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That Grape Juice caught up with R&B star Ciara this past week. With the recent announcement of the singer’s 4th studio album ‘Basic Instinct’, we were eager to quiz her on the record, as well as a host of other topics.
Our third interview with the 24 year old, this was hands-down the best! A very candid Ciara spoke on everything from the poor performance of her ‘Fantasy Ride’ LP, to what we can expect from her new record, BET’s banning of her ‘Ride’ video, what she wants her legacy to be, the possibility of a duet with Keri Hilson, her response to claims she’s gone “too Pop” and much more!
As ever, we ask the questions you really want answers to! Enjoy…
Interviewer: Sam // Transcription: Bisi Kadejoh // Edited by: Trent
Ciara Shouts Out That Grape Juice
Sam: Hi Ciara! How are you?
Ciara: I’m great, thank you. I can’t complain and yourself?
I’m doing well, thanks.
You recently announced that your 4th studio album is entitled ‘Basic Instinct’. What inspired the record’s name?
Well, ‘Basic Instinct’ really came from the whole concept me taking it back to the basics, and going back to where it started from and at the same time still sharing my growth and that’s kind of where the inspiration came from, it’s also trusting my basic instinct with everything from the music choice to love just everything. That’s pretty much where the title came from.
You’re currently in the latter stages of the recording process. What can we expect from the album, in the way of producers, sound, features, etc?
I have to say that this album – out of all them – is the one that is most dedicated to my fans, and I have written and laid it out with my fans in mind. That being said, you’re going to get whole lot of things – I’m going to tell you that right now. You’re going to be able to dance; when you out on this album I don’t want you to just sit down, and if you do sit down there’s going to be some records that make you feel good, they’re going to be like mid tempo real groovy; a few ballads. Overall I want my fans to dance none stop. You’re definitely going to have a good time listening to this record and I just want my fans to be happy.
The only features I have so far are Ludacris and The-Dream. I’m not sure if it’s going to change. I have done so many in the past but with this record I wanted to approach it differently. I didn’t want to have as many features as I had before; I wanted my fans to have a really intimate experience with me; I really wanted to give them more of me. However, never say never until you close the actual door. As of now my features are very light and I do kind of want to keep it that way. The record will be out this summer for sure, they’re actually going to be confirming a release date at the end of this week.
The album was preceded by the single ‘Ride’ – which we love here at That Grape Juice. However, there has been a little controversy surrounding BET and their refusal to play the video. What exactly went down?
When they reviewed the video they felt it wasn’t appropriate for that network, long story short that’s pretty much what it was.
Do you think that it’s fair when we see equally risqué videos by the likes Trey Songz and Lady GaGa getting TV time on the very same station?
Of course I would love for my videos to play on all networks, so it’s definitely unfortunate in that case. However, I’m very proud of my video and I can’t do nothing but respect how they feel.
Despite spawning a massive hit with ‘Love Sex Magic’, your last album ‘Fantasy Ride’ underperformed. Why do you think this was?
I would say for a few reasons, but first I would also have to say that’s an album that I’m also very proud of. I moved my release date back a couple of times; I made so many changes behind the scenes… there was kind of a whole lot going on… and that’s the thing people didn’t really get to see – everything from management to just a lot of things. A lot of things happened behind the scenes that people cannot see, but in that process there was just a whole lot going on and a lot of time when you put out a project you have to have everything in place like that. I can’t necessarily say exactly why. I do have some things that, if I could reverse the hands of time, I would have done have done them differently if I could have.
But actually even though it didn’t work out, it ended up being a great situation. I say this because when everything goes right you can learn, but not like you can when something may not go as planned those moments make you strong. (Such moments) help define your character, they help build you. Even though I may not as sold as many as my other albums, I get a lot of positivity from that experience; I still feel good about that experience because it helped make me strong; it’s made me wiser and surer of the things I want to do.
Honestly, if you ask me I could have promoted the record longer but we didn’t promote the record for a long time either and that’s what got me here to ‘Basic Instinct’. I was really having fun creatively and doing some really extreme visuals. It was a blessing to be able to express that side of me. However now I want to take back to the basics and that why I’m at this record.
We hear you.
Although we disagree, there are some who argue that “Ciara went too Pop” and there is a lot pressure on you to stay in confines of the Urban formats. What’s your take on that?
