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Ciara: More Than Music

In 2004, a young girl from Atlanta, Georgia by the name of Ciara Princess Harris, brought forth an ingredient that R&B had been missing. By having a street edge, catchy beats, and creative lyrics, the evolution of Ciara began long before her sophomore album, The Evolution. Since her debut into the world of entertainment, Ciara has not only proven that she’s able to sing, dance, write, and produce her own material, but she also has a knack for acting. Although Ciara initially made her on-screen debut in the 2005 MTV film All You’ve Got, she is currently prepping herself to co-star along the legendary diva Patti LaBelle in the upcoming film (an adaptation of the Broadway play) Mama, I Want to Sing! Recently Ciara took some time out to elaborate on her role in the new film, acting versus singing, her new Roc-A-Wear campaign, and how she feels about Hip-Hop mogul 50 Cent. AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Your sophomore album The Evolution dropped last year. Do you plan to release another single from the album?Ciara: Yes, look out for my next single with 50 Cent “Can’t Leave Him Alone.”AHHA: What was it like working with 50 Cent?Ciara: You know we didn’t go into the studio to record the record, but I definitely have a lot of positive things to say about him. He’s truly amazing. He’s such a hardworking person. One thing I can say is that he doesn’t play with his job. I think that is such a great thing. He’s definitely on top of it, and I have nothing but respect for him.AHHA: How did you all end up hooking up?Ciara: When I was doing the record, I felt like it needed something else to tie the story together, and I felt like he was the right person. I asked my management to reach out to his management. I felt like he was very fitting for the record. It was cool to see it all come together. AHHA: You recently became a Roc-A-Wear spokesperson with Hurricane Katrina victims and Virginia Tech survivors. How did that come about?Ciara: To my understanding, Jay and those at Roc-A-Wear reached out to my management company saying that they wanted me to be the leading lady. When they asked me about it, I was definitely interested. Roc-A-Wear is so sweet and accommodating, and I also think that Jay is doing an awesome job with his line and reaching out to different people. It’s a fun campaign called “I Will Not Lose,” talking about the different adversities that people face to get to where they are in life. It’s all about really standing for something. It’s something I am definitely proud of. AHHA: You’re a part of the Essence Music Festival this year. Do you have any personal reservations about going back to New Orleans after what’s transpired over the past two years?Ciara: I’m actually looking forward to it. My time to be there is long overdue. I wanted to go when [Hurricane Katrina] first happened, but there were a couple of dates in the way preventing me from going. I feel like it’s really long overdue. I believe that people are actually going to come. It’s cheesy, but the world is pulling together. We should come together and explore the world outside of our own so that we can help revitalize New Orleans and bring back Mardi Gras and things of that nature. The festival has a lot of artists involved, so it’s something that I’m really looking forward to. AHHA: We see that your acting career is starting to take off. Was acting something that you wanted to do, or something that came with the success of your singing career?Ciara: First and foremost, I can honestly say that I’ve always been a fan of film. Music is definitely my first love. In addition to that, I have always had an interest in the acting world, and now I believe that it’s something that is possible. I feel like God has given me so many talents, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to expand and challenge myself into doing something different. It would be a shame not to use it. AHHA: Have you had any formal training?Ciara: For this film, I definitely want to go and sit down with some acting coaches and things like that to help me prepare for this role.  I want to try to learn as much as I can. Thank God I’ll be surrounded by a host of talent such as Lynn Whitfield and Patti LaBelle. I’m almost like a sponge; I want to learn everything there is to know about this. At the same time, I also would like to see what I can pull out of myself. It’s amazing to see the final output. The key to acting is becoming that person, so I definitely want to prepare myself for that. AHHA: In addition to that, how else have you prepared for that role?Ciara: Of course you read the script, but it’s also about knowing who you are as well. Sometimes, when I read a script, I reflect upon my situations – in this case, my name is Amara. It’s like, “Who is Amara, what are her problems, what is her life like?” You’ll be amazed to see what it’s like to let go of who you are and zone out into the person you’re supposed to become. AHHA: I know that the younger generation of R&B/Hip-Hop fans probably aren’t familiar with the new film you’re working on. As a Broadway play, it gained fame many years ago, so tell me what should be one’s motivation to want to see you in Mama I Want to Sing?Ciara: Mama, I Want to Sing! is an original Broadway musical. In the movie, my mother is an evangelist, and I am an aspiring R&B singer. It’s crazy because you really get that feel of reality as far as religion is concerned – in how the household is ran, as well as what people think of it. Basically, I just want to tell people that I have a voice, and I have a dream that I want to fulfill. Aside from the film, it’s really like that in real life. When people don’t agree with your dreams, it takes a toll on you mentally. Overall, the movie is inspiring and inspirational. I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this film.AHHA: Do you know who you beat out for the role?Ciara: Well I have an idea, but I’d rather not get into it. [laughs] I can definitely say they came to me immediately once they really knew for sure they wanted me. It’s definitely cool to be offered to do this. You are funny! [both laugh] I’m going to push myself hard and challenge myself so when people look at me they don’t see Ciara they see Amara.AHHA: Well since you don’t want to tell me who you beat out for the part, can you let me guess? Was it another actress or singer, or someone who does both?Ciara: You real funny! [laughs] It was another actress.AHHA: Is she about your age?Ciara: See, now you doing too much! AHHA: Ok, since you seem hesitant to answer, I’m going to move to the next question.Ciara: Mmmhmmm. Ok. It’s just good that they chose me to do the role.AHHA: When you’re preparing for your album and preparing for your role in this film, what are some of the similarities and some of the differences in that process? How do you compare singing and acting?Ciara: When you get ready to perform for both music and videos, you have to research and go through the creative process as far as possible. But with film, it’s more complex. It has to be developed right down to every single detail. You have to tie the story together, but with video you have to tell the story but it’s less detail. It’s a different process with both. There are so many layers to film. AHHA: Getting into the business at the age that you did, do you feel as though you’re missing anything that your peers did like going to college, or having a regular life that the media isn’t eating up?Ciara: I’ll be honest with you…I think I have a great balance between the normal things and music. When I was in high school, I chose to finish high school to have something going on that was regular. I didn’t want to lose touch with the things I would normally do. I am not missing out, because this is what I love to do. My goal is to hopefully end early. I’m not trying to be 50 trying to do the matrix. [laughs] My goal is to work hard and to take advantage of every opportunity to be the best I can be. Now, I’m trying hard to not lose sight of the things that I used to do as a regular person. The best thing is that I can still go to college; it’s like I’m in college now – I study what I do. I’m still learning and I can still go to college to learn more about other things as well. AHHA: Your last relationship was very public and in the spotlight. When you decide to take on a new relationship, do you plan to be more reserved and stay away from the media?Ciara: I can’t say what the future holds for me in the media as far as relationships are concerned. Of course, I could have done a lot of things differently, but now that’s neither here or there. It’s important to me to live as close to a normal person as possible. In the real world, you have relationships –  you go shopping, and do normal things. I don’t want my career to prevent me from having a normal life. With having said that, if I’m in a relationship and I am very proud of it, then you may see me with him in public. In interviews, they ask things that cross the line and go too far but aside from that I’m just trying to live my life how I want. A relationship is something that I love when you are able to go out and just be normal. AHHA: Now that you’ve been successful in several different lanes, what’s left for you?Ciara: I want to do so much. Oprah is my idol. I would love to be as financially successful as she is. There are things that I am doing now that can help prepare me for that. I would like to be a philanthropist. I just want to give back to the world and help whoever else is trying to give back to the world as well.

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