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India Arie

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India Arie
Arie performing in 2009
India Arie Simpson

(1975-10-03) October 3, 1975 (age 48)
Other namesIndia.Arie
Alma materSavannah College of Art and Design
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1997–present
ParentRalph Simpson
Musical career
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.

India Arie Simpson (sometimes styled as india.arie) (born October 3, 1975) is an American singer and songwriter.[1] Her debut album, Acoustic Soul, was released in 2001, and she has since released six more studio albums. Arie has sold over five million records in the US and ten million worldwide, and has won four Grammy Awards from 23 nominations, including Best R&B Album.[2]



India was born in Denver, Colorado,[3] the daughter of Joyce and Ralph Simpson. Her musical skills were encouraged by both parents in her younger years. Her mother is a former singer (she was signed to Motown as a teenager and opened for Stevie Wonder and Al Green)[4] and is now her stylist. She has an older brother named J'On and younger sister Mary A Martin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[5] Arie is African-American, and according to a DNA analysis, she descends from the Mende people of Sierra Leone, the Kru people of Liberia and the Fula people of Guinea-Bissau.[6][7]

After Simpson's parents divorced, her mother moved the family to Atlanta when India was 13.[5] Simpson 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, 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.[8]

Co-founding the Atlanta-based independent music collective Government Earthseed (Government was the collective artists' name and Earthseed 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 signed her and made an introduction to former Motown CEO Kedar Massenburg. Arie resides in New York City.

Named to Oprah Winfrey's SuperSoul100 list of visionaries and influential leaders,[9] India.Arie performed Songversation during 2017 motivational cruises.[10]



Arie released her debut album Acoustic Soul on March 27, 2001. The album was met with positive reviews and commercial success.[11] Acoustic Soul 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 by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling 2,180,000 copies in the U.S. and 3,000,000 copies worldwide.[12] The album was also certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry[13] and platinum by Music Canada.[14] The album was promoted with the release of the lead single "Video". "Video" attained commercial success peaking at 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and becoming her highest-charting song in the region to date.[15] The album's second single "Brown Skin" failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but it became her highest-charting single in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 29.[16]

Arie performed a duet with rock singer-guitarist John Mellencamp on the song "Peaceful World" for his 2001 album Cuttin' Heads. 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". Arie performed a duet with jazz singer Cassandra Wilson on the song "Just Another Parade" for her 2002 album Belly of the Sun.

Arie followed the success of her debut on September 24, 2002, with the release of Voyage to India.[17] It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 109,000 copies[18] and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums,[18] with the RIAA certifying it Platinum.[19] At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it won Best R&B Album, and the single "Little Things" won Best Urban/Alternative Performance.[20] The song "Get It Together" was featured on many film soundtracks including Brown Sugar (2002) and Shark Tale (2004).[21][22]

On September 12, 2005, Arie performed "Just 4 2day", a song written for her appearance on the debut of The Tyra Banks Show.[23] She also performed "What About the Child", a song that did not air but was made available as a one-dollar Internet download to support child victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.[24] Arie is also featured on Stevie Wonder's album A Time to Love, released on October 18, 2005. Arie and Wonder duet on the title track "A Time to Love", written by Arie. Which was nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Three years earlier, their rendition of Mel Tormé's 1944 classic "The Christmas Song", recorded for the holiday TV commercial for retailer Target, had been nominated for the same category, making it the first song created and financed exclusively for a commercial to be nominated for a Grammy Award.[25]

India Arie performing in Lokeren Belgium, August 3, 2004

The first-week sales of Arie's album Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, 161,000 copies, are her best sales week to date. The album was certified gold in August 2006, selling 730,000 in US and 1,300,000 worldwide. "I Am Not My Hair", a collaboration with Akon, 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. On the April 16, 2007, episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show entitled "After Imus: Now What?", Arie guest-starred as a panelist. Arie performed a duet with singer Anthony David for his song "Words" for his 2008 album Acey Duecy.

Her 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 also identified this CD as her first to write and sing songs without worrying about public opinion after a much-needed vacation to Hawaii. The album was her first produced and released after her departure from Motown to Universal Records.[26] Arie performed "Video" with British singer Adele at the 2009 VH1 Divas. Arie is one of over 70 artists singing on "We Are the World: 25 for Haiti", a charity single in aid of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Arie contributed vocals to "Imagine" for the 2010 Herbie Hancock album, The Imagine Project along with Seal, Pink, Jeff Beck, Konono N°1, Oumou Sangare and others.[27]

In the fall of 2010, she was a featured guest vocalist on Carlos Santana's version of The Beatles classic song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from his album Guitar Heaven. The song also features Yo-Yo Ma on cello.

