Ciara attending Maxim magazine's 10th Annual Hot 100 Celebration in Santa Monica, California, on May 13, 2009
|Birth name||Ciara Princess Harris|
|Born||October 25, 1985 |
Austin, Texas, United States
|Origin||Atlanta, Georgia, United States|
|Genres||R&B, pop, hip hop, dance|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress, model|
|Labels||LaFace, Jive, Sho'nuff|
Ciara Princess Harris (born October 25, 1985), who performs under the mononym Ciara, is an American recording artist, dancer, actress, and fashion model. Born in Austin, Texas, she travelled around the world during her childhood, only to land in Atlanta, Georgia where she met music producer, Jazze Pha. With his help, she was signed to LaFace Records, and went on to become a successful artist, selling more than seven million albums worldwide and having numerous top ten hits.
In 2004 Ciara released her debut album Goodies which spawned the number one hits "Goodies" and "1, 2 Step", selling over five million copies worldwide and certified triple platinum in the United States. The album earned her four nominations at the 2004 Grammy Awards. In 2006, she released her second album, Ciara: The Evolution which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and included the hits "Get Up" and "Promise". Her third album Fantasy Ride released in May 2009, included the worldwide top ten hit single "Love Sex Magic" with Justin Timberlake which earned her a nomination at the 52nd Grammy Awards for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". Since making her musical debut in 2004, Ciara has attained five Billboard Hot 100 top ten singles including a number one. Prior to the release of her third album, Ciara has sold over seven million albums worldwide,and as of June 2010, she has sold more than 4.3 million albums and 6.9 million digital tracks in the United States alone.
Ciara was born in Austin, Texas on October 25, 1985 as the only child of Jackie and Carlton Harris. Since her father was in the United States Army, throughout her childhood Ciara grew up on army bases in Germany, New York, Utah, California, Arizona, and Nevada. In speaking of this, Ciara states that while she hated to lose good friends, this helps her in her career when she has to travel all over the world. During her teens, Ciara and her family settled in Atlanta. Ciara said that watching Destiny's Child and Janet Jackson perform on a television program while staying home from school inspired her to pursue a career in music, and cites superstar siblings Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson as her biggest inspiration. Ciara is quoted to have reached what she considered "a career pinnacle" when she recorded with Janet Jackson on Jackson's 2008 Discipline album.
2002–03: Hearsay and record deal
In her mid-teens Ciara formed the all girl group Hearsay with two of her friends. The group recorded demos, but as time went on they began to have differences and eventually parted ways. Despite this setback, Ciara was still determined to reach her goal and signed a publishing deal as a songwriter. Her first success was the song "Got Me Waiting" for R&B singer Fantasia Barrino's debut album, Free Yourself It was when she was writing songs that she met music producer, Jazze Pha, whom she called her "music soulmate". In 2002, the two recorded four demos, "1, 2 Step", "Thug Style", "Pick Up the Phone", and "Lookin' at You", which all appeared on her debut album which was released two years later. The former was the second single released from it and became a hit.
After graduating from Riverdale High School in Riverdale, Georgia in 2003, she was signed by LaFace Records executive, L.A. Reid, whom she was introduced to by Jazze Pha. She began production on her debut album later that year. In early 2004, Ciara wrote a demo with record producer, Sean Garrett. The demo was later brought to the attention of Lil Jon and became her debut single "Goodies". Lil Jon stated later that he knew it would be big seeing how it sounded similar to Usher's international hit, "Yeah!"
Ciara released her debut album Goodies on September 28, 2004. Following the release of the album, Ciara was hailed as the "Princess or First Lady of Crunk&B". She worked with several writers and producers on the album, including Jazze Pha (who discovered her), Lil Jon, Bangladesh, R. Kelly, Johntá Austin, Sean Garrett, and Keri Hilson, among others. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200, selling 124,750 copies in its initial week and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Goodies itself had a seventy-one week stint on the Billboard 200, and certified three times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on October 10, 2006, and has sold around 2.7 million copies in the United States as of June 2010. Charting at twenty-two on the Canadian Albums Chart, it was certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. The album charted at twenty-six on the UK Albums Chart, and spent twenty weeks on the chart. It was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry, remaining to be Ciara's sole certified album in the UK.
Goodies's lead single, the title track, featuring Petey Pablo, was released on June 8, 2004. Conceived as a crunk female counterpart to Usher's "Yeah", the lyrical content goes against the grain, speaking of abstinence, rejecting advances because "the goodies will stay in the jar." Critics hailed it as an "anthem of the summer" and one of the best singles of the year, complementing its dance-feel and beat, and the irony of the "clever" lyrics. The single performed well worldwide, topping the charts in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, and charting in the top ten of other charts, receiving Platinum certification in the United States. "1, 2 Step" featuring Missy Elliott was released as the album's second single. While topping the charts in Canada, it additionally appeared the in top ten of six other countries, and was certified Platinum or Gold in multiple regions. The song was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 48th Grammy Awards. "Oh" featuring Ludacris was released as the third single on March 5, 2005. The song performed well worldwide, appearing in the top ten of seven charts, and certified either Platinum or Gold in multiple regions.
