Childhood & Early Life
Ciara Princess Harris was born on October 25, 1985, in Austin, Texas, USA, to Jackie and Carlton Clay Harris.
Her father was with the ‘United States Army.’ Hence, she spent her childhood in several army bases, including New York, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Germany. Her family later moved to Atlanta, Georgia.
During her teens, she watched Janet Jackson and American girl group ‘Destiny's Child’ perform on television which motivated her to take up music.
She went on to form an all-girl group called ‘Hearsay’ with two of her friends and started recording demos. However, differences between the band members led to the disbandment of the group when she was 15. Subsequently, she commenced on a solo musical journey and concentrated on her song-writing skills.
She signed a publishing deal as a songwriter and started writing songs for the likes of Mýa and Fantasia Barrino. Her first success came with the song ‘Got Me Waiting’ for Barrino’s first album ‘Free Yourself.’
In 2002, she met music producer Jazze Pha. Five days later, she was signed to his ‘Sho'nuff’ label. She recorded four demos with Pha whom she mentioned as her “music soulmate.”
In 2003, she completed her graduation from ‘Riverdale High School’ in Riverdale, Georgia.
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Following her graduation, she signed a record contract with ‘LaFace Records’ with the help of Pha.
On June 8, 2004, ‘LaFace Records’ released her debut single ‘Goodies’ which served as the lead single of her first studio album. The song, which was co-written by Craig Love, Jefferson, LeMarquis, and Sean Garrett and produced by Lil Jon, featured American rapper Petey Pablo.
The single received appreciation from the critics and topped the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart for seven weeks. It was the first time since 1977 that a debut single by a female singer had achieved such a feat.
The song also topped ‘US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks’ chart, ‘US Rhythmic Top 40’ chart, and the ‘UK Singles Chart.’ It also earned her the title ‘First Lady or Princess of Crunk&B.’
On September 28, 2004, her debut studio album ‘Goodies’ was released through ‘Sho'nuff Records’ and ‘LaFace Records.’ The concept of the album came from her debut song ‘Goodies’ which was developed as a female crunk counterpart to ‘Yeah!,’ a song by the popular American singer Usher.
The album was a commercial success, debuting at #3 on the ‘US Billboard 200’ chart. It also had a 71-week run on the chart. It climbed atop the ‘Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums’ chart. It received 3 x Platinum certification from the ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ (RIAA).
Apart from the title track, ‘Goodies’ spawned three other singles, namely ‘1, 2 Step,’ ‘Oh,’ and ‘And I.’
‘1, 2 Step,’ which released on October 23, 2004, featured popular American rapper Missy Elliott. It peaked at #5 on ‘US Billboard Hot 100’ and topped the ‘US Billboard Pop 100’ and ‘US Billboard Mainstream Top 40’ charts. It was certified platinum by RIAA and ARIA and gold by RMNZ.
‘1, 2 Step’ also earned a nomination for ‘Best Rap/Sung Collaboration’ at the 48th ‘Annual Grammy Awards.’
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Ciara was featured in Missy Elliott’s hit single ‘Lose Control’ along with Fatman Scoop. The song, which released on May 27, 2005, won her the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Short Form Music Video’ and the ‘Soul Train Music Award’ for ‘Best R&B/Soul or Rap Dance Cut’ along with Elliott and Scoop in 2006.
Ciara stepped into the world of acting with the May 23, 2006 released sport/drama film ‘All You've Got,’ which was produced by ‘MTV Studios.’ Her other big-screen endeavors include ‘Mama, I Want to Sing!’ (2012) and ‘That’s My Boy’ (2012).
Her second studio album ‘Ciara: The Evolution’ released on December 5, 2006, and became her first album to top the ‘US Billboard 200’ chart. It also topped the ‘U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums’ chart and received platinum certification from RIAA.
Singles from ‘Ciara: The Evolution’ include ‘Get Up,’ ‘Promise,’ ‘Like a Boy,’ and ‘Can't Leave 'em Alone.’ Of these, ‘Get Up,’ which released as the album's international lead single on July 25, 2006, was used in the 2006 film ‘Step Up.’
Meanwhile, she embarked on ‘The Evolution Tour’ to promote the album ‘Ciara: The Evolution’ in October 2006 which marked her first headlining tour. Other headlining tours of Ciara include the ‘Screamfest '07’ with T.I. (2007), the ‘Jay-Z & Ciara Live’ concert tour with Jay-Z (2009) and the ‘Jackie Tour’ in 2015.
Her achievements as a recording artist earned her ‘Woman of the Year’ award at the annual ‘Billboard Women in Music’ event held by ‘Billboard’ in October 2008.
On May 3, 2009, she released her third studio album ‘Fantasy Ride’ which debuted at #3 on ‘US Billboard 200’ and peaked at #9 on the ‘UK Albums Chart.’ Although it became her first album to reach the top ten of the ‘UK Albums Chart,’ it garnered less success than her first two albums.
The song ‘Love Sex Magic’ from ‘Fantasy Ride,’ featuring American recording artist Justin Timberlake, released as the album’s lead single internationally and earned her a ‘Grammy Award’ nomination under the ‘Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals’ category.
She embarked into television in 2009 with the American reality television series ‘America's Next Top Model’ and then went on to appear in other series, including ‘Idols South Africa’ (2012), ‘The Game’ (2013), ‘I Can Do That’ (2015), and ‘Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn’ (2015).
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She was featured in several magazine spreads following her multimillion-dollar deal with ‘Wilhelmina Models’ in 2009.
Her fourth studio album ‘Basic Instinct’ released on December 10, 2010, and met with little success. The following year, she signed a new record deal with ‘Epic Records.’
She released her eponymous fifth studio album on July 5, 2013 through ‘Epic Records.’ It debuted at #2 on the ‘US Billboard 200’ chart, becoming her fourth album to reach the top three positions of the chart.
On May 1, 2015, she released her sixth studio album ‘Jackie’ through ‘Sony Music Entertainment.’ It debuted at #17 on the ‘US Billboard 200’ chart. However, it experienced the lowest first week sales compared to her previous five albums, selling only 20,000 copies.
It was announced on May 12, 2016 that ‘IMG’ has signed a modeling contract with her. Later that year, she became a global brand ambassador for ‘Revlon.’
She co-hosted the ‘Billboard Music Awards’ in 2016 along with American hip hop recording artist and actor Ludacris.
Her seventh studio album ‘Beauty Marks’ released on May 10, 2019, and debuted at number 87 on the ‘US Billboard 200’ chart, making it her lowest ranking album to date. The album received mixed reviews and includes singles, such as ‘Level Up,’ ‘Freak Me,’ ‘Dose,’ ‘Greatest Love,’ and ‘Thinkin Bout You.’