After taking a short hiatus from the music game to pursue a promising career in acting – where she starred in the Happy Madison/Sony Pictures film, That’s My Boy, alongside funnymen and Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg in 2011—Ciara is set to release her fifth studio LP, One Woman Army, in Winter 2012/ 2013 on Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
Ciara’s most ambitious album to date; composed of her signature crossover R&B Pop with infectious beats to ballads that showcase her vocal range and growth in song-writing. Her musical maturity is exhibited throughout each track— autobiographical songs that are not afraid to reveal the true depth of her personality while documenting her journey in life.
Perhaps the greatest growth is that the deeply personal lyrics show a side of Ciara that has not been shared by her in her previous music. The strength that Ciara found inside herself inspired this collection of songs exhibiting her growth also as a woman and her ability to share it.
“Acceptance of my emotional vulnerability became my friend, and I found my grounding rod in it. My approach to things is so different now. I know I am a young woman, but it was hard to absorb all the influences of the attention and fame you get as a performer when I was only 16 years old. It was a lot to take in all at once. I am just now understanding it all,” she explains about what informed her sometimes-introspective lyrical process.
“I can sometimes be afraid of my own vulnerability, but this time I let myself face it. I let myself feel. I let myself be real. I let myself be hurt and be healed. It came out in the music instead of holding it all in. I look back and feel like I was almost a robot of myself. I am so much more comfortable in my own skin. It is fun.”
To her credit, Ciara has cast off a little of her immaculate pop polish, replacing it with a more artistically honest approach to her songwriting. She maintains a true identity in what connects with her fans and R&B base, while harnessing a modern pop sensibility. Priding herself on her sonic innovation and desire to try new things, Ciara presents One Woman Army.
“This album is a refreshing exploration for me. It feels like nothing else I’ve ever done, but at the same time feels so much like it came from the same DNA of who I truly am,” she said.
And on One Woman Army Ciara returns armed with a sharpened sense of self-assuredness, an ample amount of swagger, and a newfound look at love—a theme that permeates the entire album.
“Personally, professionally, and as a woman this album represents the journey that I’ve experienced over my life, and it’s also one of the best ways to describe where I am with love and what I would want for being in love,” she says. “It represents my struggle. It represents the bumps in the road. It represents the bright side of things too, again back to where what I’m expecting and hoping for out of life, as well.”
While Ciara may have faced some romantic tribulations, the emotionally stripped-down lyrics show that she’s much wiser and stronger because of them, helping her recognize what she wants—and doesn’t want—in a potential partner, which is something she explores with the preemptive sass of the title track and the snarling “Boy Outta Here.”
“It comes back to the whole idea that I begin with ‘One Woman Army,’ meaning that I want a soldier that can stand in the front line with me,” says Ciara about the empowering track. “I want to have a partner in my life that can stand beside me, have my back. Having a person in my world that’s going to enhance my world.”
Ciara comes by the title of her album honestly: She was a military brat; her mother was in the army, her father in the Air Force. She traveled through out the world, from army base to army base, eventually settling home base in Atlanta, Georgia. It was in Atlanta where she signed a record deal with LaFace Records executive L.A. Reid when she was just 14 years old. This album brings Ciara full circle. When Reid came to Epic Records, one of the first acts he signed was Ciara.
Reid is the Co-Executive Producer of the album with Ciara, and holds a special ability to bring the best out of Ciara artistically.
Fans should expect nothing less than ferocious dancefloor inspirations in the heat infusing “Got Me Good” (Rodney Jerkins, Ciara, Livvy Frank) where insistent bass lines and a thundering percussion show that Ciara still knows how to work a wicked seduction and a sly euphemism.
It is on several ballads that she really exhibits her vulnerability in revealing songwriting about love gone awry. One of two lead singles, “Sorry,” is about a relationship that could have been salvaged if one of the participants had just apologized: “You walked away, and I walked away and should have stayed, Baby,” Ciara sings with uncommon gentleness. In “Wash Away,” she sings about the pain of letting go and not really being able to.
The album dedicated to all things amour. Songs such as: “One Night with You” and “Overdose” remind us once again of Ciara’s ability to captivate, aurally entice, and put her stamp on the always-evolving pop and R&B music sound. It is on the title track “One Woman Army” that truly wraps it all up into a strong, fun, infectious body of work telling of the need to find “a solider to hold me down”.
“I always knew where I was going. I have a saying that goes ‘You can’t take off without knowing where you want to land,’” says the singer about her personal mantra, which helped her to fearlessly evolve her craft. “When I was doing Goodies I was a baby, didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even have an approach. I was a blank canvas. Goodies was the first stripe of paint. Ten years later, there’s more paint stripes on the canvas. There’s more color.”