India.Arie Biography

India Arie Simpson, 3 October 1975, Denver, Colorado, USA. This Atlanta, Georgia, USA-based singer-songwriter made an immediate impact on the neo-soul scene with the release of her debut Acoustic Soul in March 2001. Her parents named her India in honour of Mahatma Gandhi, with her mother adding Arie (Hebrew for ‘lion’). The singer later added the web-style dot to give her name ‘an aesthetic flow’. The family moved to Atlanta when India was 13. She first started playing guitar while studying jewellery making at Savannah College of Art and Design, and gradually became involved in the local urban music scene, helping form the artist’s collective Groovement/Earthseed. Her first songs appeared on the collective’s independently released CD, leading to an invitation to play on several southern legs of 1998’s Lilith Fair tour. A recording contract with Motown Records, which gave the singer complete artistic control over her music, was signed the following year. She spent the next two years working on her debut album, although ‘In My Head’ created a buzz when it was featured on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Bamboozled in September 2000. Acoustic Soul saw India.Arie heralded alongside contemporary black female singer-songwriters such as Meshell Ndegéocello, Tracy Chapman and Dionne Farris, and went on to achieve double platinum status in America.

Arie’s second album Voyage To India followed hot on the heels of her debut, and was another superlative collection that was deservedly rewarded with a Grammy for Best R&B Album. The single ‘Little Things’ also earned a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. The singer’s prominent status in American music was confirmed in June 2006 when her third album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, debuted at the top of the national charts.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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