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Arie performing in Lokeren Belgium, 2004 Photo: Chris Hakkens
Background information
Birth name India Arie
Born October 3, 1975 (1975-10-03) (age 34)
Denver, Colorado, United States
Genres Soul, R&B, neo soul, blues, folk, pop
Occupations Musician, Songwriter, record producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, flute
Years active 2001–present
Labels Motown (1999–2007)
SoulBird / Universal Republic (2007–present)

India.Arie (born India Arie; October 3, 1975) is an American soul, R&B, and neo soul singer-songwriter, record producer, guitarist, and flautist.



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)[1] 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 [2]. 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.

Musical career

india.arie in concert

Acoustic Soul (2001)

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 2.18 million copies in the U.S. and 3 million worldwide. While Arie and the album were nominated for seven Grammy awards in 2002, they won no awards, losing in five of seven categories to Alicia Keys. She closed the ceremony with a performance of her song "Video".

Voyage to India (2002)

Arie followed the success of her debut on 24 September 2002 with the release of Voyage to India. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and number one on the R&B chart. In 2003 it won 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 1.4 million copies[citation needed]in the U.S. and 2.2 million worldwide[citation needed].

Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship (2006)

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 twelve years[citation needed]. 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 US and 1.3 million worldwide. "I Am Not My Hair" was the most successful release from Testimony: Vol. 1., reaching the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at #97 and the UK Singles Chart at #65.

Her cover of Don Henley's "The Heart of the Matter" from Testimony: Vol. 1 was used in 2008 as a feature in the trailers to the film Sex and the City: The Movie.

Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics (2009)

Her highly anticipated next album, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics was released on Tuesday, February 10, 2009. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and No. 2 on the R&B chart. Within this CD, Arie collaborated with such artists as Sezen Aksu, Keb Mo, Gramps Morgan and Musiq Soulchild to fulfill her self-proclaimed desire to "do projects with people who are making music that is meaningful, with a lot of integrity and a lot of sonic diversity". Arie, in the cited interview, also identified this CD as the first of her collection to come directly from her own point of view, without feeling any necessity to fulfill fan or media needs. Arie was able to achieve this newfound ability to write and sing songs without worrying about public opinion after a much-needed vacation to Hawaii. This CD was Arie's first CD produced after her change from Motown to Universal Records [3].


  • 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 were made available.
  • Arie performed the song "She Is" for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, inspired by the PBS Independent Lens documentary Iron Ladies of Liberia.
  • Arie performed "Video" with British singer Adele at the 2009 VH1 Divas

Grammy Awards history

Year 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
2009 "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" R&B "Words" feat. Anthony David Nominated
2010 "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" R&B "Chocolate High" feat. Musiq Soulchild Nominated
"Best Urban/Alternative Performance " R&B "Pearls" feat. Dobet Gnahore Won
"Best R&B Album " R&B Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics Nominated


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions[6] Certifications
(sales thresholds)
2001 Acoustic Soul
  • First studio album
  • Release date: March 27, 2001
  • Label: Motown Records
10 3 21 55 85 43 19 36
2002 Voyage to India
  • Second studio album
  • Release date: September 24, 2002
  • Label: Motown Records
6 1 12 82 53 37
  • US: Platinum[7]
  • CAN: Gold[9]
2006 Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship
  • Third studio album
  • Release date: June 27, 2006
  • Label: Motown Records
1 1 29 103 25
2009 Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics
  • Fourth studio album
  • Release date: February 10, 2009
  • Label: Motown Records
3 2 44
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2001 "Video" 47 45 32 Acoustic Soul
"Brown Skin" 109 39 10 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 Woman (soundtrack)
2006 "I Am Not My Hair" (featuring Akon) 97 47 14 89 65 Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship
"The Heart of the Matter" 79
"There's Hope" 105 33 95
2007 "Beautiful Flower" 56 Non-album song
2008 "Chocolate High" (featuring Musiq Soulchild) 114 19 Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics
2009 "Therapy" (featuring Gramps Morgan) 22
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

As a featured guest

Year Single Artist Peak chart positions Album
2001 "Peaceful World" John Mellencamp 104 38 27 Cuttin' Heads
2008 "Words" Anthony David 53 Acey Duecy
2010 "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" Artists for Haiti 2 7 1 9 8 5 15 Non-album song
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


External links

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