Exclusive: Ciara Opens Up About Future, Her Mother, & The "Full Woman Zone"

Photo by: MediaPunch/REX USA
It’s been 11 years since Ciara made “Goodies” a worldwide hit. Now on her sixth studio album, the 29-year-old singer-songwriter has found a more mature sound, thanks to motherhood (she gave birth to her son, Future Zahir Wilburn, last May), weathering a public breakup with rapper Future, and finding inspiration from her own mom.

On Jackie, which was released May 4, Ciara has shown that she plans to sing (and dance) through the good and the bad. Her first single, “I Bet,” (released back in March) slowed things down and suggests that Ciara’s set on moving forward. On “That’s How I’m Feelin,’” featuring Missy Elliot (a familiar collaborator) and Pitbull, Ciara returns to the up-tempo her fans love. We chatted with Ciara about what the new album, becoming a mom, and being in her “full woman zone.”

How has the Ciara that put out “Goodies” in 2004 evolved over the past 11 years?
“I was a baby when I started. I was only 18 years old. Now, I have a baby, which is a big difference [laughs]. I was a young girl who was trying to figure out this new world I was walking into. Now I’ve been able to paint the blank canvas I started out with a few more colors. I’m really in womanhood — I’m in my full woman zone right now. I now have a clear understanding of how things work versus the beginning when you’re figuring out everything along the way. I have more wisdom, knowledge and experience on what I’m doing as a performer and as a woman.”

How has your style evolved over the years? Are there certain designers you look to now that you didn’t before?
“I’ve always loved fashion, but I was still learning about fashion over the years. Sometimes I can look at brands and I know the aesthetic right away. I can look at the clothing and say ‘this is from this line.’ When I’m describing something for a photo shoot or a video, I can say ‘make it feel like this,’ or ‘a little bit of Stella [McCartney], or Gucci, Givenchy or [Roberto] Cavalli. I have a whole newfound connection with fashion.”

You’re a mom now to a little boy. How has motherhood changed your music career?
“Being a mom has changed me first and foremost in the most necessary way possible. Being a mom really grounds you. It’s helped me set my feet on the ground. I feel like having a son was very necessary for me.”

What has it been like co-parenting with Future? Has that been a challenge with touring and putting out Jackie?
“Everything has kind of been organic. The thing is, I was really prepared when my son was born. He was planned, so I was really excited for him to be on this earth. The cool thing is that [my son] travels with me: He’s my good luck charm. If anything, he makes the traveling even more interesting. It could be another way, but it has been working out very smoothly.”

What’s a piece of advice you would give to fellow musicians who are raising children and touring the world?
“I would tell people to really, truly make the best of it. I believe that having a child is one of the greatest gifts on earth and in life. It’s really all about balance, scheduling things, and mapping out your day, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. It is a lot of work having a child, but it really boils down to balance at the end of the day. You should really enjoy the process and trust the process of having a child while you’re juggling everything. It can really be fun if you look at things in a positive and exciting way. Be excited about the whole challenge of it all.”

What’s the biggest theme behind the music of Jackie? What really influenced the record?
Jackie is inspired by my mom; my mom’s name is Jackie. It’s really about seeing the world through her perspective now. Musically, I just wanted to show my growth. Sonically, the way I express myself now, I’m way more comfortable in my shoes, confident, and honest with myself. On this album, I just wanted people to be able to feel a little bit closer with me. To add to it, I’m probably in the happiest place I’ve been in my life, so there were so many tools of inspiration for this album.”

Jackie was released on May 4. Did you intend for the record to come out around Mother’s Day since the album was inspired by your mom?
“It’s so funny. The great thing about the timing of my record — not only was it Mother’s Day, my mom’s birthday is May fifth, and my due date was the first week of May. It was very serendipitous. It couldn’t be a more perfect time.”

Which songs are the most meaningful for you on Jackie?
“The most meaningful songs to me are '[Jackie] B.M.F.,' 'One Woman Army,' 'I Got You,' and 'Give Me Love,' because they express where I am with life, what I want, and what I need. There’s a lot of good energy and dance [on the album]. Besides 'I Got You,' which is dedicated to my son, the other songs are at a fast pace. I love that I’m talking about the things that are real to me, but I’m dancing at the same time.”

What does your future in the next 10 years look like?
“I believe that my future is going to be super bright. I believe that my success as a businesswoman is going to be beyond my music. My music will be the foundation of it, but I’d do another film. I’ll have had my world tour more than once. I’ll have had more than one child then. I see my family life [being] very balanced. I’m using my psychic powers right now [laughs]. I’ve always been a big dreamer and a big believer. Even on the most challenging days, I have to sometimes remind myself that I’m living my dream. The challenges are sometimes a part of living your dream.”
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