IN THE SPOTLIGHT | CIARA

The 27-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.”

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.”

 

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?’”

 

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