Call it a comeback, or call it leveling up. Ciara is back on her music game as if she never left with her latest song, "Level Up," which inspired a new viral dance challenge on social media, and two more body-moving tracks, "Dose" and "Freak Me." Each new bop reminds us of the "Goodies" era that had us dancing and leaning back like the Matrix (well, trying to). But don't get it twisted: Ciara wants you to know that her energy has not waned one degree, no matter how much her life has changed over the last 14 years. There's just more confidence in her moves, in and out of the studio. "The feeling that I have now is parallel to when I first started. I was this young girl excited to be living my dreams and having the best time. I'm back to that phase again," she told Refinery29 ahead of her performance at the Bacardí Liberate Your Spirits Halloween bash in New York City. "But I do have more wisdom, and because of that wisdom, I'm way more comfortable in my skin."
The last time the performer dropped music was back in 2015, with the release of her sixth studio album, Jackie. Over the following three years, however, Ciara was not idle. She spent time raising her son Future (whom she shares with her rapper ex, Future), married NFL quarterback Russell Wilson in a fairy-tale ceremony, and welcomed her second child, daughter Sienna Princess.
"I wake up every single morning knowing that I'm living my dream."
It was her daughter that would ultimately inspire her return to music. "I felt more empowered than ever when I learned that I was pregnant with my second child," Ciara says. "It was something about having a girl, being a woman, and thinking about my journey. I want to make my kids proud." With a renewed drive to be creative, Ciara began to record her seventh studio album (release late TBD) when she was eight months pregnant.
Now, raising a 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son and performing on Bruno Mars' 24K Magic World Tour, Ciara is living out her dreams as both an artist and a mother. Plus, she's found her happily-ever-after love with Wilson, and the photogenic couple has been pegged #RelationshipGoals all over social media. "No matter what I've gone through in my life, I've always believed and always had faith. The most important thing is believing in love," she adds. "It gives you the courage, the inspiration to keep on pushing forward."
And her advice to women looking for that same happy ending? "Be patient for the right moment, you don't want to rush love. Be specific and clear on what you desire," she urges. "When we become clear, we make better decisions versus listening to the first words somebody tells you. It always sounds good in the beginning, but what are they actually saying?" She adds that she's learned to keep moving on, no matter what life throws her way. "Sometimes, you can get discouraged when you feel like, 'Wow, that was years of my life. What are you doing with your time?'" says the star, who just celebrated her 33rd birthday October 25. "But the reality is, time keeps going forward."
Time may be moving forward, but Ciara arguably still looks like the 19-year-old newbie we met in the early 2000s. Her secret, she reveals, is lots of water, plus Cetaphil's Daily Facial Moisturizer for the face, and Danessa Myricks Beauty Love & Light Beauty Oil for a red carpet glow from head to toe.
And now we can sleep peacefully knowing how to get Ciara's killer leg shimmer and that new music is on the way. And at the Wilson home, Ciara is sleeping soundly, too. "I wake up every single morning knowing that I'm living my dream," she says. "It feels good to be in this place right now."