Denver, Colorado native, India.Arie, is the definition of “slow and steady wins the race.” In 2000 her debut single, “Video,” wasn’t an instant hit. It gained momentum as radio stations began adhering to the requests of fans. Contrary to the many flashy, over-the-top clips of the day “Video” was about loving yourself for who you are and embracing your flaws.
The message broke through and when her debut Acoustic Soul was finally released in 2001 it earned her seven Grammy nominations in 2002. Unfortunately, she did not receive one trophy that year for her work. In an appearance on Saturday Night Live, Arie wore a shirt with a backwards seven etched on the front in silent protest. When her mother and stylist was asked the reason for the backwards number, she replied, “Because the Grammys are backwards.” Nevertheless, Acoustic Soul, went on to sell 3 million copies worldwide.
During this period, India Arie went back into the studio to concoct her sophomore album, Voyage to India. The album was released in late 2002 and sold more than 2.3 million copies. This time she would not be denied by the Grammy voters and took home two awards for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” and “Best R&B” album for Voyage To India.
For an artist of her stature India Arie was particularly reclusive. Despite being spotted out and about with fellow singer Musiq Soulchild the two insisted they were only “good friends.” However, they did record a song and video together for “Chocolate High.”
Arie’s third studio album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships, was her first number one album. It spawned the moderate hit, “I Am Not My Hair,” featuring Akon. On a 2007 episode of The “Oprah Winfrey Show,” Arie stated that she wasn’t thrilled about working with Akon, but relented when the label suggested it would make the album more commercial.
After Testimony: Vol 1, India.Arie left her longtime label Motown for Universal Republic, where she released Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics in 2009. She began recording with artists she felt made meaningful music. She stated, ” After collaborating with many artists, this is the first album I’ve created completely from my point of view without needing to cater to media needs.” Testimony: Vol.2 reached number 3 on the Billboard 200.
India is currently working on a new disc entitled, Open Door. It’s features collaborations with Israeli singer, Idan Raichel. The collection is scheduled to be released in June.