(India Arie Simpson)
Birthplace: Denver, Colo.
India.Arie burst onto the music scene in 2001, with the release of Acoustic Soul, an intelligent, richly textured collection of songs about self-confidence, acceptance, and healing. Her music blends soul, hip-hop, and folk. In 2001 she was nominated for seven Grammy Awards, including song of the year, best new artist, and album of the year.
Her father, Ralph Simpson, played professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets, and her mother is a fashion designer who goes by the name Simpson. India.Arie started playing guitar at age 13. After high school, she entered Georgia's Savannah College of Art and Design, where she studied metals and jewelry and art history. She became immersed in the Atlanta music scene and helped establish Groovement, an artists' collective, which also formed an independent label, EarthShare. Her music, which appeared on a compilation CD released by the label, caught the attention of Lilith Fair scouts, and she secured a spot on the 1998 tour's second stage.
In 1999 she signed with Motown Records and began work on her debut album. A perfectionist, India.Arie spent two years honing Acoustic Soul. Her diligence paid off; within six weeks the album had gone gold. The single “Video” earned heavy radio play.