Born on October 25, 1985, in Austin, Texas, Ciara traveled the world as an only child of military parents. After she settled in Atlanta as a teen, she decided on music as a career. Ciara joined a girl group, which did not work out, but she was inspired to hone her songwriting skills, which led to a meeting with Jazze Pha, a prominent Atlanta producer at the time. She was signed to Atlanta’s LaFace Records in 2003 and released a 2004 hit single and debut album, both titled Goodies.
Ciara was born in Austin, Texas on October 25, 1985, the only child of Jackie and Carlton Harris. An army brat, she grew up 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 moved to 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. “1, 2 Step” 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, she wrote a demo with record producer, Sean Garrett, which came 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!.”
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 Elliott’s single “Lose Control“, and won her last nomination, Best Short Form Music Video for Lose Control.
On December 5, 2006, Ciara released her second studio album, Ciara: The Evolution. According to the singer, the title of the album is “about so much more than just my personal growth – it’s about the evolution of music, the evolution of dance, the evolution of fashion.” The source of the album’s creativity such as the sound and edge comes from Ciara in general. Ciara: The Evolution became Ciara’s first number one album on the US Billboard 200 and second on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts with sales of more than 338,000 becoming her highest first week of sales to date. The album went on to be certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States, within only five weeks of its release, and has sold 1.3 million copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. It sold over two million copies worldwide.
The album’s international lead single, “Get Up“, which features Chamillionaire, reached number seven in the United States and gained a platinum accreditation. It reached number five in New Zealand. The song was used for the film Step Up and featured on the film’s soundtrack. The album’s US lead single, “Promise“, reached number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her third number one single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Like a Boy” was released as the second international single which reached within the top twenty in the UK, Finland, France, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, and also in the United States. The fourth and final single from the album, “Can’t Leave ’em Alone“, reached number 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song became Ciara’s fifth single to peak in the top in New Zealand, peaking at number 4. The song achieved moderate success in other international markets.
In support of the album, Ciara went on her first headlining tour in October 2006. The tour went to seventeen different clubs in cities throughout the United States. The tour was met with mixed to positive reviews; critics were divided regarding the pre-recorded backing tracks and remarked that Ciara was slightly under-prepared to host her own headlining tour, but ultimately praised her energetic choreography. In August 2007, she headlined the Screamfest ’07 tour with fellow rapper, T.I.. Critics praised her performance for her gracious dancing and being able to command a sold out arena. Ciara, along with Chris Brown and Akon, was a support act for Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad Tour in the United Kingdom. She made a guest appearance on “So What” by Field Mob. The single went on to become a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. She also appeared on Tiffany Evans’ single “Promise Ring“. The song achieved little success on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
In addition to her music, Ciara made her acting debut in the MTV Films production All You’ve Got in May 2006. In the movie she played Becca Whiley, a teenager who is competing in a volleyball tournament. The movie received mixed to positive reviews; critics said the movie was predictable but still enjoyable.
In October 2008, Ciara was honored as Billboard’s “Woman of the Year“, because of her success as a recording artist and leadership in embracing the changing music business. Although her third album was originally scheduled for a September 2008 release, Fantasy Ride was released after a number of delays in May 2009. The album combines her R&B and hip hop sound from her previous albums along with a new pop and dance sound. While talking to MTV News, Ciara said, “I’m having a bit more fun with my lyrics. I’m not afraid. In the beginning, I was conscious and really protective and somewhat scared in reference to doing some things. With this album I’m not holding back, there’s a freedom. It’s just the space I’m in right now.” It became Ciara’s first top ten album in the UK and Canada. In the United States, Fantasy Ride debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, becoming Ciara’s third consecutive album to debut within the top three on the chart. To date, it has sold 193,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“Go Girl” was the first single released from the album. It was originally the lead single from the album, but the single achieved minimum success and was later deemed a promo single. However, the single managed to reach the top of the charts in Japan. The album’s official lead single, “Never Ever“, which features Young Jeezy, was released in the United States in January 2009 and reached a peak of number nine on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The second single, “Love Sex Magic“, featuring Justin Timberlake, became a worldwide hit, peaking within the top ten in twenty countries including the U.S., where it peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. It went on to be certified platinum in Australia and received a gold accreditation in New Zealand. It received a nomination for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals” at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards and also for Best Choreography in a Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. “Like A Surgeon” was the fourth single from the album. The song received no promotion and no single cover nor music video was released. However, the song did manage to peak at number fifty-nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart from airplay alone. “Work“, the final single, achieved moderate success in international markets.
