Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ciara: Steppin’ the game up

Ciara Ciara Ciara Ciara

Recording artist Ciara is grateful and blessed for her success. She’s an incredible entertainer who is always genuine with her fans and willing to give back to the community. More importantly, she’s stayin’ on top of her ‘A-game’ and promises to bring it each and everytime.

Sat., Apr. 2 – Ciara enters the Hill Street Boys and Girls Club gym about 10:30 a.m -- showin’ love to 125 members – sending the bleachers full of young people into a frenzy. The cameras’ flashes, euphoric screams and surrounding iPhone, Blackberry and Android clicks are endless. She dances, of course – “beefin’ it up” as the Atlanta kids would say – dippin’ and rockin’ from side to side. Ciara has a ball. Don’t believe it? Check out her ‘Tweets!

Always one to make an infectious feel good record, the multi-talented Ciara Princess Harris has reasons to celebrate. Atlanta’s own 25 year old singer, songwriter, actress and entertainer has accomplished more in her career than most recording artists – um…let’s see… traveling across the world as a kid because of her father serving in the U.S. Army, four albums, five Billboard Top Ten pop singles, a #1 pop record, a #1 Top 200 album, a Grammy Award, a World Music Award for World’s Best-Selling Female Artist, a 2008 “Woman of the Year” honor from Billboard, two MTV Video Music Awards, a spot on People Magazine’s list of “25 Most Beautiful People at 25” and even goin’ head-to-head with Beyonce for the most number of Top Ten singles on Billboard’s Hip Hop/R&B Singles chart. Need more? Well, she’s collaborated with a myriad of A-list talent: Usher, Missy Elliott, Nelly, 50 Cent, Chamillionaire, Field Mob, R. Kelly, Bow Wow,, Jermaine Dupri, Enrique Iglesias, Ludacris and her idol, Janet Jackson – but that’s besides the point!

Today, Ciara is an inspiration. The performer tells the kids she wrote three goals, prior to her record deal, on a sheet of paper and still refers back to it. She encourages the youth to follow suit. She also leads the kids in a chant, “I CAN BE ANYTHING I WANNA BE!” Ciara also shares that she’s always dreamed of having hit singles, extensive travels and massive success but never really thought that her dreams would ever come true. Go figure?

About eight hours later, Ciara takes the stage at Fox Theatre: this time before a crowd of 3,600 as Sprite Step Off II’s guest performer. Her morning ensemble – white Air Jordans, leather jacket and skinny jeans -- has since morphed into black leather, spandex, combat boots and a New Era fitted cap. Her microphone goes in and out, but she keeps it movin’: slidin’, glidin’ and twerkin’ it out across the stage. She pumps out a medley -- “Gimme Dat,” “Goodies,” “1, 2 Step” and “Ride.” Ciara is as precise and energetic on stage as the choreography in her videos. Trust me…Ciara gives her all: dancin’ so hard, she breaks a mean sweat! She’s definitely cut from the same cloth as her idol. As she performs, I think closely about “The Pleasure Principle” video, my all-time favorite Janet Jackson video.

Just recently, there’s been some minor controversy online about her departure from her label, Jive, and the open letter to her fans she posted on Facebook, but I don’t care to get into all of that. It’s not important. “Gimme Dat” still calls me and many others to the dance floor whenever the DJs spin it. There’s still so much more that she wants to do…and can, I might add. When I spoke briefly with the quintessential dance starlet prior to her performance, thanks to Matt Paget from Rogers & Cowan, she was pure, welcoming, glowing and had passion written all over her face. She greets me and says she feels awesome to be a part of the campaign (she ‘Tweets about her excitement, too!). Even when I call her “the queen of dance music videos” during our interview, she spares no time in thanking me for my praises. Since Sprite Step Off II celebrates African American Greek fraternities and sororities, we get into a brief conversation about dancing, humanitarian efforts, superstardom and what she aspires to accomplish.

…on the power of her footwork.
“Dancing is a way of expressing myself. It’s a way people express themselves, and it’s a blessing to be able to do it and to be able to know that I can touch people by dancing and of course through song as well. If you ask me, I feel like dancing is really important. It’s a way for kids to believe. Everybody I know that dances really feels good from doing it, and it’s fun to be able to share. So it’s a beautiful thing just to allow kids to be able to see their dreams and to be able to share them with the world and with people.”

…on success.
“Even if you don’t win, you’re still a winner for tryin’. I want to encourage kids to keep pursuing their dreams and to not give up. “

…on what she wants.
“There’s so much more. There are so many stages I’ve yet to perform on that I’m lookin’ forward to. As blessed as I’ve been to have had the achievements that I’ve had, I still haven’t performed at the AMAs. I still haven’t performed…I performed at the Grammys, but I’m lookin’ forward to my solo set at the Grammys. Of course, I’m lookin’ forward to traveling to different places. I haven’t had my own tour yet; I’ve co-headlined, but I’m lookin’ forward to headlining my own tour. It’s a lot of fun things, you know, a lot more for me to accomplish that I’m excited about, so I’m just reachin’ for all of those goals. Just really building my brand and being able to just do all the things I know I’m capable of doing and making them solid avenues for me.”

…on her collaboration with Sprite for Step Off II.
“They reached out to me. It’s something that’s fun and young, and you know the whole step movement is really really energetic to be a part of. And of course, why not with Sprite? So it’s all good and lookin’ up.”

…on the future.
“What’s next? A lot of cool things are comin’ up. I can’t share anything just yet – exciting things are happening behind the scenes. I’m just lookin’ forward to the next chapter of my career. It’s gonna be fun.”

…to her fans.
“If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to believe in you. Encourage each other. We are all a support system for one another. Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can to be the best you can be. You can be anything that you think you can be. You can be anything that you say you can be. Everything that you can learn from, you can take it everywhere you go. It’s so simple.”
Words Christopher Daniel

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