Diva Diaries by Ciara Brooke
In this Tuesday Treat Q&A session, I speak with Ciara Brooke, a pop singer/songwriter from Tonkawa about her debut album, Diva Diaries.
How do you describe yourself and your music?
I would describe myself at the most basic level as a goofy little ball of energy. I have a lot of feelings, and I tend to wear them on my sleeve. I can be fiery at times, my husband says I’m like “a hilarious, angry little garden gnome.” So, yeah. But, most of the time I’m just a very excited, bubbly person ready to work and hang out and play. On a deeper level, though, I’m very driven and I have a vision for what I want to do with my career and my life. I take my music and my career very seriously. It’s not a hobby for me; it’s my job and I love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else. My music reflects my personality, and I think you can see that on this album. Each song shows another side of me. Most of my writing so far has been just me, no co-writes, so you’re getting 100% authenticity from me. Each song is about how I see the world, different experiences, and just about who I am as a person. I think my “sound” will definitely change throughout my career, but the one thing that won’t change about my songs is that they will always be “me”.
What pushed you to share your music with the world?
Long story short, I enrolled in ACM@UCO for the next fall and so began my official Ciara Brooke Music journey. It was at the start of my second year at ACM that I knew I was supposed to write my own music, produce it, and then perform it. So that’s what I’m doing now. So honestly, I believe the Lord pushed me to share my music with the world. If it wasn’t for that prayer retreat, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. All I know is that I’ve been singing and performing since I was 4 years old and It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Now I’m doing it.
Use only seven words to describe your album, Diva Diaries ?
Saucy, fun, visual, positive, charming, confident, and insightful.
What’s the story behind the album title and title track, Diva Diaries?
Diva Diaries was actually the last song I wrote for the album. I had the album title “Diva Diaries” for a long time before I ever sat down to write it. I got the idea for the title because a lot of my friends and family call me a Diva all the time so I was like, “I’m just gonna roll with this.” I just knew that was the album title, I honestly didn’t know if there would be a song! However, I sat down at the piano one day and started throwing around ideas. The first take was awful. Just awful. It was like this kinda dark and grungy track and it wasn’t the vibe I wanted at all. So, I started listening to some girly music by Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande. I decided to go for the doo-wop style because it sounds sweet and charming which is more like what I had in my head for Diva Diaries. Once I had the chord progression down the lyrics came easily. I think I wrote the whole thing in less than an hour. Diva Diaries happened so differently from my other songs. I normally start with lyrics and melody and then figure out the chords and music later. But, Diva Diaries started with the music and chords first, which just goes to show that really nothing is off-limits in songwriting! Sometimes you have to switch things up.
What was the greatest challenge you had when making the album?
Money. LOL. Seriously though. Music is expensive and when you are pursuing it full-time it’s hard to finance everything as quickly as you’d like to. I spend 9-5 Monday-Thursday in my studio working on music, marketing, promoting, etc. And then gig on the weekends as much as possible. I’m so grateful I get to do this full-time, but as many artists know, the cash-flow can be a problem when you’re just starting out! So, I ended up doing a Kickstarter for the album and we made the goal. That was a huge blessing and I’m so thankful to everyone who donated! Having that support was truly incredible. The album wouldn’t exist without all those who gave to the project. So thank you. Other than money, I think the greatest challenge was the distance between me and my co-producer and engineer, Brent Spiegel, at Fast Trax Recording Studio in San Luis Obispo, CA. It’s true that you can do so much remotely now, but you really can’t beat actually being in the studio and working on the music. It’s less stressful, and I honestly just love being in the studio so much. I never wanted to leave!
What’s something positive you try to keep in mind when negativity surrounds you?
Man. There is so much negativity in the world today. And I’m going to be honest, I have to fight it off frequently! So for starters, when I’m faced with negativity, professionally or personally, I remind myself that I can’t control everything. I have to trust God with every part of my life. If I’m battling negative thoughts or voices related to my character, personality, or talent I remind myself of who God says that I am to Him, and that’s my true identity. The world is always lying to us, we have to remind ourselves of who we really are and of what really matters.
What’s your favorite dystopian story and why?
Don’t make me pick! There are so many I love. The first dystopian series I ever read was the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. That one will always be one of my favorites, because it was my first! The concept is so intriguing and you just fall in love with the characters. I can’t believe they haven’t made it into a movie yet. Still waiting! And of course I love the Hunger Games Series (books), and the Divergent Series (books), and my current favorite was the Shatter Me series (books). Basic rule: if it’s dystopian, I’m going to read it and most likely love it. I’m impartial to books. I haven’t found a dystopian movie I like as much as the books. However, The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is nuts and I’m hooked. It’s pretty intense, but the acting is so phenomenal and it’s shot so beautifully I just had to binge it! I haven’t read the book and I probably won’t, I don’t want to ruin the show.
What are some the finer things in Oklahoma?
So I live in Tonkawa, a tiny little town an hour straight north of OKC. We have an amazing restaurant called TS Fork and it’s simply delightful. The menu is a fixed, 5 course feast and they have a delicious wine menu and full bar. It’s such a classy little place and they have live music as well (which I get to provide sometimes). When I get famous I’m going to eat there every weekend…
As for OKC, my best friend Steph and I love The Jones Assembly, Kitchen 324, Halls Pizza Kitchen, and Anatomy Wine Club, just to name a few. Honestly, the only “finer things” I’m interested in is food and wine if you can’t tell…
“I want my music to be a safe place for young kids to have fun and express themselves with.”
What else would you like people to know about yourself and your music?
I would like people to know that
To me, it’s all about shedding light into peoples lives and giving them a fun and authentic experience with music and art. I just want to sing about light and love and joy and give people lasting and memorable experiences through my music and performances. I’m so excited to share more music with the world and hopefully bring a little happiness to people through it!