In July 2009, Ciara headlined the Jay-Z & Ciara Live tour with Jay-Z. Her performance received mixed reviews; critics said although her dancing was top-notch, she seemed disconnected from the crowd. She was also the support act for Britney Spears’s Circus tour, where she performed eight nights at London’s prestigious O2 Arena during June 2009. Her performance received rave reviews from critics and fans alike, who noted her dancing skills as being spectacular and arguably better than Britney Spears’. Ciara made a guest appearance on Nelly’s single “Stepped On My J’z” from his album Brass Knuckles. The song achieved minimal success in the US. Ciara was also featured on Enrique Iglesias’ single, “Takin’ Back My Love“, from his Greatest Hits album. The song became an international hit, peaking in the top ten of over fifteen international countries, and being certified Gold in Russia, with sales of over 100,000. In February 2010, Ciara along with Pitbull were featured on the remix to Ludacris’ hit single “How Low“. The following month, Ciara made a cameo appearance in the music video of Usher’s single, “Lil’ Freak“.
Ciara released her fourth studio album, Basic Instinct, on December 14, 2010. She told Pete Lewis of Blues & Soul magazine that the album is about her trusting her instinct and going back to the R&B/urban basics, in the days of “Goodies” and “1, 2 Step“. It was executively produced by the singer alongside her A&R agent Mark Pitts and writing/production duo Tricky Stewart and The-Dream who also produced records for her previous album, Fantasy Ride. Basic Instinct debuted at number forty-four on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 37,000 copies, becoming her only album to not peak within the top three. On the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, the album opened at number eleven, her only album to not peak within the top two of the chart. The lead single, “Ride“, which features Ludacris, was released on April 26, 2010. It peaked at number forty-two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, number three on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming her twelfth top ten hit on the chart, and number seventy-five on the UK Singles Chart. The accompanying music video won the award for “Best Dance Performance” at the 2010 Soul Train Music Awards. “Speechless” was released as the second single from the album and achieved minimal success, peaking at only number seventy-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Gimmie Dat“, the third single from the album was praised by critics but failed to become a hit, peaking at only sixty-three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and number twenty-seven on the urban charts in the UK. In November 2010, Ciara performed at the Summerbeatz tour alongside Flo Rida, Jay Sean, Akon, Travie McCoy and Ja Rule. In the summer of 2011, Ciara was a part of the Malibu Rum Tour. She performed in seven shows across the US.
In February 2011, following rumors that Ciara had been dropped by Jive Records, she released an official statement to her Facebook page complaining of inadequate promotion and funding from the label. She stated that she received a lack of support from the label, and even paid for the promotion of some singles, such as “Gimmie Dat“, herself. The frustration she felt while working with her third and fourth albums led her to request that she be released from her contract. In May 2011, Ciara was removed from the Jive Records website roster. On July 12, 2011, it was reported that she had reunited with L.A. Reid by signing with his record label Epic Records, and was confirmed in September 2011.
During an interview with Sway in the Morning in February 2012, Ciara revealed that she will be taking her time recording her fifth studio album, stating: “It’s just really about the vibe, and I’ll just tell you that it’s a good vibe going. It’s really important for me to take my time with this record and it’s important for the whole team. It’s really, really good energy.” She has been working on the album with a number of producers and songwriters, including Hit-Boy, Soundz, Diane Warren, Tricky Stewart, and The Underdogs. In an interview, Ciara said “I worked with some people that are very fresh, which I’m excited about … When it comes to artists, when it comes to writers, when it comes to producers, I really wanted to push. We pretty much reached out and worked with a lot of people that I’ve never worked with before, which is really fun.”
