Ciara Princess Harris (born October 25, 1985), known mononymously as Ciara, is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and fashion model. Born in Austin, Texas, she traveled around the world during her childhood, only to land in Atlanta, Georgia where she met music producer Jazze Pha. With his help, she signed a record deal with LaFace Records.
In 2004, Ciara released her debut studio album Goodies, which spawned three hit singles: "Goodies," "1, 2 Step," and "Oh." The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and earned her four nominations at the 48th Grammy Awards. She released her second studio album Ciara: The Evolution in 2006 which spawned the hit singles "Get Up," "Promise," and "Like a Boy." The album reached number one in the US and was certified platinum. Her third studio album Fantasy Ride, released in 2009, was considerably less successful than Ciara's first two albums. However, it produced the worldwide top-ten hit "Love Sex Magic" featuring Justin Timberlake, which earned her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The following year, Ciara released her fourth studio album Basic Instinct, which was met with low sales and continued a downward trend in her commercial success. In 2011, she signed a new record deal with Epic Records, and is preparing to release her upcoming fifth studio album, One Woman Army.
Since making her musical debut in 2004, Ciara has attained eight Billboard Hot 100 top-ten singles, including a number one. She has also earned numerous awards and accolades, including three BET Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, three MOBO Awards, and one Grammy Award. Ciara has sold over seven million albums worldwide, and more than 4.3 million albums and 6.9 million digital singles in the United States alone.
1985-2003: Early life and career beginnings
Ciara was born in Austin, Texas on October 25, 1985 as the only child of Jackie and Carlton Harris. Since her father was in the United States Army, throughout her childhood, Ciara grew up on army bases in Germany, New York, Utah, California, Arizona, and Nevada. In speaking of this, Ciara states that while she hated to lose good friends, this helps her in her career when she has to travel all over the world. During her teens, Ciara and her family settled in Atlanta.
In her mid-teens, Ciara formed the all girl group Hearsay with two of her friends. The group recorded demos, but as time went on, they began to have differences and eventually parted ways. Despite this setback, Ciara was still determined to reach her goal and signed a publishing deal as a songwriter. Her first success was the song, "Got Me Waiting" for R&B singer Fantasia Barrino's debut album, Free Yourself. It was when she was writing songs that she met music producer, Jazze Pha, whom she called her "music soulmate." In 2002, the two recorded four demos, "1, 2 Step," "Thug Style," "Pick Up the Phone," and "Lookin' at You," which all appeared on her debut album, which was released two years later. The former was the second single released from it and became a hit.
After graduating from Riverdale High School in Riverdale, Georgia in 2003, she was signed by LaFace Records executive, L.A. Reid, whom she was introduced to by Jazze Pha. She began production on her debut album later that year. In early 2004, Ciara wrote a demo with record producer, Sean Garrett. The demo was later brought to the attention of Lil Jon and became her debut single "Goodies." Lil Jon stated later that he knew it would be big seeing how it sounded similar to Usher's international hit, "Yeah!."
2004–05: Goodies and Commercial success
Ciara released her debut album Goodies on September 28, 2004. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200, selling 124,750 copies in its initial week and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Following the release of the album, Ciara was hailed as the "First Lady of Crunk&B". Goodies had a seventy-one week run on the Billboard 200, and was certified three times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on October 10, 2006. The album has sold around nearly 3 million copies in the United States as of June 2010. Charting at twenty-two on the Canadian Albums Chart, it was certified Platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association. The album charted at twenty-six on the UK Albums Chart, and spent twenty weeks on the chart. It was certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry, remaining to be Ciara's sole certified album in the UK. Goodies' lead single, the title track, featuring Petey Pablo, was released on June 8, 2004. Conceived as a crunk female counterpart to Usher's "Yeah," the lyrical content goes against the grain, speaking of abstinence, rejecting advances because "the goodies will stay in the jar." Critics hailed it as an "anthem of the summer" and one of the best singles of the year, complementing its dance-feel and beat, and the irony of the "clever" lyrics. The single performed well worldwide, topping the charts in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, and charting in the top ten of other charts, receiving Platinum certification in the United States. "1, 2 Step" featuring Missy Elliott was released as the album's second single. The song peaked in the top ten of many countries, topping the charts in Canada, and went on to become Platinum or Gold in many countries. "Oh" featuring Ludacris was released as the third single on March 5, 2005. The song performed well worldwide, appearing in the top ten of seven charts, and certified either Platinum or Gold in multiple regions. Following the success of the album, Ciara released a CD/DVD entitled Goodies: The Videos & More in the United States on July 12, 2005 which featured remixes to "1, 2 Step" and "Oh," as well as two new songs. The release was certified platinum in the United States. She made guest appearances on Missy Elliott's single "Lose Control" and on Bow Wow's single "Like You," which both peaked at number three in the United States and obtained worldwide success. She was an opening act for Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers Tour 2005 and went on tour with Chris Brown and Bow Wow on the Holiday Jam Tour in December 2005. At the 48th Grammy Awards, Ciara received four nominations for Best New Artist, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "1, 2 Step," Best Rap Song for Missy Elliot's single "Lose Control," and won her last nomination, Best Short Form Music Video for Lose Control. In 2005, Ciara began dating rapper Bow Wow.