Take the best songwriters and the best singers, add the most exciting performers and the best all around personalities, throw in the hottest looks and the sexiest smiles --- mix them all together and the finished product would probably look and sound a lot like Ciara. The 18-year-old beauty from Atlanta is the latest multi-talented scene-stealer to nudge her way to center stage with attention-grabbing vocals, irresistible songwriting and killer dance moves. The Austin, Texas native – a 'military brat' has lived in Germany, New York, California, Arizona and Nevada – moved to Atlanta as a child and, since that time, has found herself in the mix with some of the city's biggest and brightest producers, among them Jazze Pha -- who signed Ciara to his Sho' Nuff label after working with her for a mere five days -- and his royal crunkness Lil' Jon, who produced the singer's lead single, the "Crunk & B" cautionary wrist-slapper "Goodies." Dubbed as the First Lady of "Crunk & B", Ciara is only the second artist (the first was Usher with his hit single "Yeah") to release a Crunk & B song. Says Lil' Jon of the newly-formed genre, "Crunk & B songs are R&B songs that get you crunk. They make you wanna wild out. ['Goodies'] is a female empowerment record. The female has the power. The female is in control on this song. This is one of those records for the ladies." "I'm so happy I wrote 'Goodies'," Ciara enthuses. "I pray everybody gets it the way they're supposed to." In the hook, Ciara warns, "If you're looking for the goodies keep on looking 'cause they stay in the jar." "I think we all run across this problem," she explains. "A guy thinks you're gonna be with him because he's got the iced out chain, he's popular and all that. But that ain't it. That ain't gonna make me give you my number and that's definitely not gonna make me go home with you. It's the truth."
Jon says he was impressed by Ciara's approach to the song, which she co-wrote with "Yeah" songwriter Sean Garrett. "She did an excellent job on it," says Jon. "With this record, it's the way she rides over the track, the way she freaks the beat and the stuff that she says to connect her with other women. She's saying stuff that women can relate to. Guys are always trying to get some from a girl and she's like you can't have it. That's what makes her stand out and this is one of those records with that undeniable energy where as soon as the beat comes on it catches you and makes you move. You can't sit still when that song comes on. Crunk music, you can't fake because it's all about the energy. It's gotta be real."
And Ciara is as real as they come. Her self-titled Sho' Nuff/LaFace/Zomba Label Group debut is a heaping dose of real life issues conveyed through everyday language and extraordinary production and vocal delivery. The album is a complete work of art and a masterful mixture of messages for the young and not so young. On "Thugstyle," a song she wrote with songwriter Johnta Austin (Toni Braxton, Aaliyah) Ciara displays her true 'round the way girl' nature. "It's kinda how a guy would talk to a female, always spittin' game," she explains. "To me, it's a little slick. It's just a fun record. Everyone loves to sing along with it."
"Looking at You" and "Pick up the Phone" with their groove-heavy tracks and sassy vocals, are signature Ciara, who says the latter, written and produced by Austin and Jazze Pha, talks about something that "everybody goes through." "I love this record because it's so real. I say, 'You know it would be nice if you could call somebody and let somebody know that you're alright….I know you see me on the caller I.D. so pick up the p-h-o-n-e.'"
The slow and sweet "And I," which Ciara did with producer Adonis, is about "loving someone for who they are and not what they have." And "Ooh Baby," written by Sean Garrett and Keri Hilson (Reuben Studdard, 3LW) is about good old-fashioned infatuation. "I'm just really into this guy," Ciara explains, in character. "I consider myself a 'round-the-way girl, down to earth and basically the kind of guy I like is like this guy who pulls up in the F-150 pickup with the crazy banging system. He's a 'round-the-way dude, kinda 'hood. But I'm like really into him."
With its easy-to-relate-to subject matter, the album is listener-friendly and accessible to anyone who knows even the slightest bit about 'keeping it real.' "The songs are very catchy," says Ciara. "They're for all demographics, all age ranges….They're not as personal as I want to be. I'd rather be more personal on the second album, once I grow a little more."
