Ciara Independence Day

Ciara Independence Day
This has been an interesting year for Ciara Princess Harris: her album was delayed then finally renamed; she dropped a couple of not-so-successful singles followed by a couple of summer anthems; she's been more public than even with her love for Atlanta rapper Future; and just when you thought the dust had settled, her album Ciara pops up on Groupon. But despite what story is framing her name, there is no circus that can take away from the critical and commercial success of her newest body of work, which shares her moniker and sheds light on the star in a way the world has yet to see.

A self-titled album seems like a milestone in every artist's career. For you, it's your fifth album. Does naming this particular body of work after yourself have any significance?
To me it was important to do self-titled because it is authentically me. It also gives my fans a chance to really get to know me, I feel like my fans haven't really gotten the chance to truly get to know who I am. I am very comfortable in my skin and I'm living my life for me. I just feel very good as a person and in how I'm choosing to live my life. It's time to just really not care what anyone else has to say and just be you and so this is me.

Today's artist has a lot of pressure to share and show everything about their life. Is that where you feel you are at now?
It's true you don't get to have as much privacy as you did back in the days. We do live in a reality-driven world so that being said I just try to make things make sense for me. I like to give people me but also keep the balance for my own personal space so when I go home I have something that's special to me that no one else has.

Are there any songs on Ciara that you feel you really went out of your comfort zone and shared a part of yourself that you may have been scared to before?
You know what? No. Not on this go around, because I just feel comfortable and find myself wanting to share more. I think that people want to hear about the real things because we are all the same and all go through the same things, you know?

"Body Party" has been met with immense success as your new lead single. What do you think it had that the other singles which were dropped from the album ("Sweat," "Sorry" and "Got Me Good") did not?
It's just the different vibes. Having "Body Party" as the lead for my album fit because it was the start of a new creative space for me. "Got Me Good" I'm still very proud of and I still really, really love the visuals and love the energy of it. It was just a different time period of my creative thought process and writing process.

Have you ever released a song that you were shocked or disappointed about the result of? One you wish people would give a second listen?
Not really, I did a song once that I didn't want to do as my lead single and I wish I could redo that moment. But some of the other ones that maybe didn't work so well I can be honest and admit that maybe that wasn't the best song choice. But there are always those moments you are going to look back into your life and think "Man I wish I would have thought more into that decision."

Can you share what song you didn't want to do but ended up doing anyway?
One day I will… no that's not the name of the song, but one day I will tell you.

Speaking of titles, the previous album title was One Woman Army. Being that you are now in a very public and loving relationship with Future, did this affect your feelings toward this name?
It was a combination of many things: it was creative, the particular time in my life, all kind of things that influenced the title change. The title of One Woman Army was representing my independence and I do believe that a woman having her own independence is very important, but also you can't be to over-independent. I believe you also have to have a soldier, a strong man by your side as well. I am still a one woman army but I'm not standing alone. But with the title change, more than anything I wanted my fans to get to know me and this new journey that I want them to take with me. It's kind of just how the story evolved — as I was creating it, I was inspired by one idea and one lead to another until I got to my creative clarity and Ciara just felt right.

I have to ask, Future has beautiful dreadlocks, have you ever washed his hair before?
I have done that! I just think he is very beautiful.

This album is extremely sexually expressive. What sparked this new open, honest and approach to sex in your music? I am definitely more confident than I've ever been and I also understand being a woman a lot more than I ever did. "Read My Lips" for example is a very sensual song or sensually aggressive and me being the woman that's more in charge, but at the end of the day there is also a playfulness to it. It's all about being comfortable, that doesn't mean you have to overdo it but as a woman I feel it is something all of us can relate to.

Along with the album coming out and moving over 60,000 units thus far, something else very cool has happened recently with you appearing on BET's The Game as yourself. Is this an extension of your getting to know the true Ciara process?
I kept my title as Ciara the entertainer but the actual role of the character was far, way far astray from who I am as a person. I thought it was a great way for me not to take myself so serious and challenge myself as an actor to not really overthink it and that goes back to the place I am in in my life. The stuff that my character was dealing with was like crazy and really wild and unexpected, which I think made it fun.

You used Nicki Minaj in your newest single "I'm Out." I think she is the epitome of a woman who is exactly who she is but nothing like one might expect. Do you draw inspiration from her?
Like anything else I respect her hustle and I think we share a lot of similarities in coming from nothing and turning it into something. We are two ambitious women who just wanted to get together to do something fun and share that with others around the world.

It seems every woman around the world loves your moves and has been dying for a dance workout video from you. Is that ever coming or should we keep watching the videos on replay?
I'm always trying to figure out how to merge dance with fitness and it's definitely on my list of things to do, it's just a matter of figuring out the right way to do it but I always have the idea rolling around in my mind and one day I will hopefully be able to do something really cool.