Our Top 10 India Arie Songs list takes a look at a neo soul r&b singer. She is known for her unique style of singing. She doesn’t sing about the typical subjects in r&b music. She sings songs with deep and powerful messages. She has sold over 10 million records worldwide. She’s won numerous Grammy Awards. She has 23 Grammy nominations throughout her career. Some of her songs include “Video,” “Brown Skin,” “I Am Not My Hair,” “Little Things,” “Chocolate High,” “That Magic,” “Steady Love,” “Words,” “Strength, Courage & Wisdom,” “Wonderful,” “Crazy,” “Purify Me” as well as other songs.
India Arie Simpson was born on October 3, 1975. Music was in her blood because her mother was a former singer. Her mother worked with Stevie Wonder and Al Green. Stevie Wonder is one of India Arie’s musical inspirations so it made sense that she would eventually cross paths with him. India Arie found her love of music while she was in school. She began writing songs while she was in school. Kedar Massenburg discovered her in 1999 and he signed her to Motown Records. She had big shoes to fill because a lot of great acts came from that label.
Acoustic Soul came out in 2001. The album peaked at number three on the r&b charts and number 10 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Video,” “Brown Skin,” “Strength, Courage & Wisdom,” “Ready for Love” and “Wonderful.” The album sold over two million copies. It was a great feat considering her album wasn’t promoted on mainstream radio. She had to rely on her r&b and neo soul fanbase to buy her album.
Fresh off the success of her debut album, she released Voyage to India in 2002. It peaked at number one on the r&b charts and number six on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Little Things,” “Can I Walk with You,” “The Truth” and “Get It Together.” The album sold over one million copies.
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship came out in 2006. The album peaked at number one on the r&b and Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “I Am Not My Hair,” “There’s Hope” and “The Heart of the Matter.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. It didn’t sell as many copies as her previous albums, but it wasn’t a flop.
Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics was released in 2009. It peaked at number two on the r&b charts and number three on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Therapy,” “Chocolate High,” “Yellow,” “Ghetto,” “Long Goodbye” and “He Heals Me.” The album sold over 331,000 copies.
Songversation was released in 2013. The album peaked at number four on the r&b charts and number seven on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “I Am Light 6th Avenue,” “Cocoa Butter,” “Just Do You,” “Nothing That I Love More,” “This Love” and “Flowers.” The album sold over 115,000 copies.
Worthy was released in 2019. It features the singles “That Magic,” “Steady Love,” “Crazy,” “What If” and “Follow the Sun.”
India Arie isn’t your typical singer. She doesn’t fit the look of other singers and that’s a good thing. She is a unique artist who follows her own rules. She may not have mainstream success like her contemporaries, but she has a loyal audience. What sets her apart from other r&b singers is that she sings songs about inner peace, racism, and self-worth as well as other songs with deep and powerful messages. She wants to encourage other women who fit her description to be proud of themselves. She doesn’t want to be your average “girl from your videos.” She wants to be herself. She has to compete with artists like Beyonce, Ashanti, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans as well as others for attention on r&b radio. Our Top 10 India Arie Songs list will feature her best songs.
# 10 – Chocolate High ft. Musiq
The first song on our Top 10 India Arie Songs list is “Chocolate High” from the Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics album. The song has a neo soul sound. The celebratory song is a tribute to African American love. They are comparing the love to chocolate. It’s a metaphoric song celebrating love between African American people. There aren’t too many songs celebrating people with dark skin. It has a positive message about appreciating your skin tone. India Arie is proud of her dark skin, as she should be. India Arie and Musiq were rumored to have been a couple at one point so it made sense that they collaborated on this jam.
They sing the same type of music so it was natural they came together for this duet. The song has an infectious beat. The music is simple and features the piano and the drums. They made a wise choice to keep the music simple. If they overdid it, it would be hard to appreciate the lyrics. There is enough tempo to bop your head. You wouldn’t necessarily jump on the dance floor with this song, but you can move your head to it. India Arie and Musiq’s vocals are outstanding. They have vocal chemistry with each other. Their voices blend nicely with the music. They harmonize well with each other in the chorus. It’s not a surprise that it was a hit song for the duo.
# 9 – Little Things
The next song on out Top 10 India Arie Songs list is “Little Things” from the Voyage to India album. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The cathartic song is about appreciating what you have in life. She wants you to take the time to value what you have in your life. People tend to overlook the “little things” that they have because they are focused on getting what they want and forgetting about what they have.
The lyrics will inspire you to appreciate the simple things in life. This is a song that’s needed in the world today. We all need to stop worrying about the big things and be grateful for the simple things we have. India Arie had big shoes to fill to create another successful album after her debut Acoustic Soul. This song doesn’t have the same depth as “Video”, but it still has a deep message. The theme is similar to Boyz II Men’s song “Little Things.” They sang the same type of song with a different beat to it. The flow of the lyrics is similar to Rufus’ song “Hollywood.”