Considering the short time that she's been in the music business – about three years – Ciara has grown plenty. She admits that she's a bit more mature than the average teenager. "Throughout life I've experienced a lot more than the typical 18 year old has. And being in this industry makes you develop more quickly than a typical child would. You mature faster." But much of Ciara's growth and maturity come from her determination to pursue her dreams. "I remember watching Destiny's Child perform on TV one day. That's when I made up my mind: 'Hey I wanna do this.' I watched my peers around me and they were worried about who's wearing what, going to school, trying to talk to somebody and I was like 'I'm trying to be somebody. What can I do to get there as soon as possible?'"
Ciara set her sights on her dream and went after it. "I wrote down on paper that I had a goal to be a professional singer and I wanna be there soon….I had to sacrifice a lotta things and I think that was the key thing to get me there. I cut out going to the movies, I cut out hanging with my friends, I actually told some of my friends 'This month we're not gonna hang out or talk on the phone.' I don't have too many friends anyway – less is better for me. I cut out the boyfriend – actually I had my heart broken so I was really like, 'I'm 'bout to do this. I'm 'bout to be on top.'"
From there, things moved swiftly: She joined a girl group, left the group to go solo, nabbed a publishing deal and eventually hooked up with Jazze Pha, whom she refers to as her "music soul mate." "God really put him in my life for a reason," she says. "Our vibe is incredible."
And now Ciara is ready to share her vibe with the rest of the world, but "It's not just about penning clever lyrics and singing and dancing to a banging track," she says. "My goal is to deliver a positive message and let people know they're not the only one going through things….I've been blessed to be able to counsel my peers. I'm here to deliver a message and I think the impression that you make is very important. I don't wanna write records just to write. I wanna have a message to everything that I write. That gives you longevity."
Ciara and Usher Lead Soul Train Nominees
In a surprise to absolutely no one, R&B singer Usher led the nominees for the 19th annual Soul Train Music Awards, organizers said on Tuesday.
Usher, whose current album, "Confessions," was the biggest seller of 2004 with U.S. sales of almost eight million copies, will compete in five categories.
Crunk newcomer Ciara and Beyonce Knowles landed four nominations each, though two of Knowles' nods were with her trio, Destiny's Child. Alicia Keys had three nominations. The awards will be taped on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood on Feb. 28, and will air in syndication on March 12.
Usher and Keys already have eight nominations each at the Grammy Awards, which take place on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles, second only to Kanye West with 10 mentions.
Last November, Usher was the top winner at the American Music Awards, scoring in all four categories in which he was nominated.
His Soul Train nominations include best R&B soul single and album (male), music video and dance cut. Additionally, his duet with Keys, "My Boo," was named in the R&B/soul single (group, band, duo) race, where its rivals include Destiny's Child's "Lose My Breath" and the Knowles/Luther Vandross duet "The Closer I Get To You."
Destiny's Child was also nominated for R&B/album (group, band, duo), and Knowles for R&B/soul single (female), a category also including Ciara and Keys. These two will also compete against each other for R&B/soul album (female). Ciara's other two nods were for best new artist and dance cut.
Ciara is the first girl to step up with the ''goodies''
As crunk continues to blaze its way through everything in its path, Ciara, the girl behind the face of the movement aka lil’ Jon, is the first of the ladies to step up with the ‘good...ies’, do the wassup, thunderclap, rock away and other call and response antics of that nature. Let’s meet her!
Apparantly you’re the girl behind crunk ‘n’ b, I take it that’s crunk mixed with R&B or something?
Yea…It’s basically crunk beats with singing on top
And who came up with the innovative concept?
Who also discovered you?
Cool – and you’re from the South too?
Is it really as party oriented as it appears? I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting just yet.
Yea it’s crazy, the best parties in the world always be in Atlanta.
Did you know that your name means ‘moving vehicle’ in Arabic?
(Laughs) Really? I didn’t know that! I know that there’s a type of car called ‘Sierra’…
No that’s different
Is it pronounced the same way as my name, ‘see-ya-ra’?
Yep - exactly
I never knew that…
Is that you’re real name?
Nice. So, have you always been a fan of crunk or did Lil’ Jon push you to that direction?
I love crunk, always have.
Do you have any other musical tastes?
Oh a lot, I love R&B, soul, I like a lot of stuff.
Did you collaborate with anyone else on the album?
Yea! Missy Elliot, Petey Pablo, Ludacris, R.Kelly.
Wow – that’s some serious name dropping for a debut.
