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India.Arie

Grammy Award Winning Singer
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Biography

Born in Denver and later relocating to Atlanta as a teen, India.Arie went from “singing under a tree in the park” to the Grammy Awards stage in five years, earning seven nominations for her 2001 double-platinum debut Acoustic Soul featuring her first hit single “Video.” That was followed in 2002 by the platinum-selling Voyage to India, 2006’s gold-certified Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship and its 2009 sequel Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics. But despite 21 Grammy nominations, four Grammys and 10 million albums sold worldwide, something was wrong.

“In 2009 I let go,” recalls India.Arie. “I realized I had to seize the chance to make the career and life I wanted, not accepting what others wanted me to do. So I decided to retire, asking God to show me where I am supposed to be.”

Music did eventually come back into her life through a series of vulnerable songs she began writing for a self-funded new project called Open Door. But three years into the project, she shelved it. “I was confronted by the same questions,” says India.Arie. “Who are you? How are you shaping the big picture of your life?”

Exhausted from writing and recording Open Door, the singer didn’t feel like doing another album. But instead of waiting another three years, she took a day to pray. Six months later she finished SongVersation.

“That was my first glimpse of a new resilience, of stepping into my power,” she recalls. “It’s about not having anything to prove except to simply express myself because it’s who I am—not as a means to an end. Chasing that and topping that is not me. It’s about being more me in both my life and career.”

She recently embraced the former by expanding Soulbird, her label imprint, into a multi-faceted company housing her other entrepreneurial endeavors: jewelry, apparel, merchandise, film and TV, music and book publishing. She’s also ready again for fans to hear India.Arie, the singer/songwriter.

“I wasn’t ready until now,” she says. “I love where things are on and offstage. I trusted my intuition through every line and note of every song on this album, following the flow. And the ease of the flow is always a sign that I am in the right place, doing the right thing. And that is all I’ve ever wanted. I created SongVersation from that place.”

Topics

Elevated to Fly: My Story

Breathe: Race Relations in America

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