She uses an interpolation from the classic jam. The melody of the music is similar to Mary J. Blige’s “All That I Can Say.” She borrowed from of a couple of jams that helped create this gem. The instrumentation has a funky groove to it. The drums have a stop and start beat which was creative. It has a fantastic bass line. The piano chords are sparkling. For some reason, the song has a baby crying in the background. It was a sound effect that wasn’t needed in the song. The music spoke for itself and didn’t need a sound effect. The song does end abruptly which might catch listeners off guard especially if you are into the song.
# 8 – Strength, Courage & Wisdom
The empowering song is from the Acoustic Soul album. The song has a neo soul sound. The therapeutic song is about positive self-image. The song has a similar theme to “Video.” It’s a song about inner strength. India Arie is at home with this type of jam. She likes to write songs about positive self-image. She wants you to believe in yourself. This song was on her debut album so this jam helped introduce the world to the type of lyricist she can be. People need to hear this type of song so they can feel good about themselves. She wrote the lyrics in a way that didn’t appear arrogant or smug. She sounds confident. The lyrics will help anyone who is feeling depressed.
The lyrics will give you confidence and hope. The music has a funky groove that will have you bopping your head. The music is laid back and allows you to chill out. The bass line and the drums are fire. The mid-tempo jam will keep you hooked until the end. India Arie’s rich vocals are just what music needs. Her voice is intoxicating and soothing. The background singers do an excellent job supporting her. She has a deep voice, but comes up an octave when she sings in vibrato. She also belts a little. It’s easy to forget this song is on her debut album. It sounds like she’s been in the business for a long time.
# 7 – Steady Love
The celebratory song is from the Worthy album. The song has an r&b sound. The joyous song is about falling in love. She dedicates this song to the men who give “steady love” to their women. She shows her appreciation for men who take care of the women they love. She describes the things he does for her. She talks about him being a good father, a good cook and even being a beast in the sheets. Every woman wants a man like the one she describes in the song. India Arie is one of the few female songwriters that don’t jump on the male-bashing bandwagon.
She wanted to celebrate the good men of the world. Men need a song that shows that women appreciate what they do for them. Every man isn’t worthy of a song like this, but there are some out there who are. This song helps women realize they have good men in their lives. Men can feel like they are being appreciated. The melody of the music is similar to Aretha Franklin and En Vogue’s “Giving Him Something He Can Feel.” If you listen closely, you may notice the similarities between the two songs. The song features the guitar and the drums. It sounds like a stripped down track.
She sings the song with soul. Her breathy vocals add to the depth of her voice. She utilizes her deep tone throughout the song. She also comes up an octave at points in the song. She does miss an opportunity to hit a big note after the bridge, but that doesn’t keep the song from being good.
# 6 – I Am Not My Hair
The social song is from the Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship album. This song has is a neo soul sound. The inspirational song is about not being judged by your hair. Here is some trivia about the song. India Arie was song to sing this song with Pink. Pink wanted to shed her locks so this song was the perfect way to express her freedom. They didn’t end up working together so it became a solo song.
The track was also in honor of cancer patients. The lyrics are deep and meaningful. It’s not just about hair. It’s a symbolism about judgment. It’s an anthem for natural hair. People in the urban community have issues with natural hair vs. “good or treated” hair. She wants you to be yourself. She thinks it’s a person’s prerogative to have their hair the way they want it. If they want their hair long or short, it’s simply up to them. She also says that it’s your decision if you want your hair to be straight or kinky. India Arie wants to get the message out there that your hair doesn’t define who you are as a person. She is a talented composer.
She doesn’t just hook you with her deep lyrics. She can get to your soul with the music as well. The melody is tight. The melody sounds similar to Glenn Lewis’ song “Don’t You Forget It.” The beat is fierce. It features the piano and he tdrums drive the beat to create a smooth sound. It has a stop and start beat that makes the song stand out. India Arie sings in time with the beat changes. She belts out the chorus, as she wants the world to know that she won’t be judged by her hair. She sings the song with a lot of passion. You can tell this song means a lot to her.
# 5 – Words Anthony David ft. India Arie
The next song on our Top 10 India Arie Songs list is “Words” from the Acey Duecy album. The song has an r&b beat. The expressive song is about the love a couple feels for each other. They don’t want to just say the “words” to each other. They want to show how they feel towards each other. It’s easy to say you love a person, but it’s another to show how you feel. Singers always write love songs, but somehow this one stands out. They want to prove how they feel.
The song doesn’t sound sappy or corny. It will touch your heart. They are speaking the truth. They want everyone to know they aren’t ashamed of expressing how they feel about each other. There aren’t enough words to express how great this song is. Everything about the song works. The music is flawless. It has beat that will grab attention from beginning to end. There’s no way to sit still listening to it. Anthony David and India Arie sing in time with the beat.