Yea I’m very blessed and thankful for the opportunity.
How are you feeling as an artist now that your single’s number 1 in the States?
Oh it feels amazing, I’m so happy, I just hope the same happens over here in the UK
It’s your first time in the UK?
You like it?
I do, it’s very similar to home actually.
Same dress sense… food, attitude
Really? You think so?
I mean your portions are a lot smaller! But all round, London reminds me a lot of back home.
Right. Back to the crunk issue, what is about the sound that you feel makes it so attractive?
It’s a proud music, it’s loud, it’s real party focused – it’s like Hypnotic (the drink), it gets you hypnotised almost …it’s catchy and undeniable...you just have to love it!
Are you to crunk ‘n’ b what Lil’ Jon is to crunk?
I don’t know! I know I’m like the first woman to come out of crunk but it’s not like I wanna give myself a title like the ‘princess of crunk’ or ‘the first lady’ or whatever.
Oh come on stop with the modesty please!
No for real, I’m just doing my thang!
What’s next for Ciara then? Movies? More albums?
Well I’m planning on becoming the female P.Diddy
Reaaaallllyyy? (whhhaaaattt? Someone stealing ma spot?! Surely not)
Yea so I have A LOT in store…I’m building an empire
Describe yourself in 3 words would you?
Innovative, fresh and HOT!
Any messages for the streets of the UK?
Thanks for all the love and support and go cop the album!
Ciara’s single ‘Goodies’ is out January 10th with her debut album of the same name out January 24th.
Singer Ciara inspires by 'P Diddy'
Sean 'P Diddy' Combs is inspiring R+B singer Ciara - who wants a career like the music mogul.
The Goodies singer, 18, wants to combine the best qualities of the entrepreneurial rapper and 50-year-old American TV host Oprah Winfrey in living a successful life.
Ciara says, "A combination of those two would be great. I'm going to emulate the careers of those who have gone before me."
As for working with Missy Elliot on track 1, 2 Step, she comments, "Missy wrote the song and just called me to record."
"I'm singing on the hook with her and on a verse. It's really good."
Ciara is not materialistic at all
If 18-year-old Ciara Harris wasn't impressed by guys who were ballin' before, imagine how tough it's going to be now that she's had the #1 song in the country for three weeks in a row.
'' I'm breaking it down, man, I'm not materialistic at all'', the singer explained about the lyrics in her hit song'' Goodies'', which features Petey Pablo. "Just because you drive a Benz, I'm not goin' home with you," she sings. "You won't get no nookie or the cookies, I'm no rookie."
"Basically the record is talking about women, what young ladies and women go through," she continued. "Like if you're at the mall or in the club, wherever you are, the guys think they can come with like, 'I got an iced-out chain, I got the bling-bling watch, a Cutlass on 22s.' They're flossing real hard and they think that just 'cause they got it, it's gonna be easy. It's not that easy."
Ciara, whose September 28 debut is also called Goodies, says that while she has another track on her album that women will find empowering, for the most part she tried to keep it universal.
"It's about everybody," she said of the project. "You'll have songs with different emotions, happy, sad, 'my heart is broken.' What everybody goes through.
"There's a song called 'Pick Up the Phone,' " she added. "It basically talks about having that significant other and you're just saying, 'Pick up the phone, I know you see my number on the caller ID.' I have another record called 'Thug Style.' I'm spitting game to a boy like how a boy would spit to a girl. 'Hey you, it's me/ Turn the music down so you can hear my invitation/ Now what I want you to do is come through to the crib without hesitation.' "
Jazze Pha was the executive producer on the album and Ciara also worked with Lil Jon (who produced "Goodies"), R. Kelly, Missy Elliott and Ludacris.
"I'm very content right now," she said of her success. "I take everything a day at a time. Every time I hear good news, I'm shouting out, 'Praise God.' Everybody around me is so excited, I still haven't got it. I haven't really felt it like they're feeling it for me."
Besides the version of "Goodies" that's already dominating the charts, there is a remix of the track on mixtapes featuring T.I. and Jazze Pha. Ciara's label is not yet sure whether a video will be coming for that record.
