|Next Project:||Fantasy Ride (Out Now)|
|Twitter:||Ciara on Twitter|
With a set of pipes more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap to the top of the Billboard charts in a single bound, it’s Super C! Ciara‘s third studio album may not have arrived on store shelves with “speeding bullet” swiftness, but, considering how difficult it is to find a functioning phone booth these days, the delays are understandable—now, the wait is finally over, and, transformed into her comic-book alter ego, the pop songstress has swooped in to take listeners everywhere the nation on the Fantasy Ride of their lives.
Heralded by the superheroically strong one-two punch of Booth-acclaimed lead single “Never Ever” (with Young Jeezy) and its immensely successful, Justin Timberlake-featuring follow-up, “Love Sex Magic,” the LP hit US stores and online retailers on May 5th. Featuring an elite force of the industry’s hottest producers and guest features, Fantasy Ride showcases a Ciara with more depth, creative energy, and dancefloor-packing power than ever before.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Ciara steps into the Booth to discuss the origin of “Super C,” her feelings on being compared to such pop legends as Janet Jackson and Aaliyah, and which of the “Love Sex Magic” trifecta she considers her strongest suit.
Listen to the Interview
Ciara Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy, “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a 23-year-old, Atlanta-based artist whose brand new album, Fantasy Ride, poignantly showcases the evolution of her musical “Goodies.” Please welcome the beautiful, sexy, and the oh-so-talented Ciara—how you doin’?
Ciara: I’m great, thank you for that introduction!
DJ Booth: You’re welcome! With the album finally in stores after months of hype, anticipation, and several release date changes, what is the most dominant emotion that you’re currently experiencing?
Ciara: The most dominant emotion? I mean, I just feel really excited right now. I feel really blessed. It’s kind of hard to say the actual, most dominant emotion—what is the most dominant? Just really me bein’ super-excited more than anything.
DJ Booth: The artwork for the release has you morphed into this comic book hero. That’s the first thing I noticed. Are you a comic book fanatic, or was this just an idea that you had going into this album?
Ciara: I’m really into superheroes and the comic book illustration concept, and with this album I kinda wanted to play along with that. I’m really into power and strength and confidence this go-round. I’m into expressing that with my fans, and I want for this album packaging to really bring that to life. And I created my own superhero character and superhero name, and that’s Super C. I just wanted to have a little fun and do something different this go-round.
DJ Booth: How did you arrive at “Super C,” and, furthermore, should we expect an energy drink product to follow?
Ciara: There’s not gonna be an energy drink as of now… [laughs] but you said, how did I expect… what did you ask me?
DJ Booth: The first part was, how did you arrive at the superhero name of “Super C?” Did it just come to you one day?
Ciara: It just kind of felt good. You know, my fans call me “CC” and “C,” and I just added “Super” to it, because it’s just a reflection of my strength, and my confidence in my strong energy that I give all the way around, with everything that I do, whether it’s in a relationship, whether it’s in my workflow, whether it’s on the stage—no matter what, I always give 100%, and that is “Super C.” And it’s not another person, it’s just another nickname you can call me. I’m not being too serious about it, but just havin’ fun with the whole superhero concept, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Absolutely. Well, your portrayal of a female superhero is obviously very important for your young fans. Ciara, knowing the responsibility that comes with being a role model, is there any added pressure for you to always say and do the right things?
Ciara: You know what? A lot of times I naturally do overthink a lot of things, and how it’s gonna affect my fans, and at the same time I also feel that there are some things you can do, but they are for your older and more mature audience. I definitely do think there’s a time and a place for everything—you know, I can’t be at no kids’ event dancing around overtly sexy. I’ve got to know my surroundings and know the right times for certain things, and that’s how I like to look at it.
DJ Booth: Sure. Well, in his feature review of Fantasy Ride, our resident album reviewer, Nathan S., mentioned that he felt your vocals “dripped with style and charisma,” and that you provided proof of your growth as a singer. Now, would you agree, or would you disagree with his assessment of this album?
Ciara: I can definitely agree. This record is really a reflection of my growth as a woman, as an artist—creatively, musically, I’m going places that I haven’t been, and I’m takin’ my fans places that they haven’t been with me before, and vocally, I can definitely say I’ve grown in that area. This record is a reflection of my growth in pretty much every aspect that makes me as an artist, whether it’s the dancing, the music style, vocally, just everything; this record really is a reflection of my growth, and I would have to agree with him.
DJ Booth: Well, I would have to agree with him also. I’m glad we’re all on the same page.
Ciara: Aw… thank you very much.
DJ Booth: You’re welcome. Throughout the review, Nathan also pointed out how quick people are to compare you to artists of the past like Janet Jackson or Aaliyah. Now, I’m sure these are flattering compliments, because these two ladies have done serious things in the industry, but, deep down, do you get bothered by the constant comparisons, or is it just a compliment?
