about

 

Sometimes you have to step back to move forward. Coming to that realization—let alone taking that crucial first step—can be a daunting endeavor. Now on the other side of a self-imposed four-year hiatus, India.Arie returns with the most illuminating album of her career.

SongVersation (Soulbird/Motown, June 25) reunites the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer with longtime writing partner/co-producer Shannon Sanders. Recorded in Atlanta and Los Angeles, India.Arie’s fifth studio album features additional production from singer/songwriter David Ryan Harris and songwriter Michael Ruff. The result is a compelling snapshot of her hard-won breakthrough to simultaneous personal and artistic growth.

“This is where I’ve been for the last four years,” reflects the singer. “I’ve struggled most of my career to feel comfortable with how things were, how I was treated, the politics of the music industry. I needed to pull back from the public eye to ground myself and rebuild my life and career. It’s a process many of us go through: spiritual maturation, spiritual awakening, clearing out the old and starting anew.”

Her inner renewal pulsates throughout SongVersation, starting with lead single “Cocoa Butter.” The mid-tempo groove and image-rich verses mirror the soothing balm that is the song’s namesake. “Your love is like cocoa butter on my heart … \ I show you my burns \ you show me lessons learned,” sings a re-energized India.Arie.

The singer exudes quiet power on the non-apologetic “Life I Know” as well as the empowerment-themed “Just Do You.” With its spare instrumentation, honest and engaging lyrics framed by melodic R&B, SongVersation finds India.Arie coming back full circle to the basics that captivated a global legion of fans on debut album Acoustic Soul.

But underscoring those basics now is a fervent spirit born out of epiphanies, health imbalances and hard decisions that occurred over the past four years.

“On my last two albums, I felt like I was fighting to grow,” says India.Arie. “And that was dehumanizing. Everything became and sounded more complex, instead of me just being.”

No more. As India.Arie sings on the album’s centerpiece “Break the Shell”: “Child, it’s time to break the shell \ Life’s gonna hurt but it’s meant to be felt \ You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself \ You cannot fly until you break the shell.”

“Putting spiritual and empowerment ideals into music concepts … that’s always been the core message of my music—and it seemed I was talking to others …” says India.Arie. “But the truth is that it was my message to myself because I was yearning to know the peace of a self-defined life.”

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.”



INDIA.ARIE
Releases, Awards & Nominations


Acoustic Soul (March 2001)certified double platinum, debuted #10 on Billboard Top 200 Album chart, #3 on Billboard Top R&B album chart – nominated for 7 Grammys
Voyage To India (September 2002), certified platinum, debuted #6 on Billboard Top 200 album chart, #1 on Billboard Top R&B album chart – nominated for 4 Grammys, won 2.
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship (June 27, 2006), Certified gold, debuted #1 on Billboard Top 200 Album Chart-nominated for 3 Grammys.
Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics (February 10, 2009), debuted # 1 on Billboard R&B Chart, #3 on Billboard Top 200 Album Chart-nominated for 3 Grammys, won 1.
GRAMMY TOTALS: 21 Nominations, 4 Wins


2001 Awards

 

MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARD
RADIO MUSIC AWARD
SOUL TRAIN LADY OF SOUL AWARDS
Nomination- Best New Artist VH1 VOGUE FASION AWARD


2002 Awards

 

BET AWARDS
Winner-Best female R&B artist

BILLBOARD VIDEO AWARDS
Winner – Best New Artist 2001

ALBUMS

ESSENCE AWARDS
Winner- (for writing Video)

GRAMMY AWARDS
Nomination- Album Of The Year (ACOUSTIC SOUL)
Nomination -Record Of The Year (“Video”)
Nomination -Song Of The Year (“Video’)
Nomination -Best New Artist
Nomination -Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (“Video”)
Nomination -Best R&B Song (“Video”)
Nomination -Best R&B Album

MTV MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS
Nomination – MTV2 Artist Of The Year”

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination-Outstanding New Artist
Nomination- Outstanding Female Artist
Nomination- Outstanding Album

SOUL TRAIN AWARDS
Nomination- Best R&B Soul Single
Nomination -Best R&B Soul Album
Nomination -Best R&B Soul or Rap New Artist

SOUL TRAIN LADY OF SOUL AWARDS
Nomination- Best R&B/Soul Single, Solo,"Brown Skin"


2003 Awards

 

GRAMMY AWARDS
Won- Best Urban/Alternative Performance (“Little Things")
Won - Best R&B Album, (VOYAGE TO INDIA)
Nomination - Best R&B Song ("Good Man"),
Nomination - Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, India.Arie and Stevie Wonder for (“Christmas Song”).

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Won- Outstanding Music Video, “Little Things”
Won- Outstanding Duo or Group, "Christmas Song" (India.Arie and Stevie Wonder)
Won- Outstanding Female Artist
Nomination- Outstanding Song
Nomination- Outstanding Album

SOUL TRAIN AWARDS
Nomination- Best R&B/Soul Single, Female, "Little Things"


2004 Awards

 

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination- Outstanding Music Video, “Truth” (Directors:Sanna Hamri, India.Arie)

Honors

VIBE MAGAZINE – January, 2002 (streets 12/01) Named “Best New Artist 2001”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY MAGAZINE- JULY 2001 Named “One of Top 100 It Entertainers of the Year”

Organic Style Magazine- MAY 2004
Named one of ten “WOMEN WITH ORGANIC STLYE”


2006 Awards

 

GRAMMY AWARDS
Nomination – Best Pop Collaboration w/ vocals ( “A Time To Love” with Stevie Wonder)

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination- Outstanding Female Artist


2007 Awards

 

GRAMMY AWARDS
Nomination – Best R&B Album (Testimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship)
Nomination – Best Female R&B Vocal Performance ("I Am Not My Hair”)
Nomination – Best R&B Song ("I Am Not My Hair”)

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination - Outstanding Song “I Am Not My Hair”
Nomination - Outstanding Female Artist
WON - Outstanding Video “I Am Not My Hair”


2008 Awards

 

GRAMMY AWARDS
Nomination – Best R&B Song ("Beautiful Flower”)

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination - Outstanding Song “Beautiful Flower”


2009 Awards

GRAMMY AWARDS
Nomination – Best R&B Song Duo or Group ("Words” w/ Anthony David)

NAACP- WASHINGTON, DC BRANCH
Centennial Award-Visionary


2010 Awards

 

GRAMMY AWARDS
Nomination – Best R&B Song Duo or Group ("Chocolate High” w/ Musiq Soulchild)
Nomination – Best R&B Album ("Testimony Vol. 2, Love & Politics)
WON- Best Urban/Alternative Performance (“Pearls” w/ Dobet Ghanore)

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination - Outstanding Female Artist
Nomination- was given to BET/Centric for their Leading Women Documentary on India.Arie

Inductee- Georgia Music Hall of Fame


2011 Awards

 

GRAMMY AWARDS
WON- Pop Collaboration With Vocals: "Imagine," Herbie Hancock and Larry Klein, arrangers (Herbie Hancock, Pink, Seal, Jeff Beck, India.Arie, Konono No 1 & Oumou Sangare)

NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
Nomination- Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration: The Imagine Project (w/Herbie Hancock)