India.Arie performing "Wings of Forgiveness" at Pori Jazz2007 in Pori, Finlandin July 2007 Background information Birth name India Arie Simpson Born October 3, 1975(1975-10-03) (age 32)
Denver, Colorado, United StatesGenre(s)Soul, R&B, neo soul, blues, folk, acousticOccupation(s) Singer-songwriter, record producer, guitarist, flautistInstrument(s)Singing, guitar, fluteYears active 2001–present Label(s)Motown, SoulBird Music Website www.indiaarie.com
- 1 Early years
- 2 Musical career
- 3 Collaborations
- 4 Grammy Awards history
- 5 Discography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Arie was born in Denver, Colorado. She absorbed musical skills early in life as she was encouraged by both parents. Her mother Joyce is a former singer (she was signed to Motown as a teenager and opened for Stevie Wonder and Al Green) and is now her stylist. Her father is former ABA and NBA basketball player Ralph Simpson. She has an older brother named J'On. After her parents divorced, Arie's mother moved the family to Atlanta, Georgia when she was thirteen. Arie had taken up a succession of musical instruments throughout her schooling in Denver, but her interest in the guitar while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, led to a personal revelation about songwriting and performing. "When I started tapping into my own sensitivity, I started to understand people better. It was a direct result of writing songs", she said at the press release of her debut album, Acoustic Soul.
Co-founding the Atlanta-based independent music collective Groovement EarthShare (Groovement was the collective artists' name and EarthShare was their independent label name), her one-song turn on a locally-released compilation led to a second-stage gig at the 1998 Lilith Fair. In 1999, a Universal/Motown music scout spotted her and made an introduction to former Motown CEO Kedar Massenberg.
Acoustic Soul (2001)
- Main article: Acoustic Soul
Sidestepping all the devices of flavor-of-the-month record-making, Acoustic Soul acquainted listeners with a brave and eloquent new voice. The album drew an uncommonly broad swath of listeners from lovers of hip hop, neo soul, blues, folk, and classic troubadour-style singer-songwriter, all at once.
Acoustic Soul was released on March 27, 2001 and debuted at number ten on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Within months, without the concentrated radio airplay that typically powers pop and rap albums, Acoustic Soul was certified double platinum, selling 1,970,000 copies in the U.S. and 2,799,000 worldwide. As a capstone to the album's success, Arie had the distinction of having the most total Grammy Award nominations of any single artist that year. Fans and peers alike were stunned when she was not awarded a Grammy Award in any of the nominated categories. Nonetheless, Arie stole the spotlight by closing the ceremony with a brave performance of her song "Video", accompanied only by herself on the guitar.
Voyage to India (2002)
- Main article: Voyage to India
Arie followed the success of her debut in 2002 with the release of Voyage to India. Debuting at number six on the Billboard 200 and number one on the R&B chart, it eventually earned her two Grammy Awards in 2003—"Best R&B Album" and Best Urban/Alternative Performance" for the song "Little Things". Soon after its release, Voyage to India was certified platinum selling 1,200,000 copies in the U.S. and 2,083,000 worldwide.
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship (2006)
- Main article: Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship
Arie's third studio album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, was released on June 27, 2006. It gave Arie her first number-one spot on the Billboard 200 and was her second chart-topper on the R&B chart. This album was also the first number-one album for Motown in thirty-three years since Diana Ross' 1972 Lady Sings the Blues. Its first-week sales of 161,000 copies are Arie's best sales week to date and was certified gold in August 2006, selling 730,000 in the U.S. It has also sold 1,484,000 worldwide. Her acclaimed cover of Don Henley's "The Heart of the Matter" from this album has returned in 2008 as a feature in the trailers to the film Sex and the City: The Movie.
- Arie performed a duet with rock singer-guitarist John Mellencamp on the song "Peaceful World" for his 2001 album Cuttin' Heads.
- Arie performed a duet with jazz singer Cassandra Wilson on the song "Just Another Parade" for her 2002 album Belly of the Sun.