His raspy vocals fit the music perfectly. Her vocals shine on the track as well. Their voices blend well together. They are friends so it helps sell the song. They both shine on this track. This underrated song deserved to have more airplay than it received. It should have been a bigger hit. It’s worth a listen. The song is an earworm that will stay in your head all day.
# 4 – Video
The empowering song is from the Acoustic Soul album. The song has an r&b and soul beat. The anthemic song is about positive self-image. She wants the world to know she’s not an average girl. She doesn’t fit the stereotype of “video” girls. She expresses how she doesn’t have to act the way other people do. The song is similar to our other entry “Strength, Courage & Wisdom.”
India Arie lets the world know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This song is perfect for women who don’t look like what’s considered “beautiful.” You don’t have to be a size zero with hair flowing down your back to be considered beautiful. You can also be dark skinned and considered beautiful. The song has a positive message about what is considered beautiful. It’s an inspiration for women everywhere regardless of your skin tone. India Arie tends to write about self-worth and self-confidence. This is the first track from her debut album.
This is the song that introduced the world to India Arie. She is a master at songwriting. She doesn’t go along with what the world considers beautiful. The music has an acoustic style. It features the guitar and drums. The song may have an empowering message, but you can move around to it. The music is exactly what you would expect from this genius. India Arie sings the song with a lot of passion. It’s obvious the song means a lot to her. This is her debut single, but sounds like she was singing for years.
# 3 – Wonderful
The sincere song Wonderful is from the Acoustic Soul album. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The dedicatory song is a tribute to the legendary singer Stevie Wonder. He is one of her inspirations so she wanted to sing a song in his honor. She expresses how much he means to her and how he paved the way for her. She mentions his songs throughout this track.
She usually shouts him out in her songs so it was only natural for her to pay tribute to him. She found a way to use the titles of his songs in her song. Her mother sang background for Stevie Wonder so it made sense to for her to write about him. You can tell the song means a lot to her. You can practically hear her smiling as she sings the lyrics. We’re sure Stevie Wonder was moved by this track. The music is upbeat and bouncy. The music will hook you as soon as the first bars of the piano begin.
The music is simple and features the piano and the thunderous drumbeat. She sounds like Whitney Houston when she goes up in a higher octave. She harmonizes well with her background vocalists. They sing two verses at the same time at the end that’s not to be missed. It was a creative way to do the ad libs for the song. It was great to hear everything blending together at the same time. It was a show stopping performance. You will definitely want to put this song on repeat so it won’t have to end.
# 2 – Brown Skin
The sultry song is from the Acoustic Soul album. The song has an r&b sound. The sexy song is about a celebration of black love. She loves her man’s “brown skin.” She’s paying homage to dark skinned African Americans. She wants to embrace dark skinned people in this song. India Arie is an innovator when it concerns writing. She isn’t afraid to appreciate “chocolate skin.” People don’t usually embrace dark skin. They don’t talk about it much in their songs. India Arie wasn’t afraid to tackle the subject. She wants the world to know how much she adores “brown skin.” It’s a great message to send to fans who have dark skin.
The music is soulful and will get to you. It will make you feel a myriad of emotions. She knows how to compose music that will touch your heart. The music is melodious and sensual. It’s perfect to use for the bedroom. The thunderous drumbeat drives the song. It makes the song sound sensual. India Arie’s vocals shined on this song. She sings in her deeper register. Her rich vocals are the truth. She goes up an octave when she sings the chorus. She shows excellent control because she brings her voice back down after the chorus is done. She uses a double for the bridge. We dare you not to be moved by this track.
# 1 – Magic
The number one song on our Top 10 India Arie Songs list is “Magic” from the Worthy album. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The majestic song is about the way her man slays her. She has a magical connection with her man. She talks about how he makes her feel when he touches her. She sings an ode to her man and how he’s everything to her. The lyrics are romantic and tender.
India Arie wants to celebrate love and not just talk about how bad men are. She believes in cherishing the love she has for her man. This song is relatable if you are in a relationship with the type of man she’s talking about in the song. The song is relatable to anyone who is spiritually and physically connected to the person they love. The music has a Caribbean beat to it. It’s perfect for the bedroom and for lovemaking. The music will hook you instantly. The music features the guitar, xylophone and drums. There aren’t enough words to express how beautiful her tone is on this track. She’s at the top of her game when she sings the passionate lyrics.
She sings the lead and background vocals flawlessly. She sings in time with the beat. Her vocals go up and down throughout the song. Her voice blends with the music. She holds little notes towards the end of the song. You definitely won’t want the song to end. This underrated song deserved to be a bigger hit. The song is flawless and deserved the number one spot on our list.
Feature Photo: Chris Hakkens, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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