Following the success of the album, Ciara released a CD/DVD entitled Goodies: The Videos & More in the United States on July 12, 2005 which featured remixes to "1, 2 Step" and "Oh", including two new songs. The release was certified platinum in the United States. Ciara also served as an opening act for Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers Tour 2005 and went on tour with Chris Brown and Bow Wow on the Holiday Jam Tour in December 2005. She made a guest appearance on Missy Elliott's single "Lose Control" and also on Bow Wow's single "Like You", which both peaked at number three in the United States and obtained worldwide success. At the 48th Grammy Awards, Ciara received four nominations including a Grammy award for "Best New Artist", "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" for "1, 2 Step", and "Best Rap Song" for "Lose Control" for Elliot's single. She won "Best Short Form Music Video" with Elliott for the single.
2006–07: Ciara: The Evolution
Ciara: The Evolution
On December 5, 2006 Ciara released her second studio album, Ciara: The Evolution. According to the singer, the title of the album is "about so much more than just my personal growth -- it's about the evolution of music, the evolution of dance, the evolution of fashion". The source of the album's creativity such as the sound and edge comes from Ciara in general.Although, Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna were influences on the album. Ciara worked with a new line of producers including Rodney Jerkins, Pharrell, Bryan-Michael Cox, Will.i.am and many others, as well as working with producers Jazze Pha and Lil Jon who previously worked with the singer on her debut album.
Ciara: The Evolution became Ciara's first number one album on the US Billboard 200 and second on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts with sales of more than 338,000 becoming her highest first week of sales to date. The album went on to be certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States, within only five weeks of its release. It sold over two million copies worldwide. The album's international lead single "Get Up" which features Chamillionaire reached number seven in the United States and gained a platinum accreditation. It reached number five in New Zealand. The song was used for the film Step Up and featured on the film's soundtrack. The album's lead single in the United States, "Promise" reached number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her third number one single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. "Like a Boy" was released as the second international single which reached within the top twenty in the UK, Finland, France, Ireland, Sweden Switzerland, and also in the United States.
In support of the album, Ciara headlined The Evolution Tour in October 2006. The tour went to seventeen different clubs in cities throughout the United States. In August 2007 she headlined the Screamfest '07 tour with fellow rapper, T.I.. Ciara along with Chris Brown and Akon, was a support act for Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad Tour in the United Kingdom. She made guest appearances on singles such as "So What" by Field Mob and also on Tiffany Evans' single "Promise Ring". In addition to her music, Ciara made her acting debut in the MTV Films production All You've Got in May 2006. In the movie she played Becca Whiley, a teenager who is competing in a Volleyball Tournament. Ciara became the face of Jay-Z's Rocawear clothing line and spokesperson for the women campaign entitled "I Will Not Lose", which debuted in the summer of 2007.
2008–09: Fantasy Ride
In October 2008 Ciara was honored as Billboard's "Woman of the Year", because of her success as a recording artist and leadership in embracing the changing music business. In the October issue of Vibe Magazine, Ciara appeared to be naked on the magazine's cover but she has stated that Vibe airbrushed her clothes off to make it appear she was completely nude. Ciara told MTV News she was hurt by the photos and was quite shocked when she finally got her hands on the month's issue. She later confirmed that she was in fact clothed. Although her third album was originally intended for a September 2008 release, Fantasy Ride was released after a number of delays in May 2009. It became Ciara's first top ten album in the UK and Canada. In the United States, Fantasy Ride debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, becoming Ciara's third consecutive album to debut within the top three on the chart.
The album's lead single "Never Ever" which featured Young Jeezy was released in the United States in January 2009 and reached a peak of number nine on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The second single "Love Sex Magic" featuring Justin Timberlake successfully became a worldwide hit, reaching within the top ten in eleven countries including the US where it reached a peak of number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. It went on to be certified platinum in Australia and received a gold accreditation in New Zealand. It received a nomination for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" at the 52nd Grammy Awards and also for Best Choreography in a Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. In July 2009, Ciara headlined the Jay-Z & Ciara Live tour with Jay-Z. She was also the support act for Britney Spears's Circus tour, where she performed eight nights at London's prestigious O2 Arena during June 2009. Ciara made a guest appearance on Nelly's single "Stepped On My J'z" from his album Brass Knuckles, and also on Enrique Iglesias' international hit single, "Takin' Back My Love", from his Greatest Hits album.
