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Up and coming Baltimore vocal artist displays versatile musical talent

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Ciera Dennis has set a goal -- to perform her music 24 hours a day on stage, maybe even on Broadway. Her stage name is Ciera Monae and she can sing different genres of music from classical to gospel to rhythm and blues. She considers herself to be an overall performer and has even performed in 'Little Shop of Horrors' at Baltimore's Strand Theater.

Her story began when she was four, riding along in the car with her mother and grandmother. The precocious young lady heard the group, Labelle, singing 'Lady Marmalade' and began to sing along. She said she liked the lyrics and the flow of the song and was drawn in to the whole song.

Ciera is mostly influenced by her mother, Ellana Barksdale, who is also a performer. Her mother was always singing. She used to go to see her mother perform, which, in turn, influenced her to become the performer she is today.

There has always been music happening in Dennis' life. She sang with the Cardinal Sheehan Elementary/Middle School choir. She also sang on the Choral Choir at the Baltimore School for the Arts, from which she graduated in 2009. Ciera then continued to sing with a group called 2300 at her (now) alma mater, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, in California.

Dennis/Monae is currently working in the studio on her music and a very special project soon to be announced.

She has had to push her way through some challenges -- mainly, her confidence. She forces herself to dismiss any ideas that she does not have a good talent or cannot pursue music as a career. She said, "God gave me these gifts and talents for a reason".

Ciera wants to be remembered as someone who was great at making music and whose music changes people's lives. She remembers wanting to be like Michael Jackson and change lives around the world. She wants her music to be known all around the world.

She says young people should just believe in themselves, push hard and work hard to get things done. She also says remember to have fun and live.

Ciera Dennis/Monae can be reached via email at cieradennis@ymail.com. She can also be found on Facebook as CiCi Monae.

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