Singer-Songwriter Goes Deep with Autobiographical New Album
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Oct. 6, 2002 -- India.Arie's second album shows the singer-songwriter growing more personal, and more fearless. The two are related.
Voyage to India as the name implies, "is a musical autobiography of my last couple of years of life and career," she tells Liane Hansen for Weekend Edition Sunday.
The album goes deeper into her concerns -- both wordly and personal -- than her first collection, 2001's Acoustic Soul. "I'm still redefining what my mission is," she says. "For that reason, there are certain things I'm not afraid to say any more."
That's apparent in such songs as "Talk to Her," which, at least ostensibly, is a plea for men to think more deeply about how to treat women. Arie defines it as "my attempt… at making the point that the feminine and masculine balance of the world is kind of off," and that, "there needs to be a different way of relating to feminine energy in general."
"I never like to sound preachy," she says. "But sometimes I just want to say what I want to say." She says Stevie Wonder once explained why he likes her: "She has a way of telling the perfect truth without being offensive."
Not that she's such a delicate flower in person, but, "in the songs, it just comes out soft -- and I don't know why. But I'm thankful for the ability."
Arie has good reasons for her ability to be blunt -- softly or not. Among them: seven Grammy nominations and hefty sales of her debut album.
"I'm getting a chance," she says, "to have exactly the kind of career I want, and to sing exactly the songs I want to sing and look exactly how I want to look -- especially in the music industry.
"I don't really have anything to complain about. I do complain, but not too much. Only in private."
NPR's Tavis Smiley talks with Arie, January 2002.
A May 2001 profile of Arie by NPR's Elizabeth Blair.
Sarah Bardeen reviews Acoustic Soul.
India.Arie's Web site.