Sam: Hey Ciara!
Ciara: Hi Sam!
Sam: How are you?
Ciara: I’m great thank you. I’m in a wonderful space right now.
Sam: That’s awesome. So you visited the UK last week, and did a lot of media appearances. One in particular was a radio interview where you learnt UK’s very own ‘Migrate Skank’, which made a huge buzz on the net. What differentiates your UK fans from your other worldwide fan base?
Ciara: It’s literally it being two different parts of the world, I think the UK has its own unique style and we, as Americans, have our own style as well. It’s just like when you go to Japan, it’s different (compared to) when you go to the States, because of culturally differences. My fans are from various parts of the world, but I can definitely say the energy of my fans in the UK is amazing. It’s just so fun here. It’s just one of those things that when you go over to the UK I’m always like “wow… the support is amazing”.
Sam: Did you visit any attractions when you were over here?
Ciara: (thinking) When I was there I really didn’t get a chance to do a whole lot. I did go to TopShop and stuff like that, but my schedule was so hectic that I couldn’t to as many places as I would like to.
Sam: Ok, so after a few push-back’s your third studio album ‘Fantasy Ride’ has finally hit stores across the globe this week: Tell us about the process you went through to develop your artistry with this album?
Ciara: Making this album I just really wanted to take my time, and I can definitely say this is the most fun I’ve had recording a record since my first album. What happened to me was: I put out one single (‘Go Girl’) and it was kind of like a warm-up exercise and just me really trying something new. I put out that record kind of early because my whole album wasn’t completed…. Something I’ve done before. I did that when I made my first album; I put out ‘Goodies’ out as the single on the radio and I recorded ‘1,2 Step’ and ‘Oh’ whilst ‘Goodies’ during that time. That’s what the process was for this record. But I really do think that I enjoyed myself and as I continued to record after the first time I moved the date back, things continued to get better. It was just important for me to make sure I really had everything in place the way I wanted it to be. Technically there was really one push back. I wanted to make sure I didn’t mention a date until I knew exactly what I wanted it to be.
Sam: The title indicates the record being somewhat of a concept CD; tell about what inspired the title?
Ciara: ‘Fantasy Ride’ is about me taking my fans on a fantasy through music and taking my fans many different places they have never been before, as well as doing some of the unexpected things. And that’s what this album is about; it really is a fantasy ride, if you want to party, I have that record on there. If you feeling more sensual, that record is on there, if you just want to groove out and relax that record is on there. It’s just the perfect combination of R&B, Hip-Hop and Pop fused in one. It really is just a fantasy ride for me too, because I am adding more elements to things I’ve already done. I wanted to make sure I gave my fans things of what they have always known from me. But I also wanted to make sure I added more to it and really some unexpected things for them.
Sam: We can’t shy away from the fact that several tracks from the album which made the finally cut from the record found their way on to the internet several months prior to the album’s release, what is your take on this?
Ciara: Initially it was definitely frustrating. Because not only did I put a lot of hard work in to it, but it’s also not a cheap process making a record [laughs]. But most importantly presentation is everything and it’s definitely unfortunate when you put so much hard work in to something and you know what you want it to be. And before you know it, it actually gets put out for the public before it’s even completed. So people are able to get opinions on something that’s not even the proper version of it. That part of it is really frustrating and it’s kind of like who would do something like that? I feel like that’s so wrong. At the end of the day I have to find the positives in it, when I do my shows earlier my fans knew some of the songs. One thing I do believe is that my diehard fans will still rock with you no matter what. Once you get to hear the entire album in its entirety, it just feels like nothing that you heard – even if you heard the tracks earlier, you’re hearing the correct version and it really does feel good. I believe your diehard fans will rock with you no matter what.
Sam: As we speak now, the first week sales of the album are being collated, how important are sales to you?
