured Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, while Get Low featured the Ying Yang Twins. Out of all of these artists, however, Lil Jon seems to be the reigning crunk king. He became so respected by crunk artists and crunk wannabes that Usher had no choice but to Get Up and enlist the help of Lil Jon to produce his single, Yeah! We all remember Yeah! – this club anthem ended up being the number one single of 2004. But Yeah! Wasn’t Lil Jon’s only crunked hit that year. This crunk Confucius was called upon to produce another number one song that year. That song was – Oh yeah, you guessed it – Goodies, by ciara. In short, Ciara is talented, sexy and groundbreaking. She can count herself among those crunk artists whose songs get banned at club due to crazy crowds. The question is, are they going crazy because the song is so irresistibly infectious, or because they’re imaging ciara the singer giving them a bit of Goodies? Between her breathy voice, come-hither features and toned body, Ciara can send hormones into a frenzy faster than a shot of Southern Comfort. Plus, she’s so confident. Nobody’s getting into her goody jar – and she doesn’t think other girls should be opening up theirs so easily, either. Ciara is, after all, the girl who broke up with her boyfriend at the age of sixteen to give her all to her dreams of a musical career. She hopes her music will inspire similar independence in her female fans. Best of all, Ciara remains humble and philosophical, determined to stay grounded in her regular girl roots. Consider this musing: “I'm not a Barbie. Just a regular around-the-way girl. I keep it cool. Keep it real.” Expect this Dirty South princess to sweep the charts clean for years to come.