In September 2012, she featured in a campaign called "30 Songs/30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book.[28]

In March 2013, it was announced that Arie was working on her upcoming fifth studio album, Songversation, which was released on June 25, 2013. The first single of the album, "6th Avenue", was released on iTunes on November 4, 2012; it was produced by India Arie and Israeli musician Idan Raichel. The second single "Cocoa Butter" was released on iTunes on April 9, 2013.[29][30][31][32]

In 2015, she released a collaborative album with musician Joe Sample titled Christmas with Friends.[33]

In July 2016, she premiered her new single "Breathe" inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement, especially Eric Garner's last words. She also announced a new album titled Worthy was in the works.[34] She performed the single on the Soul Train Awards with host Erykah Badu in November.[35]

In June 2017, she announced the release of her first EP SongVersation: Medicine on June 30.[36][37] It was preceded by the single "Breathe" and the new single "I Am Light" which was originally included on her 2013 Songversation album. She expressed that the EP was "made to be listened to in a quiet time, prayer, meditation, Yoga. My wish is that these songs bring softness, clarity, calm, and inspiration."[38]

In September 2018, she premiered her new single "That Magic". The song serves as the lead single from her sixth studio album titled Worthy which was released on February 15, 2019.[39][40]

In February 2022, Arie joined several artists to announce plans to remove her music from music service Spotify because it platformed podcast host Joe Rogan. According to media reports, Arie's planned departure from the service is motivated by Rogan's use of insensitive language relating to race in the past. Arie's music remains on Spotify.[41]



Studio albums



  • Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time by Carlos Santana (2010) – India sings While my guitar gently weeps with Yo Yo Ma on cello
  • The Imagine Project by Herbie Hancock (2010) – India sings Imagine with Pink, Seal, Konono No. 1, Oumou Sangare and Jeff Beck
  • "My Everything" by Sauti Sol (2020) – Midnight Train


India Arie on the red carpet at VH1 Divas 2009.
Grammy Award

The Grammy Award is an honor awarded by The Recording Academy to recognize outstanding achievement in the mainly English-language music industry. Arie has won four Grammy awards from twenty-three nominations.[42]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2002 Acoustic Soul Album of the Year Nominated
Best R&B Album Nominated
"Video" Record of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
Best R&B Song Nominated
India Arie Best New Artist Nominated
2003 "The Christmas Song" (with Stevie Wonder) Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Nominated
"Little Things" Best Urban/Alternative Performance Won
"Good Man" Best R&B Song Nominated
Voyage to India Best R&B Album Won
2006 "A Time to Love" (with Stevie Wonder) Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Nominated
2007 "I Am Not My Hair" Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
Best R&B Song Nominated
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships Best R&B Album Nominated
2008 "Beautiful Flower" Best R&B Song Nominated
2009 "Words" (with Anthony David) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
2010 "Chocolate High" (featuring Musiq Soulchild) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
Testimony Vol. 2, Love & Politics Best R&B Album Nominated
"Pearls" (with Dobet Gnahoré) Best Urban/Alternative Performance Won
2011 "Imagine" (with Herbie Hancock, Pink, Seal, Konono Nº1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangaré) Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Won
2018 "SongVersation: Medicine" Best New Age Album Nominated
2020 "Steady Love" Best Traditional R&B Performance Nominated
BET Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2001 India Arie Best New Artist Nominated
2002 India Arie Best Female R&B Artist Won
2003 India Arie Best Female R&B Artist Won
2006 India Arie Best Female R&B Artist Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2002 India Arie Best New Artist Nominated
Acoustic Soul Best R&B/Soul Album – Female Nominated
"Video" Best R&B/Soul Single – Female Nominated
2003 "Little Things" Best R&B/Soul Single – Female Nominated
2007 Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships Best R&B/Soul Album – Female Nominated
NAACP Image Award
Year Nominee / work Award Result
2002 India Arie Outstanding New Artist Nominated
Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
Acoustic Soul Outstanding Album Nominated
2003 India Arie & Stevie Wonder Outstanding Duo or Group Won
India Arie Outstanding Female Artist Won
"Little Things" Outstanding Music Video Won
Outstanding Song Nominated
Voyage to India Outstanding Album Nominated
2004 "The Truth" Outstanding Music Video Nominated
2006 India Arie Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
2007 India Arie Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
"I Am Not My Hair" Outstanding Music Video Nominated
Outstanding Song Won
2008 "Beautiful Flower" Outstanding Song Nominated
2009 India Arie & Anthony David Outstanding Duo or Group Nominated
2010 India Arie Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
2014 India Arie Outstanding Female Artist Nominated
"Cocoa Butter" Outstanding Music Video Nominated


India Arie performing at Texas A&M University–Commerce in April 2014
  • Voyage to World Tour (2002/03)
  • Testimony Tour (2006/10)
  • Songversation Tour (2013/14)
Opening act


List of television and film credits
Year Title Role Notes
2002-2010 Between the Lions Herself 9 episodes
2003 American Dreams Nina Simone "Act of Contrition" (Season 1, Episode 16)
2003 The Bernie Mac Show Herself "Raging Election" (Season 2, Episode 13)
2004 Blue's Clues Herself "Bluestock" (Season 6, Episode 9)
2005 Sesame Street Herself "What Happens Next?" (Season 36, Episode 18)
2006 One on One Herself "I Love L.A.: Part 1" (Season 5, Episode 21)
2009 Pastor Brown Lateefah Debut film
2015 Being Mary Jane Herself "Life in the Sand" (Season 2, Episode 9)



In 2009, India Arie portrayed Nina Simone in a staged reading at the Roundabout Theatre Company of the upcoming Broadway musical Soul Doctor, about the life of Shlomo Carlebach written by Daniel Wise.

