The West

Ciara lays it on the line
Ciara lays it on the line

Publicly announcing you want to be released by your music label on Facebook is a gutsy move by any artist but multi- platinum singer Ciara seems anything but typical.

After only a few minutes of listening to her, it's clear she's all business as she bandies around terms like "branding" and "business empire".

Speaking from her home in Los Angeles, Ciara is cagey when asked about the dispute with Jive Records. While unfailingly polite, she is careful not to give too much away. "I guess in reference to that letter, the best thing I can tell you is that it's a message from my heart and it came from a real place," she says. "I will have some more updates for you soon."

After speculation she was about to be dropped by Jive, Ciara took to Facebook and wrote: "It is true that I have asked and I pray that my label will release me. I have had some great times and success with my label but sometimes, like all great things, it's at that point where I feel we don't share the same views on who I am as an artist."

Since her Facebook confession Ciara has had nothing new to report - not yet anyway. "It is safe to say the letter is where everything left off," she says.

Ciara first conquered the charts with her debut solo album, Goodies, six years ago. Tracks such as 1, 2, Step and Oh saw her in the charts. She has since released three albums and several hit singles, including Love Sex Magic with Justin Timberlake.

Three of Ciara's singles hit No. 1 in the US and she has had five Grammy nominations and one win. But when asked about her best achievement, she says it is survival.

"My greatest achievement is being able to last for this long in the music industry," she says. "It is really hard and it's a journey. You need to keep reinventing yourself to just stay around.

"Of course, winning a Grammy was great for me as well. It is something I cherish and value, I am proud to say I have a Grammy."

Ciara's latest album, Basic Instinct, was released in December, although it failed to reach the dizzying chart heights of its predecessors. In her online message, she says she spent more than $100,000 to create her own video and promote the album.

Now she says her focus is on building her empire. In addition to recording and performing, Ciara also has a successful modelling career and has recently been dabbling in film and TV. She also has plans for a clothing line and her own talent school.

"Right now, I am in the process of letting things fall how they are supposed to," she says. "It may sound crazy to you, but I have never really managed to take time for me and to enjoy my life and enjoy the benefits I have been blessed with," she says.

So what kind of empire does Ciara have in mind?

"I want to look back five years from now and be happy I have set up the proper building blocks for my business to run on, even if I don't want to perform," she says.

"I am working hard on every aspect of my career, from who I am as a performer to making music, TV and films. From my perspective, my goal is to do more than just perform. To use the platform I have been given to turn it into something more, to do something different."

In the meantime Ciara continues to perform and will be heading to Australia for the second time for Supafest, alongside Snoop Dogg, Timbaland, Nelly, Keri Hilson, Busta Rhymes and others.

"What I like about festivals is getting to mix and perform with many artists that do music different from mine," she says.

"It allows you to have a broader audience and it also allows you to stand out too as you know what you are going to bring is different."

Ciara will perform at Supafest at Arena Joondalup on April 10. Tickets from Ticketmaster outlets.

The West Australian

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