Ciara Princess Harris (born October 25, 1985), known mononymously as Ciara (pronounced ə/, ERR-ə), is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, model and actress. Born in Austin, Texas, she traveled around the world during her childhood, eventually moving to Atlanta, Georgia where she joined the girl group Hearsay (not to be confused with the British group Hear'Say); however, the group disbanded after having differences. It was at this time Ciara was noticed for her songwriting. In 2002, Ciara met music producer Jazze Pha. With his help, she signed a record deal with LaFace Records.
In her mid-teens, Ciara formed the all-girl group Hearsay with two of her friends.[who?] The group recorded demos, but as time went on, they began to have differences and eventually parted ways. Despite this setback, Ciara was still determined to reach her goal and signed a publishing deal as a songwriter. Her first success was writing the song "Got Me Waiting" for R&B singer Fantasia Barrino's debut album, Free Yourself. It was when she was writing songs that she met music producer, Jazze Pha, whom she called her "music soulmate." In 2002, the two recorded four demos, "1, 2 Step", "Thug Style," "Pick Up the Phone," and "Lookin' at You," which all appeared on her debut album, which was released two years later. "1, 2 Step" was the second single released from it and became a hit.