Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Ciara: Steppinâ the game up

Ciara Ciara Ciara Ciara

Recording artist Ciara is grateful and blessed for her success. Sheâs an incredible entertainer who is always genuine with her fans and willing to give back to the community. More importantly, sheâs stayinâ on top of her âA-gameâ and promises to bring it each and everytime.

Sat., Apr. 2 â Ciara enters the Hill Street Boys and Girls Club gym about 10:30 a.m -- showinâ love to 125 members â sending the bleachers full of young people into a frenzy. The camerasâ flashes, euphoric screams and surrounding iPhone, Blackberry and Android clicks are endless. She dances, of course â âbeefinâ it upâ as the Atlanta kids would say â dippinâ and rockinâ from side to side. Ciara has a ball. Donât believe it? Check out her âTweets!

Always one to make an infectious feel good record, the multi-talented Ciara Princess Harris has reasons to celebrate. Atlantaâs own 25 year old singer, songwriter, actress and entertainer has accomplished more in her career than most recording artists â umâ¦letâs 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 Worldâs Best-Selling Female Artist, a 2008 âWoman of the Yearâ honor from Billboard, two MTV Video Music Awards, a spot on People Magazineâs list of â25 Most Beautiful People at 25â and even goinâ head-to-head with Beyonce for the most number of Top Ten singles on Billboardâs Hip Hop/R&B Singles chart. Need more? Well, sheâs 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 â but thatâs 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, âI CAN BE ANYTHING I WANNA BE!â Ciara also shares that sheâs 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 IIâs guest performer. Her morning ensemble â 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 movinâ: slidinâ, glidinâ and twerkinâ it out across the stage. She pumps out a medley -- âGimme Dat,â âGoodies,â â1, 2 Stepâ and âRide.â Ciara is as precise and energetic on stage as the choreography in her videos. Trust meâ¦Ciara gives her all: dancinâ so hard, she breaks a mean sweat! Sheâs definitely cut from the same cloth as her idol. As she performs, I think closely about âThe Pleasure Principleâ video, my all-time favorite Janet Jackson video.

Just recently, thereâs 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 donât care to get into all of that. Itâs not important. âGimme Datâ still calls me and many others to the dance floor whenever the DJs spin it. Thereâs still so much more that she wants to doâ¦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 âTweets about her excitement, too!). Even when I call her âthe queen of dance music videosâ 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.

â¦on the power of her footwork.
âDancing is a way of expressing myself. Itâs a way people express themselves, and itâs 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. Itâs a way for kids to believe. Everybody I know that dances really feels good from doing it, and itâs fun to be able to share. So itâs 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.â

â¦on success.
âEven if you donât win, youâre still a winner for tryinâ. I want to encourage kids to keep pursuing their dreams and to not give up. â

â¦on what she wants.
âThereâs so much more. There are so many stages Iâve yet to perform on that Iâm lookinâ forward to. As blessed as Iâve been to have had the achievements that Iâve had, I still havenât performed at the AMAs. I still havenât performedâ¦I performed at the Grammys, but Iâm lookinâ forward to my solo set at the Grammys. Of course, Iâm lookinâ forward to traveling to different places. I havenât had my own tour yet; Iâve co-headlined, but Iâm lookinâ forward to headlining my own tour. Itâs a lot of fun things, you know, a lot more for me to accomplish that Iâm excited about, so Iâm just reachinâ for all of those goals. Just really building my brand and being able to just do all the things I know Iâm capable of doing and making them solid avenues for me.â

â¦on her collaboration with Sprite for Step Off II.
âThey reached out to me. Itâs something thatâs 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 itâs all good and lookinâ up.â

â¦on the future.
âWhatâs next? A lot of cool things are cominâ up. I canât share anything just yet â exciting things are happening behind the scenes. Iâm just lookinâ forward to the next chapter of my career. Itâs gonna be fun.â

â¦to her fans.
âIf you donât believe in yourself, you canât 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. Itâs so simple.â
Words Christopher Daniel

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