How did you come up with your stage name? My mom actually came up with that. My real name is Ciara, but it's just scrambled up.
How did you get into music? I've been singing . . . since I was, like 3. I've been influenced by a lot of . . . great singers like Michael Jackson (and) Beyoncé. We just started recording last year because a friend of my parents . . . had a recording studio. He's seen me on YouTube. I would sing, like, Whitney Houston and Beyoncé, and my dad would record it and put it on YouTube and MySpace. I was so excited, and I was so happy because I was like, "Oh man, I wish I could make my own music."
You live in Georgia now, but you grew up in York, right? I went to school in Hanover. I went to Clearview Elementary (School). Before that, I lived on Fulton Street in York.
DJ Ali from WVYC 99.7-FM at York College had you on her show recently, right? It went really good. I was excited that she had me on her show. I have this song "Not The One For Me" . . . she actually played that on her show. (I like) all the music that she plays.
Do you write your own music? The first song that I did was called "I Don't Want to Leave You Alone." A rapper actually made that song for me. After that, I started writing my own music. The first song that I wrote was "First Crush." After I recorded "First Crush," I just started writing. Everything I wrote . . . was actually happening in my life.
Are there any artists in Georgia that you like? My producer Jovan Dais, he's an R&B artist. He is great. He shows me how to sing the music correctly.
Have you taken voice lessons before? Yes. It was actually a fun experience. I'm still in the process because you can never stop learning. It was challenging at first because, you know . . . you have to learn correctly. It has to come from your diaphragm.
Have you gotten good feedback from your first album? There (are) a lot of people who like my single "Like Me" . . . because there's a dance to go with it. There's also a song called "Slow it Down" that a lot of people like. That's not really something you can dance to, but you know how, like, we're tying to fix the economy and everything? ("Slow it Down") is an inspirational song. People are feeling bad . . . so I had to make a song that would keep their heads up.
Is it hard for you to sing and dance at the same time when you're up on stage? Well, I have a choreographer. She teaches me all my routines. I run around tracks and stuff, and I practice my routines. My choreographer comes over, like, every couple days . . . just to keep (the routines) refreshed in my mind. When (I'm) in front of the crowd and everything . . . (I) get butterflies and everything. I love the feeling because once (I) get up there . . . I guess (I) get lost in the moment.
Where do you perform? I perform in Georgia. I performed in Florida, and I performed in New York. Any place that invites me to perform . . . I'll be there. I've done about 30 shows.
Is it hard for you to balance the singing and dancing with school? I study really hard and I maintain my grades, and then I have time to practice, and I have time to hang out with friends. It's just about . . . having the right schedule.
What do you and your friends like to do when you're just hanging out? We talk, and we go bowling. We go skating. We go to the mall. We go to the movies. (I do) anything a regular girl would do.
What do you want to do in the future? I hope (music) takes me to great things. I just have to stay humble. I pray every day. This is what I love, and this is what I really want. I hope (music) takes me far beyond what I hoped I could reach.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
Check her out
Check out Araci's music and videos at www.youtube.com/ciarawashington13 or www.myspace.com/aracimusic.
Listen to the interview at flipsidepa.com