This is shaping up to be the most important month of pop star Ciara’s life.
On May 1, she teamed up with the first lady to empower Detroit children on College Signing Day as part of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. The singer is also about to unleash her latest venture, a starring role in the new variety show I Can Do That, premiering May 26 on NBC.
Meanwhile, on a personal note, Ciara will mark two major May occasions: her son’s first birthday and that of her beloved mother. So what better time to drop her latest album, Jackie, named after her mom and conceptualized as a celebration of her newfound parenthood?
And as if all of that wasn’t enough, Ciara just embarked on a national tour in support of Jackie, so she’ll be all warmed up and in peak form when she brings what she calls her “coolest tour ever” to the Fillmore Miami Beach Friday, May 15.
Reflecting on the decade since her 2004 debut album, Goodies, the pop star marvels, “So many cool things have happened in my life, and clearly my son has been the biggest game-changer. Being a mom gives a much clearer perspective on life. Being a mom grounds me more, I believe, and it also makes me a lot more positive. I love the feeling I have right now, and where I am in my life.”
Even over the phone, Ciara’s voice radiates feel-good energy, and that apparent generosity of spirit makes it seem perfectly natural that she would become quite close with the Obamas.
Just last week, she was in attendance at a state dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. And though dinner at the White House may seem otherworldly to some, it wasn’t much of a surprise to Ciara.
“I have big dreams, and I have envisioned many great things, so when moments like that happen, it’s kind of a testament to believing,” she says. “You’ve got to dream big. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t, or you won’t get that far.”
That positivity also seeps into her new 11-track LP. It is at once an intimate and uplifting portrait of a woman in her prime.
“I believe it’s my best body of work to date, and it really does mark such a special time,” Ciara says. “I want the world to dance, and I want them to have fun. I’m in such a happy place, so I wanted to make sure I express my truest thoughts, my mind and love, my happiness. Even when there are moments that could be sad moments, there’s still a lot of light in the middle of all of it, and it was important to me to make sure that I got to share my story, share my voice, and my life.”
It’s a personal album in both scope and practice. Only one track on Jackie features cameos, and because it’s ultimately a feel-good dance album, she chose to team up with two of the greatest feel-good artists in radio history: Miami’s own Pitbull and frequent Ciara collaborator Missy Elliott. This song, “That’s How I’m Feelin’,” may have won fans over with Missy’s name alone.
“People have been asking for something like it for a while, and they finally got what they wanted,” Ciara says. “Missy is just such an amazing friend and supporter. I’m just truly thankful for our friendship and that we are able to always get together and rock and support each other.”
As the pop star surrounds herself with loved ones, old and new, she continues to push herself to achieve many other "great things." She sees herself as an unstoppable businessperson, entrepreneur, activist, mother, daughter, and all-around renaissance woman. But it all comes one day, one show, and one song at a time.
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“The sky is the limit,” she says. “I’m a big dreamer, and I definitely believe that my career is going to be beyond my music. I’m definitely in the process of framing it all out. I’m just superexcited about the unknown and the things I haven’t even done yet.”
Ciara's Jackie Tour. 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $40 to $155 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. All ages.