Ciara is taking back her narrative.
Overnight, the diva dropped “Level Up,” her first single since “Dance Like We’re Making Love” was released in 2015—and the first single since she signed to Warner Bros. Records last year. J.R. Rotem produced the track for the singer’s forthcoming seventh studio album, and it samples the Jersey Remix of “We Are Young” (used in the “F–k It Up Challenge”). The video, directed and choreographed by Parris Goebel, a.k.a. Parri$, features the ReQuest Dance Crew.
The song’s title cleverly references Ciara’s controversial #LevelUp social media posts. In January, she reposted a video clip from John Gray‘s “He Who Finds a Wife” sermon, in which the pastor said, “Too many women want to be married, but you’re walking in the spirit of ‘girlfriend.'” Amid backlash, the twice-married singer explained, “I was once that girl wanting to be loved a certain way but was making the wrong choices. I found myself at my lowest moment. I was a single mom sitting at home, and then I realized that the perfect love I was looking for was how God loves me, how He wants me to be loved, and who He was calling me to be as a mom and a woman. That’s when I realized married or not married…I needed to love myself.”
Ciara concluded her post by writing “#LevelUp.”
In the first verse of “Level Up,” Ciara sings, “Them old mistakes are gone, I won’t do them no more / That’s old news, there’s new news, I done did that before / I turned them into something, my comeback on one hunnid / Less talking, more action, you just gon’ CiCi coming / I just keep elevating, no losses, just upgrading / My lessons, made blessings, I turned that into money / Thank God I never settled, this view is so much better / I’m chilling, I’m winning, like on another level.” In the second verse, the singer continues, “Fake friends get dropped like weight / Team love, don’t want no hate / I’m grindin’, I’m shinin’ / Up, up, up on my way / Thank God I never settled / This view is so much better / I’m chilling, I’m winning / Like on another level.”
Lest anyone mistake her message this time around, Ciara begins the music video by telling her fans, “OK, remember I told you: Be your own boss. Love yourself. Get up and dance. Level up!”
Ciara has yet to announce when her album will be released.