|"I'm not the average girl from your video|
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a QUEEN
"I'm not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined
by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing
I will always be
INDIA.ARIE." -"Video" from the CD Acoustic Soul
I was first introduced to the sound of India.Arie on the "Bamboozled" soundtrack. The music was as mesmerizing and penetrating as the Spike Lee film. All 16 tracks were tight with no mediocre fillers. Surrounded by music legends Stevie Wonder and Prince; soul sisters Erykah Badu and Angie Stone; as well as hiphop maestro Mos Def and others, newcomer India.Arie held her own.
In fact as I said then, "without a doubt India.Arie is the best thing to happen to this musical collection...After I heard her first track `In My Head' my CD player got stuck on replay because the song was truly like a `cool breeze on a summer's day.' In fact each song had a soothing, poetic and soulful essence that left me entranced, calmed. I absolutely craved for more of this musical comfort. Her brand of acoustic soul is so distinctly beautiful that you simply want to wrap yourself in it and let it take you away. Whew!"
So when I got the advance of "Acoustic Soul" I was ready to get caught up in it and I was not disappointed. The first single "Video," now in heavy rotation on radio, is only the beginning. As one reviewer wrote, "This music is very organic and feels divinely inspired."
Area music lovers got their first opportunity to meet India.Arie and hear the whole CD on Sunday, March 11. Motown Records presented "Acoustic Soul Unplugged," an album listening party for India.Arie at Fletcher's Nightclub in Fellspoint, Baltimore. The crowd was hyped and was easily charmed by Arie's easy going, earthy, tell it like it is persona. But it was her richly textured and powerful voice that blew us all away. Admittedly inspired by the positive energy of the crowd, Arie performed well beyond the one song she was initially scheduled to sing. We got a chance to truly experience all the contours of her voice as she belted out one song after another accompanied simply and effectively by her acoustic guitar. And as fabulous as the new CD is, it could not capture the raw and uncontrollable power of her voice.
If you missed this opportunity to see the sister live and want to know more about India.Arie, stay up to date on the latest information because a little birdie told us that plans are underway for a concert in DC very soon. And MAYBE you too will get your own India.Arie goodies right here. We'll also be bringing you our interview with India.Arie in an upcoming issue. You can also check out www.indiaarie.com.
Acoutic Soul will be in stores March 27.
Bill Reaves contributed to the story.