2010–present: Basic Instinct
Basic Instinct (album)
In February 2010, rapper Ludacris released a remix to his single "How Low" which had Ciara as a featured artist alongside Miami rapper Pitbull. In March 2010 Ciara made a cameo appearance in the music video of Usher's single, "Lil' Freak". Her fourth studio album Basic Instinct was released in December 2010. Ciara told Pete Lewis of Blues & Soul magazine, that the album "is really about her trusting her instinct and going back to the R&B/urban basics in her music – like where she first started, in the days of "Goodies" and "1, 2 Step". It was executively produced by the singer alongside her A&R agent Mark Pitts and writing/production duo Tricky Stewart and The-Dream who, also produced records for her previous album, Fantasy Ride. Basic Instinct debuted at number forty-four on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 37,000 copies. Consequently, it marks the first time in Ciara's career that one of her album's has missed the top three, as well as continuing a downward trend in success. On the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, the album opened at number eleven,again becoming Ciara's lowest charting album of her career thus far.
"Ride", which features Ludacris, was released as the album's lead single on April 26, 2010. It peaked at number forty-two on the US Billboard Hot 100, number three on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.,and achieved minor success in the UK. It became Ciara's twelfth top-ten R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit. The song won the award for "Best Dance Performance" at the 2010 Soul Train Music Awards. "Gimmie Dat" was released as the third single off the album on November 2, 2010, the follow-up to her minor hit "Speechless". It has reached a current peak of number sixty-seven on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and has achieved minor success in the UK. In November 2010 Ciara travelled to Australia to be part of the Summerbeatz tour alongside Flo Rida, Jay Sean, Akon, Travie McCoy and Ja Rule.
Music and voice
"Oh" makes uses of a heavy bassline, showcasing Ciara's trademark breathy vocals.
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With the release of her debut single "Goodies", Ciara was referred to as the Princess of Crunk&B. Allison Stewart of The Washington Post commented that she has a "reedy, agile voice, capable of conveying the only three emotions (sexy, sassy, sad) an R&B singer needs. Randall Roberts of Los Angeles Times commented that "Ciara has been the most synthetic of the R&B divas over the past decade, an electro-leaning vocalist whose instrumental palate has heavily favored stark 808 beats, sassy and seductive vocal lines." In reviewing her second album Ciara: The Evolution, Jody Rosen of Entertainment Weekly writes "Ciara's comfort with rave-inspired beats sets her apart from Cassie, Amerie, Rihanna, and other would-Beyoncés... singing is nimble throughout: She whispers, coos, wails, and reels off speedy syncopations worthy of Beyoncé herself." Her third album Fantasy Ride saw the singer showcasing a new pop and dance direction. Bill Lamb of About.com commented that her hit "Love Sex Magic" has a "retro funk guitar feel" to it and that "the song rides a beat that brings simultaneous echoes of 70's R&B and classic Janet Jackson. Ciara's music is generally contemporary R&B, but she also incoporates various styles of musical genres including, hip hop, crunk, rap, dance-pop, electro pop and funk into her songs. Critics have described her singles "Goodies", "1, 2 Step", "Get Up" and "Go Girl" as club bangers.
Ciara's debut album featured production from Jazze Pha who discovered her. Critics compared the album to the late singer Aaliyah. and said it had qualities of Destiny's Child. On her second album, Ciara worked with one of her debut album collaborators Lil Jon on "That's Right", sampling Pretty Tony's "Fix It in the Mix". She has also taken to sampling songs from other artist such as, Lyn Collins's "Think (About It)" and Rob Base's "It Takes Two" on "Make It Last Forever", Jive Rhythm Trax’s 80's electro cut "122 BPM" on "C.R.U.S.H" and also Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me by Now", sampling the chorus of the song onto "Never Ever".
In September 2008 Ciara contributed to the song "Just Stand Up!" with fifteen female artists, who shared the stage to perform the song live on September 5, 2008 during the "Stand Up to Cancer" television special. The proceeds from the single were given to the fundraiser. The television special helped raise $100 million dollars for cancer research.
In 2009 Ciara signed a multi-million dollar deal with the modeling agency Wilhelmina Models. After signing the deal she has been in many magazine spreads. In addition to that, she also has her eyes set on beginning a new clothing line. In June 2008 she was in talks with the department store Steve & Barry's to create an affordable clothing line. On November 9, 2009 it was announced that Ciara would be modeling in the German edition of "Vogue". During that time, it was also announced that Ciara would be the new face of a major multimedia ad campaign for Verizon's smartphone the LG Chocolate Touch. Ciara filmed a commercial for the campaign, which features her dancing to her 2009 single "Work". In March 2010 it was officially confirmed and announced that Ciara was the spokesperson in the new ad campaign for Adidas Originals. A commercial for the campaign was released the same month, featuring numerous of other celebrities.