Ciara: You definitely can take a Janet Jackson comparison as a compliment, and oftentimes Missy would tell me how much I reminded her of Aaliyah from a personal [standpoint], and I’ve heard so many great things about her as a person, so that definitely is a compliment as well. At the same time, it really motivates me to keep on striving to be something different. It’s important for me to create something new for [my generation], just as they did for their generation, and just as Aaliyah did when she was here. So when I hear stuff like that, it’s more than anything motivating me to keep it going, because I feel like, [in time], that won’t even be the conversation. But I think that’s something that takes time, and I’m just enjoying the ride, and having fun taking everybody on the ride with me as well.
DJ Booth: How long do you think it’s gonna be before people start saying, “Oh, she sounds like the next Ciara?” So it’s flipped; the comparison’s made to you.
Ciara: Of course I would love that, and I know it takes time. I’ve gotta put in some more work to get stuff like that happening, but I’m definitely looking forward to that day, and that is my goal: for people to one day say, “I wanna be like Ciara,” or to be saying some of the same things as the Janet Jackson comparisons are, you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Ciara, the overall vibe of this album is soaked in an upbeat dance, electronic music feel. Do you think that this sound is an accurate example of the future of the R&B/pop landscape, which you are striving to dominate?
Ciara: I can definitely say that music is taking a turn [toward] the electro, somewhat ‘80s-inspired music. I feel like it’s kind of evolving back to that, and music kind of repeats itself—like, at one point in time hip-hop was dominating, and we had that moment, at one point in time R&B songs that were really melodic were dominating. We’re at a point where the records that have an extra sprinkle of pop in them, or the more electro sound are starting to become more [prevalent], and are starting to be consistent throughout the music at radio. And even with the music that’s at radio I feel like it’s really becoming much more melody-driven. If you notice, even some of the rappers [are] actually almost singing on their records. It says a lot about where music is going, and it is kind of reverting back to melody, and that sort of ‘80s, electro-inspired sound as well.
DJ Booth: Most of all, though, the music is fun, and deep down that’s the most important thing.
Ciara: It is, it’s really important. It’s what our economy needs right now.
DJ Booth: I couldn’t agree with you more. Ciara, originally there was talk that Fantasy Ride was going to be a three-disc set. I’m sure you’ve gotten this question a bunch: what led to the decision to stick with the 13-track, single-disc project over the three-set option?
Ciara: I kept it simple because I realized that I wasn’t gonna have as many songs on the discs as I originally wanted, and I just wanted to keep it really simple and straight-to-the-point for my fans. I felt like it would be important [that] when you pick up and listen to the album it all flows smoothly, as opposed to having three different discs with only four songs on them. So it just made more sense and felt better to do it that way.
DJ Booth: Most A-list pop/R&B singers, they’re synonymous with either a producer or a production team—Mariah, of course, got her start with Jermaine, Janet with Jimmy and Terry, and Brandy is synonymous with Darkchild. Through three albums, you’ve worked with countless talented producers, but is there anybody in particular who you feel gets the most out of you in the studio?
Ciara: You know who I think did a really good job, with really pulling core elements out of me in the studio, was Tricky [Stewart] and The-Dream together.
DJ Booth: I agree. What was it like working with Justin and his production team, The Ys?
Ciara: Working with Justin was a lot of fun, not only because of the good music but also because of his personality; his personality is so dope, and he’s just really passionate about what he does and he really has a great understanding of music. The fact that he’s also an artist makes a difference as well.
DJ Booth: Speaking of Justin, he is collaborating with you on your current single, “Love, Sex & Magic.” Now, this is an out-of-the-box question: which out of the three would you say, in superhero lingo, you perform with the greatest of ease?
Ciara: Love—I would say love, because it includes everything that you just listed. [laughs]
DJ Booth: Isn’t that the truth! Ciara, when the listener finishes off this album, where should they expect the ride to travel next? Where are you headed?
Ciara: I’m just headed into a world of fun, it’s usually gonna be a fantasy world, and a world of just letting go, and really just having fun in such a free way. Also, you’re gonna be going into the world of the unexpected, but a good unexpected.
DJ Booth: Well, I hope that unexpected continues for quite some time. You have an illustrious career ahead of you, and I look forward to seeing it every step of the way. Give everybody a website, a MySpace page, something so they can find out more about you and, of course, the brand new album, in stores now, Fantasy Ride.
Ciara: You can hit me up at ciaraworld.com, and you can look at personal videos that I’m putting up just for my fans, to kind of take a personal Fantasy Ride with me. You can also hit me up at Twitter, @princesssuperc. You can go to my MySpace page, myspace.com/ciara. And those are a few places you can find me.
DJ Booth: And if they don’t get their fill at all of those places, they can certainly find plenty of your work at DJBooth.net. Ciara, thank you so much for takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth. It was an absolute pleasure, my dear.
Ciara: You’re welcome, thank you!