- On the September 12, 2005 premiere of The Tyra Banks Show, Arie performed "Just 4 2day", a song she wrote especially for Tyra's show. She also performed "What About the Child", a song that did not air but was made available as a one-dollar Internet download to support child victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
- Arie is also featured on Stevie Wonder's album A Time to Love, released on October 18, 2005. Arie and Wonder duet on the title track "A Time to Love", written by Arie, which was nominated for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Three years earlier, their rendition of Mel Tormé's 1944 classic "The Christmas Song", recorded for the holiday TV commercial for retailer Target, was nominated for the same category, making it the first song created and financed exclusively for a commercial to be nominated for a Grammy Award.
- Arie performed a duet with Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes on the title song "Timeless" for his 2006 album Timeless.
- Arie performed the vocals for "It Might Be You" on Dave Koz's 2007 album At the Movies.
- Arie collaborated with Akon for her song "I Am Not My Hair". On the April 16, 2007 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show entitled "After Imus: Now What?", Arie guest-starred as a panelist. She stated that she wasn't completely crazy about the duet partner, but the label suggested that it would make the album more commercial. Versions without Akon on the song are currently available on the iTunes Store.
- Arie performed the song "She Is" for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, inspired by the PBS Independent Lens documentary Iron Ladies of Liberia.
Grammy Awards historyYear Category Genre Recording Result 2002 "Record of the Year" General "Video" Nominated "Album of the Year" General Acoustic Soul Nominated "Song of the Year" General "Video" Nominated "Best New Artist" General — Nominated "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" R&B "Video" Nominated "Best R&B Song" R&B "Video" Nominated "Best R&B Album" R&B Acoustic Soul Nominated 2003 "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" Pop "The Christmas Song" (with Stevie Wonder) Nominated "Best Urban/Alternative Performance" R&B "Little Things" Won "Best R&B Song" R&B "Good Man" Nominated "Best R&B Album" R&B Voyage to India Won 2006 "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" Pop "A Time to Love" (Stevie Wonder featuring India.Arie) Nominated 2007 "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" R&B "I Am Not My Hair" Nominated "Best R&B Song" R&B "I Am Not My Hair" Nominated "Best R&B Album" R&B Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship Nominated 2008 "Best R&B Song" R&B "Beautiful Flower" Nominated
- 2001: Acoustic Soul
- 2002: Voyage to India
- 2006: Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship
- 2008: Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics
SinglesYear Single Chart positions Album U.S.U.S. R&BU.S. danceUK2001 "Video" 47 45 — 32 Acoustic Soul "Brown Skin" 109 39 — 29 "Strength, Courage & Wisdom" — 76 — — "Ready for Love" — — — — 2002 "Little Things" 89 33 — 62 Voyage to India 2003 "Can I Walk with You" — — — — "The Truth" — 105 — — "Get It Together" — — — — 2005 "Purify Me" — 53 — — Diary of a Mad Black Womansoundtrack 2006 "I Am Not My Hair" (featuring Akon) 97 47 14 65 Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship "The Heart of the Matter" — — — 79* "There's Hope" 105 33 — — 2007 "Beautiful Flower" 56 — — — Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics
- "The Heart of the Matter" charted on the UK Singles Chart on 1 June 2008, based on download sales alone, due to the release of the Sex and the City: The Movie soundtrack.
- ^ The soul of a songwriter: India.Arie talks about reading, writing and stoking her creative fires. Black Issues Book Review (September–October 2004). Retrieved on 2007-05-05.
- ^ India.Arie MTV biography. MTV. Retrieved on 2007-10-15.
- ^ Tyra Banks & India.Arie. iAmplify (December 8, 2005). Retrieved on 2007-03-06.
- ^ Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony & More On Stevie Wonder Tribute Collection. Spotlight on R&B (February 9, 2003). Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
- Official website
- India.Arie on Motown Records website
- India.Arie at LyricWiki
- India.Arie at Allmusic
- India.Arie at the Internet Movie Database
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