India.Arie Biography

At last brought up her third full-length album, "Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship", to the stores, India.Arie apparently does not want to take slow move this time to mark her comeback for a handful of performances have already compiled neatly to be carried out for the next months of 2006. Previously joined the likes of Missy Elliott, Fantasia Barrino, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg to present at the year's BET Awards held on June 27, this brilliant singer also songwriter really has such a hectic schedule in July, beginning with a live show in Chicago, Illinois by date 5 at Taste of Chicago then in Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2 days later. As the gigs afterwards extend to other big cities in the States which covered Louisville, Detroit, Atlanta, plus Atlantic City before closing the month at Memphis' Orpheum Theatre on date 30, another performance has delightfully been added on August 7 at House of Blues in New Orleans, which sure will bring delight to her fans there.

Arguably one of the substantial figures in either neo soul or R&B music genres, India was born India Arie Simpson on October 3, 1975 in Denver, Colorado as a daughter of professional basketball player Ralph Simpson and a former singer named Joyce, from whom she inherited abundant fondness for music unquestionably. With her mother being her mentor in singing, she persistently developed her musical skills during her early life, joining church's choir while in the meantime learning to play various musical instruments like saxophone, baritone clarinet, French horn, also trumpet. However, it was not until the girl began to take up guitar during her college years at Savannah College of Art and Design that her resoluteness to be fully involved in music finally came to the surface. “It was my first instrument I played that I could sing with", she recalled, "and that transformed my life and changed my musical expression.”

Thus decided to give up her study of jewelry design there, India eagerly threw herself in the urban music circuit in Atlanta, the city where she had settled in after her relocation from Denver at age 13, to later see her first song being featured in a compilation album of a collective group called Groveement/Earthseed which she co-founded with other local music artists. Much to her surprise, the work unexpectedly led to a second-stage live gig on several southern legs at the 1998 Lilith Fair yet it probably had never occurred to this gifted young woman that the festival would bring a great turn that totally changed her ordinary life ever since. All started to roll when one of her performances there came into the attention of a Universal Music Group talent scout named Reen Nalli who then introduced her to Kedar Massenburg, the President of Universal subsidiary Motown Records.

Subsequently secured a record deal under the label by 1999, India thankfully was not demanded to release her first work quickly and taking ample time to prepare it, the effort ultimately touched the market two years later on March 27, 2001 titled “Acoustic Soul.” Though contrastingly different with flavor-of-the-month sound as it boldly combined classic soul, blues, folk, and hip-hop together, the record amazingly did not find any difficulties to hit the mainstream music scene, thanks to the heavy club and radio play of its single, “Video.” Boosting the album to go directly to the 10th rank of The Billboard 200 also the top 3 of Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums to later be certified Platinum in December, the song really was a fabulous initial success for India when it garnered her 4 out of 7 Grammy nominations in 2002, notably that of Record of the Year category, without doubt propelled the singer to widespread prominence all around the country.

Rode high on this superb attainment while at the same time being prompted to strive harder next, India carefully worked on the materials she had collected to then comprise them in her sophomore effort of “Voyage to India” launched on September 24, 2002. Led off by the first single, “Little Things,” the album wonderfully resulted greater than its predecessor, soaring high to the 6th spot on The Billboard 200, apart from taking its peak on the 1st rank of Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Furthermore, it even won her a Grammy for Best R&B Album category by 2003 and so, unmistakably enhanced the versatile artist's profile to be both celebrated singer and songwriter in the industry as consequence. Despite the brilliant accomplishment, however, India instead preferred to withdraw for about two years from the circuit before came back with single “I'm Not My Hair” in 2005 followed by her third studio LP, "Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship" on June 27, 2006. Fantastically sold more than 160,000 copies in its first week, the work in turn became the number one album on The Billboard 200 by early July of the year, no doubt added another highlight to her bright career.