“My ultimate goal is to be one of the best female entertainers ever, like those I watched growing up,” she says with a glowing confidence. “You have to always be ahead of what you do and reach ahead and push yourself forward to be better.”
Her highly anticipated third album, Fantasy Ride is a testament to her growth. As evidenced in the sensual videos for the Polow Da Don-crafted hit, first single, “Never Ever” (with Young Jeezy) and the second smash single, “Love Sex Magic,” with Justin Timberlake (who also co-produced the track), she is boldly demonstrating her womanhood and sexuality without apology.
“I am taking my fans on a virtual fantasy ride through music and my life. I have changed since my last album, but it’s essentially the same Ciara, but with added elements and spice,” she says of the new album, most of which she co-wrote and co-executive-produced. “Look at the first two singles. They both are extensions of who I am and yet so different. ‘Never Ever’ is very warm and ‘Love Sex Magic’ is aggressive. Both are sides of me and there is so much more to share. It’s all a part of the Fantasy Ride.”
Boasting an impressive array of hit makers— including label-mate Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Missy Elliot, Danja, Dr. Luke, Tricky Stewart and The Dream—Fantasy Ride mixes Ciara’s trademark R&B and hip-hop thunder with a seducing dash of clever pop. From the alluring “Ciara To The Stage,” a love letter to her fans, to “Tell Me What Your Name Is” a hard-hitting song with with electro-snaps against a grand orchestral backdrop produced by Dr. Luke (Britney Spears, P!nk)— Ciara covers a broad spectrum of genres and attitudes on Fantasy Ride. All genres including opera: “High Price,” finds Ciara releasing operatic-like verses over a hard-edged rhythm. The song also reunites Ciara with Ludacris, the duo first collaborated on her first album with the 1 hit “Oh.”
Her swagger is infinite on “Like a Surgeon,” a high-powered, ‘90s R&B-flavored single also produced by Stewart and The Dream. “‘Like A Surgeon’ is pure attitude,” she says with a smile. Justin Timberlake co-produced “G is For Girl (A-Z)” and once again their combination is blistering. “I found out that Justin wanted to work with me just as much as I wanted to work with him,” says Ciara. “He is so talented and humble.” “Pucker Up” is a prickly party jam that finds Ciara taking the reins (“Everybody riding shotgun/ Scared to play the drivers seat/ Got the pedal to the metal/Going super light-speed/ I am far too gone”) and the Missy Elliot assisted, dance-floor, fire-starter “Work!” will cause commotion from house parties to house balls. “Lover’s Thing,” a silky duet with The Dream, switches gears with its new millennial Atlantic Starr vibe. “Keep Dancing on Me” (produced by Tricky Stewart and The Dream) is a late summer confection and has all of the makings of a classic with its romantic, laidback swing. “I Don’t Remember” (co-written with Ne-Yo) is a techno-lite “morning after” blur.
Ciara Princess Harris is an Austin, Texas-born self-described army brat who lived in Germany and California before settling in Atlanta, Georgia. The ambitious, self-starter scored a publishing deal when she was barely out of high-school. After a brief stint in a girl group, she ventured out on her own and teamed with noted producers Jazze Pha and Lil Jon, resulting in the 1 hit, “Goodies” and the 3.5 million-selling worldwide debut effort of the same name. The album also produced two other 1 singles, “1,2 Step” with Missy Elliot and “Oh” with Ludacris. Other successful collaborations include the Top 5 hits “Lose Control” with Elliot (from her album The Cookbook) — for which the two won a Grammy for “Best Short Form Video”— and “Like You” with Bow Wow (from his album Wanted). She also enjoyed a Top 10 hit with “So What” with southern hip-hop duo Field Mob.
Her sophomore effort, Ciara: The Evolution, which sold 1.7 million albums worldwide, continued the hit parade yielding the 1 single, “Promise” and the Top 10 smashes, “Like A Boy” and “Can’t Leave 'Em Alone” with 50 Cent.
In addition to winning a Grammy in 2006, she’s received three other Grammy nominations so far and has won a litany of awards, including a World Music Award for “Best Selling Female R&B Artist”, two MTV Video Music Awards, two BET Awards, a Soul Train “Entertainer of the Year Award,” a VIBE award and five esteemed ASCAP Songwriting Awards. She has toured with superstar Gwen Stefani and is slated to tour this summer with label-mate Britney Spears on the pop superstar’s Circus Tour in Europe.
Infused with the ambition and drive she has possessed since she was a child, Ciara is also a burgeoning entrepreneur. Recently, she established a talent agency, UDT (Universal Dance Talent), which books jobs and establishes careers for up and coming dancers. “The ultimate goal is to have a dance school with a studio. The coolest thing is giving people an opportunity,” she states. “Some of the dancers taught me things in high school and now I have brought them along with me.”
Fantasy Ride’s packaging unfolds into a comic book, designed by Marvel Comics artist Bernard Chang and it introduces the world to Ciara’s stronger side she refers to as, “Super C.” “She represents the inner strength and drive that helps me overcome obstacles. My entire life I have had people tell me that I cannot be something and it has not been easy. The Super C in me turns the negative into a positive. This side of me helps me do that and persevere,” she explains.
“Whether it’s dealing with business, my creativity or my personal life, I have to be strong. When you fight and have faith that’s the superhero in you. Super C makes me stronger, enables me to walk with faith and be fearless. She is not an alter-ego, she is who I am,” the singer explains. “Superheroes don’t have to do extraordinary things. I feel like there is a super hero in all of us.”
Ciara is ready for the world to join her on her journey. “Goodies was the crawl. Ciara: The Evolution was the walk. Now, I am running,” she says. “Fantasy Ride delves deeper and shows a lot more of me. I am here to make it clear about what I do. Everything now is high-powered and intense. I am going full force.”