Ciara is the First Lady of Crunk&B
This First Lady of Crunk&B is not only phenomenally sexy -- she could give Beyonce a spanking -- but her grooves are so infectious that some clubs banned her records. The crowd just gets too wild. Who wouldn't want to get a handful of her goodies from the jar?
She's the hottest female voice from the Dirty South, touted as the next big thing by crunk guru Lil Jon. Her album Goodies is a sales champ, thanks to her many collaborations with stars like Ludacris, Missy Elliott and R. Kelly. Ciara is a relative newcomer to the music scene, but already she's catching the attention of musical heavyweights. For a 19-year-old, her attitude and lyrics are way past her years; her simple beats, stripped of clutter and frills, have a tribal intoxication that only the musically able can pull off.
Ciara Princess Harris was born on October 25, 1985, in Austin, Texas. Her father was a military man, and towed her to his various posts in Germany, New York, California, Arizona, and Nevada. They finally settled in Atlanta, capital of the Dirty South, while she was still a little girl. At first, Ciara wanted to become a model, but her affinity for music made her think bigger, which her breathy, sexy voice enforced. One day she saw Destiny's Child perform on TV and decided that that was what she was going to do. Ciara decides to become a singer. So she wrote down on a piece of paper that she wanted to be a professional singer, and she wanted it soon. It was no joke. She gave up movies, cut down on phone time and spent less time with her friends. She even broke up with her boyfriend.
Surprise: she was voted "Most likely to become famous" in high school. She joined a girl group called Hearsay that performed in Atlanta, but it was short-lived. She went solo, quickly grabbing a recording deal (how could she not?). It all happened very quickly, but Ciara never hesitated. It was this self-assurance in the 16-year-old that grabbed the attention of Atlanta producer Jazze Pha, who immediately set out to make her a record under his Sho' Nuff label.
She wasn't just that good. She was good enough to drop the jaws of R&B master Lil Jon, who pioneered the crunk genre. In his words: "Crunk & B songs are R&B songs that get you crunk. They make you wanna wild out." Lil Jon produced her hit single "Goodies," a song about female empowerment whose verses ("If you're looking for the goodies keep on looking 'cause they stay in the jar.") tell guys that having bling and a cool posse aren't enough to get her into your car.
Other songs on Ciara's debut album bounce with confident messages, dealing with real-life issues and giving a voice to young girls. And with only three years in the music biz, she has lots of star power to her credit. Missy Elliott, Petey Pablo and Ludacris lend their voices to some tracks, and R. Kelly wrote "Next To You" for her.
But she doesn't let her guests overshadow her own voice. "They spice a record; they add a little seasoning to it. I'm the dressing, and they put a little gravy on it," she says.
Ciara has a strong character for a girl so young. While most teen girls are impressionable and eager to please, Ciara (at least in her lyrics) has the determined persona of someone who's figured out what she wants. Her music, she says, is her way of passing on that self-assurance to other girls. Ciara may have the hand of top producers in her album, but the voice and words are all hers. She has a lyrical panache; her words are funky, rhythmic and expressive. And she lets her voice carry itself without the need for synthesized garnishes. It's just her, the beat, and the baseline. This laid-bare sound is the essence of crunk.
Hold up. Ciara isn't just sexy, she redefines sexy. From her deep black eyes draped by dirty-blonde long hair, you feel as if you're tracing a path down the side of a cello. A really feminine, hard-bodied cello with full lips and a big ol' booty. Ciara has a tummy toned to perfection and when she juts her hips to the side, the world is a beautiful place.
Ciara wasn't content with the status quo. She looked around and saw her peers aspire to nothing greater than the acquisition of clothes. No, this girl had a message and wouldn't sit around in complacency. So she wrote her goal of being a professional singer on a piece of paper and held on to it. It started with a girl group called Hearsay, and evolved into a solo career. She got a recording contract and soon met Atlanta producer Jazze Pha, who hooked her up with crunk guru Lil Jon. It was he who produced "Goodies," her smash single and crunk party anthem.
Today Ciara enjoys continuous album sales and is a constant attendee at major music events like the MTV Video Music Awards and the BET Awards.
