Ciara crashed into the UK charts in 2004 with her debut single Goodies. Since then she’s scored big hits with 1,2 Step, Oh, Like A Boy and Love Sex Magic featuring Justin Timberlake. Her last album Fantasy Ride performed disappointingly on the charts despite being her highest charting in the UK.
Now preparing for the release of fourth studio album Basic Instinct, Ciara is returning to her roots for her most exciting work to date. Lead single Ride features Ludacris and has already created controversy in the US after being banned by BET.
We caught up with Ciara to talk about Ride, find out more about Basic Instinct and discuss those impressive dance moves.
How are you today?
I’m pretty good. I just woke up because it’s early on my end. I’m definitely feeling good.
Your new single Ride is coming out in the UK. Tell us a bit about it.
Ride is produced by Tricky and The Dream and it has somewhat of a sensual vibe to it. The concept behind the record can go many different ways. For example it can be about how you ride hard for a guy in your relationship so that’s the overall tone of the record. What I love about the track is the production. It’s one of those records that’s like a mid-tempo but you can dance to it. That was important to me – it’s all important to me that you can dance to my records. Sometimes there are records that don’t require the dancing but in this case I want you to be able to dance to it but in a different way. On this record I got to challenge myself; coming up with the creative for the actual video and it’s just a fun record.
You’ve got Ludacris on the track. You’ve worked with him several times now…
I think Luda is so talented and he’s always brings a really great energy to a record. I always love what he brings to a record and especially when it comes to us working together. We joke that we’re more like a group now but I do feel like the work we’ve had together is very special. I feel something unique really comes out of our collaborations together.
You’re new album Basic Instinct is coming later this year. Are you still recording the record or have you finished now?
Well I’ve almost finished. I’m about 95% done. That’s what I’m going to do today – I’m going to finalise the (track)listing for my album too. We’re at the very end. We’ve got some interludes and stuff like that but I’m almost at the very end now.
What can we expect from the album?
With this record I’m taking it back to basics and giving my fans what they love. It’s me taking it back to when I first started. I have to say on this record I put a warning that it’s bass heavy because that’s how I started out; the bass is always important…it’s an important ingredient to my music. There’s definitely a lot of bass but at the same time you’re going to be able to put it on and listen to it from beginning to end. It will definitely keep you out of your seat. Even the slow records tell such great stories and are still so good I feel like my fans are going to be happy. I do believe that when you hear the record you’re really gonna have a good time listening to the music. It’s going to take you to a really fun place.
Is it going to be an evolution from your first three albums or will it offer a mixture of sounds?
It’s definitely going to be a mixture. It’s going to have a bit of the ingredients from my first record. One thing I’ve always said is that I want my albums to have all three; I want it to be a bit of the hip-hop, a little bit of the R&B and pop. I’ve been very blessed and my music has always been able to go into those areas. For example with my first record I toured with 50 Cent, Lil’ Jon and Ludacris…I was the only female there and I was able to hold my own in the middle of all those guys. Later on in my career I had a record with Justin (Timberlake) and it was very different from my world. I was just able to share that side of me there. It’s really important to me that it’s a combination and that it can travel from the hood in Atlanta to the UK – that’s important to me. It’s definitely going to have a little hip-hop, R&B and pop.
Your live shows are very energetic and you are an incredible performer. How much effort does it take to devise and put on those kind of shows?
It definitely takes hard work when you want to make your show be as great as it can be. It’s really fun too y’know? It’s a lot of hard work overall but you feel so good when it comes together. You just feel good to know you’ve accomplished that and you’ve put together a good, energetic show; the fans love it and that’s the best feeling in the world.
Some of your dance moves are just incredible. You must train all the time to be able to be that flexible…
I definitely have my moments like when I’m getting ready for big events like a tour or an awards show or my album packaging. For photoshoots I do train a bit hard and go aggressively when it comes to training but at the same time there’s also balance for me. I don’t train every day of my life. I have to take time off for example I’ve probably not trained in the gym for about a month or two months now. I’ve been very blessed by genetics as well so I don’t have to go to the gym every day. I like to go to build up my wind and to make sure that my heart rate is pumping like it should, and make sure I’m not winded when I perform. There are a lot of things I do get out of training.
When we saw you supporting Britney last year you were singing live and dancing. It must take some stamina to do that…
Absolutely. It takes a lot, it does! You have to really practice and practice and that’s where the training really becomes helpful.
When will you be performing live here in the UK again?
I am hoping by this Fall to be there. That would be so fun and I’ll have just put out my record in the UK. I’d love to come over there and tour and actually just stay there for a bit – that would be so much fun.
Do you think it’ll be a full tour or just a one-off show to celebrate the release of ‘Basic Instinct’?
I want to do something to celebrate the release of the album but I also want a tour so I can stay longer. I want to just come out there and tour. There’s a lot of places in the UK that I haven’t been to.
How do you cope with the constant comparison to other female artists?
It’s something that just becomes numb. At the end of the day I have a vision and I feel that you have to be consistent with that. I do believe that one day people will push that away. To be honest with you there was a lot of comparison early in my career but at least from my perspective I haven’t heard them as much as I used to hear them. However in the event when someone does do a comparison I just feel like you let people say what they feel and then hopefully in time it’ll be something different. By me just sticking to what I believe in and sticking to what my creative vision is I do believe that in time it will become its own thing. That’s the goal and that’s what I’m pushing for. You just become numb to it. It doesn’t even matter to me to be honest. I know my intentions, I know where I come from creatively and I believe in time people won’t do that at all.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking to your fans on Twitter and they keep asking if there’s going to be a video to go with the ‘Ride’ remix. Can you tell us anything about that?
As of now we have the original video but there isn’t a remix being shot. You never know but as of now there isn’t one.
The original video was banned by BET. What do you think they did that?
Unfortunately BET banned the video. It was definitely a surprise to myself because I’m used to releasing my videos and having some comments about things people don’t like but I’ve never had my video banned. It was a surprise to me. It’s one of those things where I’m very proud of the video but it’s just unfortunate as in a perfect world I want my video to play on all networks. It’s a decision I had to respect. My fans are still able to see my video and there’s other ways and outlets for them to see it.
Finally, what’s coming up for you in the rest of 2010?
There’s a few things I’m putting together but I can’t speak about them yet until they’re confirmed. However one of the things I’m honestly looking forward to is touring in the UK that’s gonna be fun for me. I honestly look forward to coming over and seeing my fans in the UK. My new website onlyciara.com is also opening very shortly so look out for that.
‘Ride’ is available now and the album ‘Basic Instinct’ is due for release in August.