Ciara: Sales are a part of what matters, it’s not everything, it doesn’t make or break you to me. I’ve experienced before… my first album was really low and when it was all said and done I was almost at 5 million records sold. How you start is part of it, but how you finish it is what really matters. Like Akon has probably sold 60,000 units his first weekend and now he’s sold a hell of a lot… it’s all about timing, it’s all about promoting, it’s all about a lot of different things. You can’t get lost in all that. Another example is the Jonas Brothers; they are at 1.3 million or 1.2 million records, but they’re one of the hugest bands in the world. So sales aren’t part of it, there’s so much more to it, like being able to connect to your fans is important. One of the most important thing to me is touring; to me it’s more than everything to me, honestly. Everything is changing nowadays; Virgin Megastores just got closed, Uptown Records got shut down, now Virgin is collapsing. It just goes to show you where music is going and it is a different day. Sales aren’t everything and it don’t make or break you, it’s a fraction of what counts overall.
Sam: Many fans are keen to know why ‘Go Girl’ didn’t make it onto the album, as the track is a favourite among fans and the video is arguably one of the best Ms. Harris has served up since hitting the scene.
Ciara: That record was actually on the Japan version (of ‘Fantasy Ride’), and I put it on there because that was a market that actually got that record in such a great way. It was the top 5 record for me there on that actual version. And of course you can always go to iTunes to get the record, but I just wanted to put out the records that was doing when I kept recording. It was kind of hard because you’re only given a certain amounts of slots per record and ‘Go Girl’ was one of those ones I wanted to put in there. But the other records for me were ones I really wanted there, and ‘Go Girl’ kind of came at the end of list. But my fans can still have access to it, you can go to iTunes to get. I didn’t get rid of the record that was one of the records that I loved to rock with, but when you tell me I have 13 slots to fill up I’m like… you know.
Sam: I really love the album. I think it’s your best record to date. ‘Tell Me What Your Name Is’ is my personal favourite track. If you had to pick one track as your favourite from the album what would it be and why?
Ciara: ‘High Price’. I love ‘High Price’ because it’s so strong and powerful and I love taking that risk by singing operatic on it. The track goes so hard to me and it has such great energy, it’s one of those records that make a huge statement. That’s one of the records I really love, it’s kind of hard to pick my most favourite but that’s one of the ones that I definitely really love.
Sam: One of the tracks I know the fans are really gravitating towards is the song called ‘Like A Surgeon’…
Sam: …Would it be possible for ‘That Grape Juice’ readers as well as your fans to have a very short acapella of the track?
Ciara: [Laughs] No… [Laughs] You have to call me in 3 hours when I’m warmed up. I’m in LA so I’m on West Coast time, I just woke up, I’m just cranking everything up and I don’t know what would come out right now so you would really have me out there. That’s cool… on the next interview for sure.
Sam: Oh ok (laughs). A lot of fans are keen to find out what the next singles is likely to be.
Ciara: I can’t tell you just yet, I have an idea but I want to wait before I say it so I don’t want to say the wrong thing. And it is exactly what it’s going to be.
Sam: How involved are you in the process of picking the next single along with the label?
Ciara: I’m always very vocal and at this point it really is a teamwork effort. I shoot up my ideas and we all do a teamwork effort together and we go for it.
Sam: Honestly speaking, what’s your take on the Keri Hilson ‘Turnin’ Me On (Remix)’. It has caused major head-waves as we all know. Are you two still cool?
Ciara: I’ll be honest with you, it’s kind of one of those things where I don’t really like to spend that much energy on stuff like that. And when it comes to beefs and dramas I just leave that to the rappers. I don’t get into it, I haven’t talked to her in a while, but I am wishing her well in everything she has going on.
Sam: After being in this industry for a minute, has there ever been a time when something you’ve heard has gotten you down, and how did you deal with this?
Ciara: There have definitely been some moments when something has probably frustrated me a little bit or kind of kicked a little bit of negative energy this way. But you know what, I’m at a point in my life to where I feel like I’m very blessed. To be on my third album to be living my dream to be waking up to be doing what I choose to do is a blessing. And you always have to think about that I could be in a whole space right now and so I just choose to think about all the great things I feel like I’ve been blessed with or all the great things and people I have in my life and that’s what keeps me positive and keeps me going.
