India.Arie, born India Arie Simpson on October 3, 1975, in Denver, Colorado.
She absorbed musical skill early in life, encouraged by both parents: her mother, Joyce, herself a former singer, and now India Arie’s stylist; and her father, basketball star Ralph Simpson. She had taken up a succession of musical instruments throughout her schooling in Denver, Colorado, but her interest in the guitar while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design led to a personal revelation about songwriting and performing. “When I started tapping into my own sensitivity, I started to understand people better. It was a direct result of writing songs,” she said at the press release of her debut album, Acoustic Soul.
Co-founding the Atlanta-based independent music collective GroovmentEarthseed (Groovement was the collective artists’ name and Earthshare was their independent label name), her one-song turn on a locally released compilation led to a second-stage gig at the Lilith Fair. Their Universal Records/Motown music scout spotted her and made an introduction to Motown CEO Kedar Massenburg. Sidestepping all the devices of flavor-of-the-month rec...