See also



  1. ^ "On A Spiritual And Emotional Journey – India.Arie And Her Music". EF News International. Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  2. ^ "Grammy Winner India Arie is coming to Nigeria in June". Bellanaija.com. May 17, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  3. ^ "India.Arie: A Gem of a Performer". The Washington Post. August 24, 2001. Retrieved May 5, 2024.
  4. ^ "The soul of a songwriter: India.Arie talks about reading, writing and stoking her creative fires". Black Issues Book Review. September–October 2004. Archived from the original on January 29, 2005. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "India.Arie MTV biography". MTV. Archived from the original on October 19, 2007. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  6. ^ "India.Arie Ancestry Reveal". YouTube.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  7. ^ "Growing Interest in DNA-Based Genetic Testing Among African American with Historic Election of President Elect Barack Obama". Prweb.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  8. ^ "About the Performer: India.Arie". laphil.com. Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Archived from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Meet the SuperSoul100: The World's Biggest Trailblazers in One Room". O Magazine. August 1, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Caslin, Yvette (August 16, 2017). "Oprah and friends set sail this summer". rollingout.com. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  11. ^ Duffy, John. "Acoustic Soul – India.Arie". Allmusic. Retrieved on August 12, 2009.
  12. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – December 13, 2010: Acoustic Soul certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  13. ^ "British Phonographic Industry search results". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  14. ^ "Gold & Platinum Certifications". Music Canada. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  15. ^ "India.Arie Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  16. ^ Roberts, David. Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums. Guinness World Records Ltd 17th edition (2004), p. 29 ISBN 0-85112-199-3
  17. ^ "India.Arie – Voyage To India". Discogs.com. 2002.
  18. ^ a b "Voyage to India - India.Arie". Billboard.com.
  19. ^ "Little Things". SuperiorPics.com. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013.
  20. ^ "India Arie – Voyage To India CD". CDUniverse.com.
  21. ^ "Soundtracks for Brown Sugar (2002)". IMDb.com.
  22. ^ "Soundtracks for Shark Tale (2004)". IMDb.com.
  23. ^ "Telepictures Productions". Tyrashow.warnerbros.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  24. ^ "Tyra Banks & India.Arie". iAmplify. December 8, 2005. Archived from the original on March 25, 2006. Retrieved March 6, 2007.
  25. ^ "Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony & More On Stevie Wonder Tribute Collection". Spotlight on R&B. February 9, 2003. Retrieved June 1, 2007.
  26. ^ Lewis, Pete. "India.Arie: Sweet, Sweet Soul Music." Bluesandsoul.com. Issue 1024. November 3, 2009
  27. ^ "The Imagine Project". All About Jazz. June 21, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  28. ^ "30 Songs / 30 Days for Half the Sky | Half The Sky". Halftheskymovement.org. August 30, 2012. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  29. ^ Cooper, Charlene. (March 22, 2013) Must-Listen: Hear India Arie's New Song, 'Cocoa Butter'. Essence.com. Retrieved on 2013-06-25.
  30. ^ India.Arie to Release "SongVersation" on June 25 @ARTISTdirect. Artistdirect.com. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.
  31. ^ iTunes – Music – Cocoa Butter – Single by India.Arie Archived April 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Itunes.apple.com (April 9, 2013). Retrieved on 2013-06-25.
  32. ^ iTunes – Music – sixth Avenue – Single by India.Arie. Itunes.apple.com (November 4, 2012). Retrieved on 2013-06-25.
  33. ^ "India.Arie Spends 'Christmas With Friends' Joe Sample, Tori Kelly, Brandy & More". Billboard.com. December 5, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "@SylviaObell". Essence.com. Archived from the original on March 17, 2018. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  35. ^ "Soul Train Awards Performance: India.Arie and Erykah Badu Are Queens Of Soul and Sass". Bet.com. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  36. ^ "India Arie's 'SongVersation: Medicine' EP Drops This Week". Parlemag.com. June 25, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  37. ^ "SongVersation: Medicine". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  38. ^ Malkin, John (October 31, 2017). "Music Review: Songversation: Medicine". spiritualityhealth.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  39. ^ India.Arie (September 14, 2018). "ELATED! Freaking. ELATED! Thank you all for all this LOVE! SO much more to come! #thatmagic #worthy #iamlight whohooooooooo!!!! I'm right now. Link in Biopic.twitter.com/HBn16pDg5c". Twitter. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  40. ^ "New Music: India Arie - That Magic + Announces New Album "Worthy"". YouKnowIGotSoul.com. September 15, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  41. ^ "India Arie says she's pulling her music from Spotify over Joe Rogan's comments on race". cnn.com. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  42. ^ "India Arie". Grammy.com. November 23, 2020.