One of the most prominent neo-soul performers, India.Arie (real name – India Arie Simpson) was born on October 3, 1975 in Denver, Colorado, to the family of the professional basketball player Ralph Simpson and former singer Joyce. It was her mother who developed in the girl a profound fondness for music since the early years. Little India combined singing in the local church choir and mastering various instruments at the same time. But only during her college years, when the girl started learning how to play guitar, she realized she wanted to make music the meaning of her life. With a clear thought to be a singer, she relocated to Atlanta. In this city India cofounded Groveement/Earthseed.with a bunch of local artists. They released only one collection of their songs, but it appeared enough for the musicians to get an invitation to the big Lilith Fair festival. At that time, the young singer did not expect that the performance of her band at that event would be a breakthrough moment in her career. India got spotted by the scouts of Motown Records while singing with her group on the stage of that festival in 1998. In a year, she signed a contract with this label. The company management respected the interests of the beginning performer and did not demand an immediate delivery of an album.
With much time at her disposal and focused entirely on the work, India.Arie completed her debut album by spring 2001. Called Acoustic Soul, it was released in March and effortlessly reached the wide audience featuring a sophisticated combination of folk, soul, blues and hip-hop. The record was promoted brilliantly by the single Video, a big favorite of many night clubs and radio stations. As a result, Acoustic Soul ranked tenth in Billboard 200 and received a platinum status. It took India less than a year to complete a striking jump from the position of a promising young performer to the title of a national hero as she won four Grammies in 2002. The unexpected wide popularity and constant attention from the part of critics, press and listeners did not put the beginning singer off the rail. Already in September 2002, she hit the stores with her sophomore studio effort Voyage to India. Backed up by the smashing single Little Things, this album amazingly overdid the achievements of the first one by holding the sixth position in Billboard 200 and being second to none in the R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Besides, 2003 saw this long player win Grammy as the best recognition of India.Arie’s outstanding performing and writing labor.
The magnificent results of the first two albums could be give a great boost to India.Arie’s further career development; and yet, to the massive surprise of the music community, she preferred to take a break lasting eventually as long as two years. She came back in 2005 with the single I'm Not My Hair followed by the release of the singer’s third full format record, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship. It was highly anticipated elsewhere, which could explain the fantastic sales of the album. After the first week, the singer sold about 160,000 copies of this album to push right to the top of Billboard 200. And again, without rush and fuss, India.Arie went to the studio to prepare the continuation of this monumental work, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics. The record was released in February 2009.