With just two singles, the number 1 smash "Goodies" and the follow up "1 2 Step", behind her  it seems like Ciara has already entered the surreal world of the tabloid gossip. "Ciara's a hermaphrodite!!! Ciara's Pregnant!!! Ciara's going out with Bow Wow (the artist formerly known as Lil' Bow Wow, which we're presuming entitles us to call him Big Wow Wow next time we see him)" scream the gossip columns across the web. Designer Magazine's Alex McCann side-stepped the gossip and talked to Ciara about being an army brat, getting crunked up and how's she's rapping on Missy Elliotts new record.

Q: You spend your formative years of your life travelling from city to city and country to country as what you describe as an "army brat"
A: Up until the age of 8 I was travelling and it was 14 when I decided to do music. I'm definitely an independent person and it opened up my mind so much as to the type of person I am. It made we want to try different things, it makes me want to explore more and it informs me who I am as a person.

Q: Living over in Europe in Germany did it make it more important for you as an artist to make your name over here as well as in the States
A: You know what, I think it's important period. Even if I didn't live there, it would still be important to me. You know, it's very meaningful to have fans all over the world. It's means so much to me, yer know, I think it's important regardless of whether I lived there or not

Q: Were you surprised at the success of Goodies?
A: You know what. I definitely believed in the record when we were writing it, but I didn't know it would go to number 1 as fast as it did in America. I definitely was caught of guard with it being number 1 in the UK. That was just amazing to me even though I believed it was a hit record.

Q: "Goodies" was the second ever crunk'n'b song. For those people that haven't signed up for the crunk revolution, would you like to explain what it is?
A: When I define Crunk Music I define it as the heavy metal of hip hop. It's high energy music and I think what makes a crunk record a genuine crunk record is like for example if Lil Jon produces it. Lil Jon is the King of Crunk and he's know for making that crunk music and that crunk beat and that crunk sound. So when you add R&B to it you make this high energy crunk'n'b.

Q: So you're the Queen of Crunk'n'B then?
A: No. I don't like being called the Queen of Crunk'n'B, nor the Princess or the Lady of Crunk'n'B. I've only got one Crunk'n'B song on my album, but I guess people want to give me that the title for some reason. I'm definitely not the queen of crunk

Q: As you said earlier, you've only been in the business since you were 14. It must have been a mad journey
A: It's been crazy. I've had my bad experiences and good ones. All of them have made me a much stronger and wiser person. It's made me who I am today and there's so much more that I have to learn, but it's definitely been a journey for me. At the end of the day i've enjoyed it and look what's happening to me now. It's been a great journey, it's a blessing.

Q: Before you went solo you were actually in a girl group. What happened there?
A: I went to audition for the group and there was actually a girl who went for the same spot who'd been in a profession big recording group before. It was a funny thing because I got the position over her and i'd never had vocal training. I was just singing off natural talent. We were together for a little bit and we started to have differences. I just decided that going solo was what I wanted to do and what would be best for me. At first I was interested in doing the group situation, but then eventually I realized that being solo was what I really wanted to do. It's just easier when it's one.

Q: At the time you started singing you were rapping as well
A: Well, I used to rap around and play around outside in the neighbourhood with my friends, but I never went and recorded rap records or anything like that. I used to do a bit of freestyling which was fun. It was crazy. Missy made me rap on this song. It's crazy because I'm so shy when it comes to that. But she got me to do it. If you've got Missy digging what you do it must be good. She's incredible. I can't even remember the freaking songtitle at the moment, but it's gonna be her first single back and it's about how music makes you lose control.

Q: Some of the people you've worked with on the album - R Kelly, Ludacris etc
A: Missy...Lil Jon...Jazzy. It's been crazy. It's been a blessing yer know. All the people are so talented and they've been around for so long and to know that they believe in me as an artist and to know that they were interested in working with me means so much to me.

Q: When you sit down on a day off and look back you must think "19 and i've done all this"?
A: I definitely think about how blessed I am. I appreciate everything that has happened to me and that is happening to me. Especially at this age. I do realize that a lot of people don't even get half as much as what i've had happen to me almost for their whole lives. I pray for a long career and strive for longevity.

Q: And I guess that's why you've co-wrote most of the songs on the album. Do you think it's important for an artist to write their own songs
A: For me I like to be involved in my record just because I want my music to reflect who I am as a person as much as possible. I think it's very important that I give people the real me. And because I love writing. Writing is something i've been blessed with, i've been blessed with this talent to write. It's great to have that talent under your belt, but I don't think that everybody has to be a writer though.

Q: Would you consider writing for other artists?
A: For sure. I've actually done it before. There was a song that I wrote when I was 15 that Mya loved so she used it for her album. And I also had a song on The Proud Family Soundtrack, it was on the America Idol featuring Alicia Key's (but Alicia Keys wasn't on the record). I've also done a song for Fantasia's album called "Keep Me Waiting", a song I wrote with Jermaine Dupri.

Q: You sing, you write, you dance, you rap - is there anything you can't do?
A: Oh my goodness. There are some things I can't do, but i'm working on the things you wouldn't expect. I'm working on a clothes line at the moment, but I don't wanna tell you much cos someone will then go and get that idea. It's gonna be hot though.

...and at that point as if someone was looking down on us the fire alarm sounds in the hotel and we're ushered out on to the streets of London. Ciara - the girl who's so damn hot she set alarm bells off!!!


"1 2 Step" featuring Missy Elliot is out now on Sony BMG
For more info on Ciara

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