Ultimately, I don’t know what artist wouldn’t want to be as big as you want to be and I’ve always evolved. My goal from the beginning has always been to penetrate as many homes as I possibly can. It’s been my goal to not only succeed in R&B, but also have Pop as a part of what I do. One thing is certain, though; R&B is the core of who I am. I feel like if I make music which is good to me, people will feel that and that’s something you can’t over think it or pre-calculate. I can get on stage with a bunch of rappers and rock it and hold my own, yet I can go on stage with Justin Timberlake and still hold my own. It’s important for me to be able to cover al basesl and to be able to add a Hip-Hop element its key to me. My goal is to be able to speak to as many people as possible. I don’t want to over think it. If I do what feels good, people will feel it. But there always has to be aggressiveness to it and a hard bottom to it and that’s what I’ve loved from the beginning.
I remember my first tour; I was on the road 50 cent, Ludacris and Lil Jon. It was crazy but it was so cool because I was the only girl, and I was actually able to represent for all of the girls. R&B is the key part of the ingredient to what I do; I’m completely aware of it and I just don’t try to over think it to be honest with you. If you do think too much into it you’ll drive yourself crazy. Look at Mary J Blige’s career. Mary was hardcore Urban when she first started and still has the super Urban elements to her music but she’s grown. I don’t know which artist that’s has come in and say they just want to be in one box and that they only want to speak to a certain amount of people. You always want to reach the masses, but you don’t want to compromise who you are doing it – I will say that. I can do dance music, but there’s a certain dance music that I should do. I don’t want to start going off and doing some crazy techno, that it’s not making sense. If I did it, it would have to have the bottom, the aggressiveness and the bass in it.
In ‘U Got Me’, you say ‘I hate it when they talk about me, but I love it when they talk about me’. What does that mean?
It’s just saying that you would like it if people didn’t have negative things to say about you but then at the same time they always say, rather they would be talking about you then not. For me it’s one of those things (I say to myself), “okay well there must be something important about me that you’re worried and concerned about me”.
Honestly speaking, how important is the commercial success of this project?
It’s very important that, more than anything, my fans really enjoy it and that’s who I’m really trying to speak to. Of course in a perfect world I want my record to be as successful as it could possibly be, but we are at disadvantage in this time with music. However, it’s an exciting time for me because it allows us artists to be creative and find new ways to draw fans. (As I said), for me, in a perfect world, I would love for my record to be very successful and more than anything I would love to be able to go on the road and tour. If I can do that I would be happy and satisfied. Of course I would love to get a Grammy and all kinds of awards. I want put it out to the universe that that stuff will happen.
There’s been a lot of murmuring about your next single, with ‘Get It Girl’ being touted as the next release…
As of now, it’s not necessarily my new single; the version that’s has been put out there is not the final version of the record but that’s the record that I love. It seems that my fans really love it too. It makes me feel good because it lets me know that I’m going in the right direction and that’s funny because on my last album – when I had leaks – I was really tripping out because I never had that happen before. It’s unfortunate that it’s happened. In a perfect world I’d like if it didn’t. However, it’s been a meter to tell me where my fans are with what I’m doing so far. We are actually working on it and it’s really going to be exciting. I think my fans are going to love it, in a perfect world I hope it’s what I’m pushing for.
Many of your fans want to know if you’ll be performing at the 2010 BET Awards?
As of now I’m not, but it will definitely be cool to rock the stage. But we will know something soon if I will.
Of the many artists who have risen to prominence over the last 10 years, who would you say you admire most and why?
More than anything, the music I’ve really liked lately has been Drake’s music. I think he’s got a really cool and unique sound and has been given some really good music. I like Nicki Minaj as well. I think she’s really good, she’s got a unique style and I feel like she’s doing her when I watch her.
Ok, rounding up. Let’s play a quick game: I’ll give you two terms and you tell me which you prefer.
Singing or dancing?
That’s hard for me to choose… I love both equally!
Keri Hilson collabo: yay or nay?
(Giggles) It’s funny you asked me that question… (Giggles more!)
If I could do a callabo with any artist right now it would be Usher!
Janet Jackson or Madonna
‘Fantasy Ride’ or ‘Evolution’
I don’t know that’s hard, man! They’re both good records. I’d have to pick, ‘Fantasy Ride’, though. Honestly.
Finally, what do you like Ciara’s legacy to be?
In a perfect world, I would become an icon one day, sold many records; make some history in some way. I would like to be known as very hard working woman; very determined. Overall, just be known as a great artist and when it’s all said and done for people to say “Ciara was amazing she was an icon, she’s really a legend.” Most importantly, (I want) to be naturally well off; I would love to be a billionaire. I would love that that could be where it all ended for me.
Loving your honesty!
Before, you go; can we please get an acapella of ‘Ride’?
(Laughs) Early in the morning, you did this to me last time! I don’t want to open my mouth and sound crazy. When I go on Ustream I’ll do it for my fans.
As ever Ciara, it has been a pleasure.
Thank you Sam! See you when I’m in London, which should be in July!