Sam: You’ve gone on record to say that you would love to do a duet with Janet Jackson. Is that something we could look forward to in the future or perhaps her next record, or something we could see from Ciara anytime soon?
Ciara: There’s no telling, I definitely think it would be awesome. But I guess whenever that right moment comes if it’s something that Janet is down for then of course I guess it could happen. But I can’t tell you right now ‘oh I have a record and blah blah blah,’ I don’t have that response for you, but I definitely think that it would be cool.
Sam: You and Justin Timberlake were awfully close in the ‘Love, Sex & Magic’ Video. What is your take on people saying that ‘Ciara has taken it ‘too sexed up’ these days?
Ciara: I can definitely say that this album is about my growth as a woman and I can definitely say on this record, the more sensual side to me is coming out. ‘Love, Sex & Magic’ is definitely a true reflection of that side. I’m just having fun and my sensual side is coming out a little bit right now.
Sam: You’ve got a serious presence on Twitter. What do you think about its rapid rise to prominence?
Ciara: I think Twitter is really important, it’s important because it allows me to connect with my fans and talk with them. I honestly enjoy myself doing it. (It) doesn’t feel like I’m working, I really am having a fun time. It’s such a great platform to update your fans with new information, it’s such a great platform to fill them and connect with them. And that’s why I love Twitter, at first I was like this is crazy, but now I understand the importance of it or I believe it’s important.
Sam: Aside from That Grape Juice, do you visit any other internet blogs?
Ciara: [Thinking] Do I… yeah actually I do, I don’t even know why I asked that question, I blanked out [laughs]. I do to a couple of other websites; I do a little internet searching.
Sam: Do you read comments on yourself, comments of you performances or do you just go for general purposes?
Ciara: I like to be updated on what’s going on music and sometimes I like to read the comments. I pretty much refrain from trying to, because a lot of times people like to create negative things just to do it. And I feel like blogs are kind of like created to give us negative [vibes]. So I can’t go by that and I can’t depend on that. But I do like to go to go and be updated on entertainment and different things that happen because I don’t watch TV like that, that’s just my way of checking up on everything.
Sam: Just to let you know, it’s not all the blogs that are negative towards artists, there are a lot of positive ones.
Ciara: I know. What I realised in media is that negative energy travels faster than positive energy, and people tend to drive off of that more. So I pick and choose the moments to look at stuff, you can kind of get an idea when somebody is going to try and create something more than what it is, for something that is just not right. You have to pick and choose those moments, but at the end of the day a blogger doesn’t determine anything to me. A person that is negative doesn’t mean anything to me, but my fans do. I do enjoy going to my fan sites; you get a positive support.
Sam: Many are keen to know whether you are dating anyone at the moment?
Ciara: (laughs) I’m ‘dating’ my music!
Sam: (Laughs) If Super C was having a celebrity Death Match, who would she pick as her tag team partner?
Ciara: I love this question! Erm…Eminem
Sam: Ok, rounding up; I’m going to give you two names and you tell me which you prefer. Starting off: Beyonce or Destiny’s Child?
Sam: 50 Cent or Kanye West?
Ciara: Hmmm. That’s tuff [giggles]. I think both artists are really dope, but I would say 50 Cent.
Sam: Michael or Janet?
Ciara: Ahh that’s just not right (laughs)… Michael.
Sam: Sell me Fantasy Ride in one word?
Sam: We reported today that you will be going on tour with Jay-Z this summer. When will the tour be kicking off?
Ciara: I think sometime in July I don’t know the dates just now [laughs].
Sam: Before we call it an interview, many of your fans want to know whether we’ll we be seeing you perform at the BET Awards 2009?
Ciara: As of now I can’t say, but would I love to? Absolutely.
Sam: Ms. Harris, it really was great speaking with you. Best of luck with the project.
Ciara: Aww…thank you, love. Have a great day. Mwah!
Want more? Check out Part 2 below!