India.Arie – What If
India Arie (from Wikipedia)
A Daughter of the Soul
Arie released her debut album Acoustic Soul on March 27, 2001. The album was met with positive reviews and commercial success. “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. The album was also certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry and platinum by Music Canada. The album was promoted with the release of the lead single “Video“. “Video” attained commercial success peaking at forty seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and becoming her highest charting song in the region to date. 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.
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. It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 109,000 copies and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, with the RIAA certifying it Platinum. At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it won Best R&B Album, and the single “Little Things” won Best Urban/Alternative Performance. The song “Get It Together” was featured on many film soundtracks including Brown Sugar (2002) and Shark Tale (2004).
On September 12, 2005, Arie performed “Just 4 2day”, a song written for her appearance on the debut of The Tyra Banks Show. 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. 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.
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. 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, P!nk, Jeff Beck, Konono N°1, Oumou Sangare and others.
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.
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.
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. She performed the single on the Soul Train Awards with host Erykah Badu in November.
In June 2017, she announced the release of her first EP SongVersation: Medicine on June 30. 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.”
The new single – What If
According to Soul Tracks.com, “What If” takes a bigger look at the world, with a focus on empowerment, and the value of working together to change the world. “What If” is the second single from her Feb. 15 album release, Worthy, and it asks the question of what would have happened if past and present greats had ignored their calling:
What if Martin didn’t stand up?
What if Rosa didn’t sit down?
What if Malcolm didn’t man up?
Where would we be now?
And she follows with a call for all of us who are “chosen” to take up that call and work together in love.