Being signed to your first record label as a young artist can feel like a "dream is coming true," according to Grammy Award-winning singer Ciara.
"But the reality is that when you get to do it over and over and over, you start to go, 'Okay, am I really reaping the benefits of the fruits of my labor?'" the singer said in an interview with ABC News, set to air Friday on Soul of a Nation's Juneteenth special, "Sound of Freedom."
In 2011, after writing in a Facebook post that she felt creatively restricted and unsupported by her label at the time, Ciara said she became determined to release her music on her own terms.
She ultimately launched her own record and entertainment company, Beauty Marks Entertainment, in 2017. The singer also successfully reclaimed her masters -- the original recording of a song -- something many artists have attempted to do in recent years.
Ciara said she was inspired by Prince's legacy of struggling against the music industry and the "power in ownership."
"He was really bold, and he was always expressive and opinionated," Ciara said. "I love that as an artist."
Unlike many other recording artists at the time, Prince owned all of his masters. That ownership was the result of lengthy back-and-forth clashes with Warner Bros Records, with whom he was once signed.
"When you stop a man from dreaming, he becomes a slave," Prince famously said in a 1996 interview with Rolling Stone. "That’s where I was. I don't own Prince's music. If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you."
Similarly dissatisfied with the status quo, Ciara said she questioned why the business of running a hip hop label had to be a "male dominated space."
"Being a woman -- and a woman of color -- to be in this position, it's an incredible feeling," she said. "And so why can't I do it like the other executives that have run companies that I was signed to for many years?"
The singer said she hoped her fight for creative freedom and ownership of her work would empower her children in the same way she was inspired by artists before her.
"A lot of the amazing things in this world come from the roughest places," she said.
Ciara reflected on the origins of blues music as an example, a genre that originated in the Deep South with roots in the work songs and spirituals of enslaved African Americans.
"When someone first sang or hummed a melody, how beautiful that was, how freeing that was, how that was probably their only source to go to that gave them some hope, that gave 'em some joy, that allowed them to spread love," the singer said.
"You think about that, and just the power in that, and how far we've come," she added. "And then you think about all the opportunity that we have in this world. We all deserve to benefit from what we put into it. And you shouldn't be limited by the color of your skin. You shouldn't be limited by your gender."