Baby It's Me
Ciara Lynn Bio With an incredible voice that can deliver a heart wrenching ballad or belt out an up-tempo hit, Ciara Lynn Gardner is poised and ready for stardom, which is a pretty incredible feat for a 19-year-old young lady from Rochester, New York. Influenced by her father's musical talent, and with her Playskool microphone in hand, Ciara Lynn began singing along to songs on the radio as a toddler. Into her teenage years, these performances were the highlight of almost every family gathering. But by the time she turned 14, Ciara's need to share her gift with others outside of her comfortable circle of family and friends was strong, and she announced to her stunned mother and father her desire to pursue a career in music. Some time after the initial shock wore off; her parents, even though they may have been taken aback by Ciara's early career choice, began discussing ways they might help point their daughter down the right path toward her dream. Within a few months of her surprising announcement, Ciara was registered as a competitor in a local qualifying round of a national talent contest. The competition, they all thought, would serve as an excellent gauge of her talent and, at least initially, be a great experience for her. As is often the case, however, plans can easily go eschew when fate steps in. And in this instance, the direction and pace of her career plans changed in a matter of just a few hours. In storybook fashion, she claimed the competition's first place trophy and an invitation to the national finals in a place well known for making dreams come true - Orlando, Florida. Ciara went on to win several categories at the national finals, while also being selected as one of two finalists to perform in a showcase on Walt Disney World's Tomorrow Land. In the end, though, her first real public performance had very little to do with winning titles and trophies. For her, it was more about moving a little closer to her dream and, in the process, helping to put smiles on the faces of people she had never met. 'Music has inspired every moment that I have lived since I was very young,' says Ciara. 'And I intend on spending the rest of my life giving back to others all that my gift of music has given me. I love performing and I hope that my music will inspire someone in a positive way.' Returning home to Rochester, Ciara was more focused than ever on pursuing her dream of a career in music, and she wasted little time getting down to business; first hooking up with a handful of talented local musicians to form her own band. In a two-pronged approach, Ciara and her band began performing at area festivals and benefit concerts, while she also reached out to key contacts in the music industry. One such person was Leonard Ahlstrom, a former member of the Dove Award- winning and Grammy-nominated group Newsong. A talented producer and songwriter as well, he has written hits for national recording artists Wynonna, Pam Tillis, Three Of Hearts, and Bob Carlisle. Impressed by the range of Ciara's talent, Leonard agreed to produce her debut CD, 'Why Shouldn't I,' and just completed her much-anticipated follow-up album, 'Baby It's Me,' co-writing all of the songs on both projects. 'My first recording experience was both exciting and scary,' explains Ciara. 'After doing it a few times the nervousness wore off and I had the time of my life! I have discovered that recording is one of my most favorite things to do and very fulfilling to me as an artist.' On the strength and success of her debut album, Ciara has shared the stage with a literal 'who's who' of country music artists that includes, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Steve Azar, Emerson Drive, Brad Paisley, Mark Wills, Josh Turner, Sara Evans, Diamond Rio and many others. Despite her brushes with stardom, Ciara remains a very grounded young woman. A 2004 graduate of Webster Thomas High School, she just completed her first semester at an area junior college. As a high school senior, she was actively involved in extracurricular activities, which included serving as class president, being a member of the cheerleading squad, performing with the school's Chorus and Show Choirs and dedicating many hours to community service projects. 'It's quite often a challenge to find a balance between these many personal and professional commitments and projects,' says Ciara, 'but I wouldn't want it any other way. All of these events have made and will continue to make every day exciting and fulfilling for me. ' Her latest endeavor - combining the release of her new CD, 'Baby It's Me,' with a summer tour that will benefit the Alzheimer's Association - is a very good indication that she will continue to find ways to juggle her busy schedule, while also fulfilling her promise to give back to others through her music. 'Each day I reflect on just how lucky I am and how much my life has been blessed, thanks to music,' said Ciara Lynn. 'And I am so very happy to have been given this opportunity to try and make a difference in the lives of the millions of people who are affected by this terrible disease.' As she continues to live out her dream while touring the northeast this summer, no matter how far from home she travels, you can bet that the special people in her life and the memories of how it all began will only be as far away as her own heart. 'None of this would have been possible without, first, the love and support of my parents and, secondly, the dedication of my family, friends and the members of my band,' says Ciara. 'They will always be as important to me as the gift of music that God has blessed me with.'