Boston Rap Interview

In a world where Jerry Springer still gets ratings and the Real World is more about hook ups than reality, a song that hints at chastity is not a likely hit. No one bothered to tell former Armed Forces brat Ciara, 19. The Austin, Texas native, who has spent time in Germany, New York and California before settling in Atlanta, had a breakout hit with her first single, “Goodies”. Produced by His Royal Crunkness, Lil Jon, “Goodies” went to the top of the charts and served as a taunting “Girls Night Out” anthem for women the world over.

As the debut artist on Atlanta producer Jazze Pha’s Zomba distributed Sho Nuf records, Ciara was blessed out of the gate. And while every artist wants one, a catchy hit tune can sometimes spell disaster. Just ask the legions of one hit wonders who litter music’s past. With such a massive song, it’d be easy to think that Ciara could join the scrap heap. But her Missy Elliot assisted, “1,2, Step” went the way of “Goodies” and seems poised to be around for a while. Her youth, stunning beauty and dance heavy performance style has many saying she is the next Aaliyah. The ATL based teen respectfully shies away comparisons preferring to focus on creating her own lane. BostonRap connected with one of R&B’s rising stars to get her take on staying at the top of the game. Sometimes when a record is as big as “Goodies” it can get bigger than the artist. What kept you from falling into that? Cuz right now no one knows what happened to the “Uh Oh” girl.
Ciara: Awww nooo. (Laughs) I let the people say why. I just know I am here doing my thing. I haven’t really had a chance to look up because there’s a lot of hard work that comes with a hit record.

BR: Do you think that being down with Jazze Pha is a key part of it. He is an incredible producer.
C: I think it’s a whole teamwork thing. I have a very good team. Jazze Pha has definitely contributed to everything I’ve achieved. I think its all about having the right set up.

BR: What’s your next step? How are you going to finish taking over the world?
C: My game plan is to make sure I stay focused, most importantly. Keep coming with hits. That’s the most important thing. If it wasn’t for my records I wouldn’t be here. So my goal is to make sure I make good music.

BR: Are we going to see you out on the road this summer?
C: Definitely

BR: Any idea of who you are going out with?
C: I have an idea but I don’t want to say.

BR: Help a brother out with an exclusive. I am trying to come up like you.
C: (Laughs) Nope. It’s a secret. But I will say that they are hot. Their music is hot.

BR: Thanks for narrowing it down. You are the second person to have a hit with what Lil Jon calls “Crunk &B”. How did you end up working with him?
C: L.A. Reid ended up introducing me to Lil Jon cause at the time I was signed to Arista. So he set it up. Actually Jazze had a relationship with Lil Jon too. So it was going to happen either way [but] L.A. set it up.

BR: Did you automatically think it was a good idea or were you skeptical since it was a new idea?
C: No. Crunk &B was something that I wanted to do. I was actually involved with the writing process of this record. At first I wasn’t crazy about crunk music. I can say that much. But you can’t deny crunk. Crunk is a really great energy. You can’t deny it. It’s great music. And I am just like, “Why not?” I think it will be hot cause I am the first lady to do it. Its not really all about that but the fact of knowing that I was setting a trend. And being the first to do something good in music, that really means a lot to me.

BR: A lot of new artists don’t have that much control. You talked about being a part of the writing process of “Goodies” and most of your album. How did you set yourself up to do that?
C: I think it was because the people around me understood me. They knew my talent and they knew what I did. So I guess you could say it was kind of like a no-brainer to let Ciara be involved. Because me being involved really helps to let people understand me as an artist. If I wasn’t involved I don’t think you would get to know me for who I am.

BR: What’s been the biggest change since you started having your success?
C: The biggest change for me is not being able to do things. I have to be very meticulous about what I do in the public. I can’t do some of the things that I used to do in public without any interruptions.

BR: So you just can’t go get a slice of pizza and its all good?
C: Certain places I can. I ain’t gonna front. I can go to certain places and get like one person saying something or they don’t realize it till after I am gone.

BR: Would you try some of the success for anonymity?
C: I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. I love what I’m doing, man. This is what I asked for. This is my dream. Those are just things that come with the territory. I feel blessed to have fans or that people want to shake my hand or people want to get an autograph. That’s a blessing.

G. Valentino Ball


Ciara Interview

by Adam Bernard

With her current hit single, "Goodies," Ciara is already catching listeners' ears, and with the accompanying video she's catching viewers' eyes, but is she also vying for people's noses? "My mother got my name from a perfume," explains the princess of Crunk 'n B, "something my father had gave her and she really liked the name." The irony of it all, is that "I'm not a big fan of perfume, actually. I wear baby lotion."

At only 18 the lotioned up Goodie goddess is actually an industry vet. Signed at 15 as a member of a group, when the group failed "the company I was signed to decided to work on me and develop me as a solo artist," she explains. As an Atlanta native there were tons of connections for Ciara to make, most notably the connection she made with Lil' Jon for her first single. According to Ciara L.A. Reid hooked that up. "We were workin on songs, and at this time Usher had done the record ("Yeah!") and man he wanted to take it. He thought it would be great to do the same thing, work with Lil' Jon and see what we could come up with." As the songstress would find out, working with Lil' Jon is no easy task.

Despite his hard partying public demeanor, Lil' Jon is a workaholic. During a 24 hour studio session Ciara notes "I fell asleep and woke up and he was still makin music." The song that was created that day was "Goodies."

When it comes to the concept of the song, "Goodies" can be interpreted in a lot of ways. When you throw in a racy video one's mind wanders towards X-rated ideas. Ciara says that "Goodies" isn't necessarily a dirty concept, though. "Goodies is whatever you want to make them," she explains, "it can be hugs, kisses, your number, whatever you want to make it, they're goodies."

The PG rated definition of "Goodies" is only cemented when she notes simply getting her phone number is "the beginning of the goodies." Ciara explains how one gets her number, saying "you get my number by, most importantly, approaching me in the good manner and just respecting me. You can tell when something's really real and when it isn't so I guess you could say bein real, showing respect and attractive. I like both the inside and out to match."

Another quality Ciara's looking for in a man is a rough image. "I like bad boys," she notes, adding "you gotta hold your own. Independence. Someone who's taking care of himself and holdin it down real good, I like that."

The quickest way to turn her off, according to the woman herself, is "being extra. All that mushy mushy stuff, I don't like that. Just be you, be comfortable. Phony is also a turn off. I don't like phony dudes, you can tell their motive."

With such strong words one might assume Ciara is the kind of woman who is quick to approach a man, but she says she's actually the complete opposite and is a bit of a shy girl at those moments. "I'm not a forward kinda woman. It's weird, it's kinda like I'm insecure and confident. I don't know how that works. Certain things I'm insecure but ultimately I'm confident."

With a hit single currently at #1 on the charts and her popularity rising every day it's got to be hard not to be confident. To add to that she's got something else to be confident in, her potential love life. She openly admits that artists have hit on her but won't say who. "I'm not telling. You can't get the goodies. That's a secret," she giggles, jokingly adding "nobody likes Ciara." Why am I not believing that last part?


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