As her new album title suggests, India.Arie's "Songversation" show features both music and conversation with the audience -- an "intimate" experience that suits the Atlanta-born singer, songwriter and daughter of Detroit-born pro basketball player Ralph Simpson well.
But Arie says that not long before its June release, when another album titled "Open Door" was rejected by her record company, that she felt like her conversation with music was coming to an end.
"I lot of different aspects of my life were in the 'cocoon' phase," Arie, 38, explains. "There was career stuff, health stuff, spiritual and emotional stuff, family stuff. I just went to a very deep place of healing with all of it. I really was going to go back to college and just have a life that was in order, and for me that meant leaving the music industry.
"But my music called me back, and I'm glad I listened."
"Songversation" also finds Arie and her Soulbird Music label back in the current Motown Records family, which also released her first three albums. She says it's purely a business decision, but she's certainly not complaining about the association.
"I think the legacy is going to be cool," acknowledges Arie, who's developed a close friendship with Stevie Wonder via their shared label connection. "Being part of that legacy is important because Motown and Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson and all of that, it belongs to everyone but as an African-American I'm proud to say it's my culture. As I travel the world, I realize that's part of my culture, so it's very special to have that association be part of my life and my work."
India.Arie performs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $40-$50. Call 1-866-783-9622 or visit www.soundboarddetroit.com.
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