Ciara creates a buzz for her new album ''Goodies''
Ciara says that when she first heard the Lil' Jon-produced crunk beat she was given, she was a little hesitant to try to write a song to it. But the 18-year-old R&B singer is glad she did now that her hit, Goodies, is blazing up the music charts. (It's No. 7 on Airplay Monitor's rhythmic top 40 chart.) Rowdy rappers are usually more in tune with the high-energy party sound, but like Usher's Yeah!, Goodies is helping establish the new genre that Lil' Jon calls "crunk & B."
The song also gave the Atlanta singer a chance to deliver a message to guys that it takes more than a flashy car to win over some women. "It's something we go through all the time. You're at the mall and a guy pulls up in a Benz on 22s (-inch rims) and he's got the bling-bling chain and the blinged-out watch, and that makes it easy for you to leave with him. Actually, it's not."
Ciara's album, also titled Goodies, is due Sept. 14, and she co-wrote virtually every track. It has been overseen by hit-making producer Jazze Pha, who signed her to his Sho'nuff Records label. In addition to working with him and Lil' Jon, she also did tracks with R. Kelly and Jermaine Dupri. She feels fortunate that her album didn't get lost in the shuffle accompanying the dissolution of parent labels Arista and LaFace Records. "When you make that kind of transition, you expect everything to stop because I'm a new artist, and I was thinking, 'How are they going to care about me?' Obviously, though, they really believed in me, and I had a great single already in hand."
Ciara was born in Austin, but she bounced around as a military brat in Germany and several U.S. posts before her family settled in Atlanta. She always knew she wanted to be a model, dancer or some kind of entertainer but became certain she wanted to be a singer while sitting in front of the TV. "I was watching Destiny's Child one day on Good Morning America and I felt like I was on stage. I was like, 'Man, Ciara, this is what you need to do. This is your calling.' " She made herself a goal sheet of things she needed to do to make her dream a reality. She quickly cut other things out of her life, including cheerleading and track at North Clayton High School, where she competed in relays, the long jump and triple jump. She won a contest to be part of a girl group, but that didn't work out, and she decided to go solo.
Ciara is hoping to create a buzz for her album by playing as much as she can before live audiences. She's currently making weekend stops with singer/songwriter Maria Mena on the Teen People Rock 'n' Shop Mall Tour. She's also doing several radio shows, including major ones in Los Angeles and Chicago. Now that she has a hit record, the always-focused Ciara has a new list of things she wants to accomplish, including becoming a respected songwriter. "You have to write things down. It's like you're speaking them into existence. You really have to be organized. I'm like, 'How can I be No. 1?' That's what's on my goal sheet now — how can I be on top?"
Ciara's debut album ''Goodies''
When I first heard about Ciara, I thought she was probably one of those young girls who wanted to be renowned, but had nothing exciting or new to offer. That was until I heard her debut album, entitled Goodies . Ciara should count herself lucky because in her debut albumn she had a rare opportunity to work with various music greats like R&B singer R Kelly and the eminent rapper, Ludacris, among others. The 18-year-old singer from Georgia , Atlanta , is the latest scene-stealer who is new on the music block.
According to her, Ciara wrote most of the songs on her 12-track Goodies album. “Goodies ” is an excellent introductory track, and “1, 2 Step”, the second track, will be a hit, I think. Missy Elliot does her rapping and Ciara adds her R&B vibe to the song. I did not think that the rest of the tracks would live up to the first two songs on the cd – but I was wrong. Ciara sings like she's been doing it for years and has vast experience, even if it is only her first albumn. The track that stood out for me was “ Oh” , which she sings with Ludacris. It is slow song, which balances the album, because the opening tracks are fast-paced. Ciara's with big names in the music industry on five of the tracks, and one might wonder if she can sing on her own. Well “Pick up the Phone ” proves that she can sing and I think it's one of the best songs on the Goodies albumn. R Kelly is an internationally acclaimed R&B superstar who is known to work with only the best – his involvement almost guarantees the success of any song. “Next to you”, which Ciara sings with R Kelly, makes me hope to see these stars working together again in the future. In this song, R Kelly doesn't do much of the singing, but he blends in nicely throughout the song.
Ciara is a product of LaFace Records, which supports artists like Usher, Blu Cantrell Donell Jones and many others. Goodies was produced by a variety of people, including rap star Jazze-Pha, who sings the last song with Ciara to bring us the bonus track of her album. This Goodies remix takes Goodies to another level - their individual singing and rapping abilities end the album with a bang.
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