About The Artist
The Set List
-The Crew at Walmart Soundcheck
On Social Consciousness:
“I use political themes and social statements in my songs because those are the things I think about. In the beginning of my songwriting career when I started writing songs as a fine art, those were the things that came out. Now I’m on my fourth album and it’s important to me because I understand more about the world. The world is changing. I want to make a social contribution through what I do.”
On Producer College:
“I do usually wear the hat of producer for my albums, but this time I wore the whole suit. The hat, the jacket, the pants, the telephone stuck to my ear all the time! It was like going to college. I kept saying in my prayers: “I want to learn something new! I want to go to college.” I kept calling it college. And I went to college."
On The Journey:
The songs that I write mostly are affirmations; they’re about what I feel, what I think, the best of what I want to see of humanity and what I want of myself. I’m not telling the news. I’m telling the best of us. I’m working on my own issues and my own stuff as a woman, my looks, stuff that has happened in my past. I don’t want any young girl to think that I’ve got it down. I’m working on it. That’s all we can do. It’s always a journey. I face my fears.”
• She’s a Simpson! India Arie Simpson was born October 3, 1975 in Denver, Colorado.
• She’s from a long line of music and sports. Her mother is a former Motown singer and her father is former NBA sportsman Ralph Simpson.
• She does more than just sing. Besides singing and songwriting, India is a talented guitarist, flautist, rapper and record producer.
• She’s a two-time Grammy winner. India picked up two Grammys in 2003 for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and Best R&B album for her disc ‘Voyage To India.’
• She's a big seller! India.Arie has sold over eight million albums worldwide. Her new album is the follow-up to her number one disc 'Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship.'
India kick starts her Soundcheck set with the intro to her new disc, ‘Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics.’ Summoning rich melodies from her back-up singers, the artist launches into a prayer of gratitude: “I’m grateful that you created me from the same grains. And I’m grateful that you never cease to amaze me... the way you love me.”
“To be hungry in LA is just like starving in Bombay.” So sings India in this powerful new tune about universal poverty. Here, the singer speculates that we all face the same situations – regardless of our geography. Asks the artist: “Look around. You live in another country too. Do you see your brother?”
India.Arie may deliver music with a strong message, but it doesn’t mean the girl can’t rock out. The bluesy strains of ‘Better Way’ clearly demonstrate her musical diversity. As a guitar riff hypnotizes us, we’re treated to a sampling of the artist's simple yet poignant message: “So many people are dying and we’re not even sure what for. There’s got to be a better way."
Fans of Sade will immediately recognize the opening chords to this slow burning classic. ‘Pearls’ appears on India’s new album (with an appearance from Ivory Coast percussionist Dobet Gnahoré), although India’s cover gives the original a memorable twist. Listen to the layered background melodies, India's unique vocal treatment, and that unforgettable line: “It hurts like brand shoes.”
The second single from ‘Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics’ features a guest vocal appearance from reggae man Gramps Morgan, who joins India on stage for an unforgettable duet. Strapping on her guitar, India delivers an unabashed pop anthem with an infectious chorus about some tender, therapeutic lovin’.
It's time for another collaboration and the first single from her new album. Though Musiq Soulchild features on the album version, India breaks out her talented back-up vocalist for leading man stage duty. 'Chocolate High' is a positive reflection on a healthy relationship and sums up India’s present state of mind: “If we make each other happy then we just can’t lose.”
India ends her set with one of the more subdued moments from the new album. ‘Long Goodbye’ is a power ballad, a far-reaching tune about turning the page. Sings India: “I cried in silence, I lived through you. Maybe I can learn to fall for someone who can give me all the things I’m not afraid to lose.”