In less than four years, 21-year-old Ciara Princess Harris has become such a successful multimedia star (TV, film, music), she is known strictly by her first name. The platinum-selling singer/songwriter/producer will soon star in the film version of the Broadway musical “Mama, I Want to Sing.”
This summer, however, she is one of the headliners in the music tour Screamfest `07. She spoke about her music and the messages she hopes it conveys to her diverse audience.
When you record a song, how conscious are you of the image you may be communicating to your younger fans?
I’m very conscious of what I write about. It’s all about what message I’m trying to get across on the record. I’m very aware of my audience. I try my best to write music that caters to that audience. I hope it goes beyond my core fan base.
Who is your audience?
One thing I will say is my music definitely, for the most part, appeals to all demographics. I have some of the youth audience; they have been a very supportive part of my core fan base. But it also appeals to my peers, those who are from 21 to 30, somewhere in there. Basically, it’s fans of all ages and all races
What kinds of messages do you hope your fans, especially the younger ones, get from your music?
I always hope people see that I was just like them and I’m still like them. I want them to know what happened to me can happen to them: You can live your dream if you believe in yourself. I want to be an example of the power of self-confidence and having faith in yourself.
I always try to be a good representative of women. But music comes down to whatever you want to make of the lyrics. Music to me is like a fantasy. It’s not real, so you can’t take it literally. When I listen to certain records, I know what words and language apply to me and what doesn’t. There is always good and bad in everything, music or movies. I never allowed the music to influence me or who I was. I just enjoyed the music for what it was.
Who has inspired you the most, musically?
You know I love `Pac. And I love Sade, Kris Kross, Lisa Stanfield and Michael ... Jackson, and Janet, too. And Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross. My parents listened to a lot of old-school music.
Did your parents monitor the music you listened to?
My father listened to a lot of rap and if it was too hard, I couldn’t listen to it.
What do you make of all the debate over lyrics in hip-hop and how they depict women?
I think that discussion took the attention away from the real story, which is what Don Imus said. Some people in the media use that as a chance to get off the subject and attack hip-hop.
At the end of the day, each person has to take responsibility for themselves. They have to know what’s right and what’s wrong. It would be wrong to let certain songs influence me and who I am and what I say or how I speak. I have to say what comes from my heart. I’m the one who has control over what I say, not music. Music doesn’t make me talk like I talk; I speak from my heart.
// Notes from the Road
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