Like Madonna, one of her role models, Ciara (pronounced Sierra) prefers to be known without a surname. Her full name is Ciara Princess Harris, born in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 25, 1985; the only child of Carlton and Jackie Harris. She grew up on army bases in Germany, New York, Utah, California, Arizona and Nevada.
A multi-tasker, she’s a singer, songwriter, entertainer, record producer, dancer, fashion model, music video director, actress and fashion designer all rolled into one.
“I’m an achiever,” she confessed during a 20-minute exclusive phone interview with Funfare (she was calling from Atlanta, USA). “I enjoy doing so many things at the same time.”
The interview was arranged by Sony BMG Music Entertainment which released her debut album, Goodies, and sophomore album, Ciara: The Evolution. Her third album, Fantasy Ride, to be released anytime now simultaneously in the US and the Philippines, includes a duet with Justin Timberlake, titled Love Sex Magic.
Why aren’t you using your surname?
“Well, I like the way Ciara sounds as opposed to Ciara Princess Harris. It sounds better, doesn’t it?”
You are a singer, songwriter, entertainer, record producer, dancer, fashion model, music video director, actress and a fashion designer. How do you find time for all of them?
“If you set your mind to it, you can do a lot of things all at the same time. I am the type who wants to do so many things, to create so many goals, and I work hard to achieve them. I enjoy doing it.”
As a child, didn’t you want to be something else?
“I love to dance ever since I was a kid, so I knew that I would be a dancer. I also like to sing, so I knew that I would be a singer, even if I was sad about my singing.”
“I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t satisfied with it when I was younger. I was aggressive even when I was young; I wanted to try everything. I wanted to be a model, too, and even then I was fond of clothes and make-up. Finally, I got to an age where I understood what I really wanted to do and that is to be a singer.”
You have such a beautiful body. How do you maintain it?
“Well, I’m strict with my diet; I don’t eat too much sweets and desserts. But I don’t deprive myself, so every now and then I eat ice-cream and French fries. But since I’m hyper-active, my metabolism works real fast. I work out for an hour six days a week.”
How do you pamper yourself?
“I get a manicure and a pedicure. I have my hair done...that’s always fun. I go to the spa.”
How have you evolved since 2004 when you released your debut album, Goodies?
“As an artist, I’ve been trying a lot of things. I’m becoming more comfortable with myself as a woman, which is really cool.”
Has your life, to quote the title of your third album, really been a “fantasy ride” this past few years?
“Definitely! It has been a real fantasy ride and I hope it doesn’t stop. I’m enjoying it! It has been a wonderful journey, with something new coming up every year. It’s even more fun because I’m trying to understand my environment a little bit more, you know.”
You recorded Love Sex Magic with Justin Timberlake for your Fantasy Ride album. How was the experience?
“Oh, I had fun! We had fun. Justin is very sweet, very down-to-earth. A beautiful guy, definitely.”
You are an only child. What was your childhood like?
“When I was small, I wanted to have a brother or a sister. But when I got older, I got used to not having any. I have gotten used to being an only child but it took time.”
You grew up in army bases in Germany, New York, Utah, California, Arizona and Nevada. How was the experience different from that of any typical child?
“The only difference was that I traveled a lot. I wasn’t at home as other children were most of the time. Our family kept on moving from one place to another. I experienced different cultures.”
What was the best thing that you learned from these places?
“Oh, I learned that people are different only because they live in different places and have different cultures, but everybody is basically the same. It was a very good experience, very awesome, and it helped make embracing people of different cultures so much easier. I recommend traveling to everybody.”
According to your bio-data, watching Destiny’s Child in a TV program inspired you to pursue a career in music. Who are your other musical influences?
“Oh, there’s Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Madonna. They are my inspiration.”