During a press conference with MTV in May 2012, Ciara announced her fifth studio album would be titled One Woman Army and said the lead single, “Sweat“, would be out very soon. The single, which features rapper 2 Chainz, premiered online on June 4, 2012, and was to be released via iTunes on June 19, 2012. However, the release of the single was scrapped at the last minute for unknown reasons. On August 13, 2012, Ciara revealed that the official lead single for the album would be titled “Sorry“. On September 13, 2012, the official music video for “Sorry” was premiered on BET’s 106 & Park as well as VEVO. “Sorry” was made available for purchase as a digital download on September 25, 2012, and impacted US Urban contemporary and Rhythmic radio stations on October 9, 2012. In the United States, “Sorry” reached a peak at forty on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart while charting at No 22 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart listing of the top 25 songs that have yet to enter the Billboard Hot 100.
On October 21, 2012, Rap-Up magazine posted a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of “Got Me Good“, the second single from the album. The song and video, which was directed by Joseph Kahn, premiered on the Sony JumboTron in Times Square in New York City on October 25, 2012. The single was released via digital download on November 6, 2012. “Got Me Good” impacted rhythmic radio on November 13, and mainstream radio on December 4.
On April 15, 2013, the same day the album’s track listing was revealed, it was also announced that the album is not titled One Woman Army anymore and that the new title is Ciara. Due to their low performance on the charts, the label decided not to include “Sweat“, “Sorry“, and “Got Me Good” on the tracklist. Instead, it was later announced that a new song titled “Body Party” would serve as the lead single. It was released in March 2013 and so far reaching number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the US Billboard “Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs” chart . The second single is “I’m Out” featuring Nicki Minaj. The album was released on July 9, 2013. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 59,000 copies in the US. The album became Ciara’s fourth album to chart within the top three of the Billboard chart. The album charted at number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Aside from music in 2012, Ciara also starred in two movies during this time. She starred in the straight-to-DVD film, Mama, I Want to Sing!. She played Amara Winter, a preacher’s daughter who was discovered by a well-established musician. She appeared as Brie in the 2012 comedy film, That’s My Boy. Ciara made an appearance as herself playing Lauren London’s best friend on the Season 6 premiere of BET’s The Game which aired on March 26, 2013, she continued to be an recurring cast member throughout the season.
In September 2013, producer Mike WiLL Made It revealed that Ciara had began work on her sixth studio album. In December 2013, Ciara confirmed she was in the process of making a new album. During an interview with Rap-Up magazine Ciara revealed that recording for her sixth album has began around Thanksgiving of 2013 and she will be releasing new music really soon. In late January 2014, Ciara premiered a live version of a song entitled “Anytime” at the Degree Women Grammys Celebration in Los Angeles, on February 2, 2014, Ciara premiered the studio version produced Boi-1da and Katalyst featuring her boyfriend and rapper Future.
In 2005, Ciara began dating rapper Bow Wow. In April 2006, Bow Wow and Ciara ended their relationship. Although the two never confirmed the reason for the break-up, it was revealed that Bow Wow cheated on Ciara.
In early 2013, there were numerous reports and rumors revealing that rapper Future and Ciara were in a relationship. Later on, Future eventually confirmed this in an interview. Since then they have made their relationship public and have shown up to numerous events together hand in hand.Ciara has a capital N tattooed on her ring finger, the ‘N’ stands for Future’s name, Nayvadius. On October 28, 2013, Ciara announced her engagement to Future with a fifteen carat diamond ring. On January 14, 2014, during an interview with US daytime program The View, Ciara announced that she and Future are expecting their first child together.