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India.Arie

Voyage To India

Motown

One of my best musical moments has to be back in '99 when I saw India.Arie back at the old Cotton Club in Atlanta (of course, that was also the night Chuck D. literally bumped into me). She had just signed with Motown, and I was amazed by the male groupies she had screaming in the crowd, her stage presence, and her immense talent. That night she completely blew away every local act I'd ever seen in my seven years in the city.

Now, the world knows the talent that is India.Arie, and anybody who thinks she's just a flash in the pan needs to listen to Voyage To India. Her sophomore effort suffers not a single slump. In fact, this disc is much more solid than Acoustic Soul. It's as though the year between the two releases has brought about a level of maturity beyond calendar measurement. While there are some corny "positive" moments -- as in "Talk To Her" -- the content and writing is much smoother, meatier, just a lot stronger. Her smooth, soulful sound seems to be rounding out nicely.

India has a voice and a vision that just tip toes along the two paths of mainstream. Voyage To India is definitely radio-friendly, but many of us would be friendlier to radio if it played stuff like this. It challenges the cookie-cutter formats out there with a strong dash of originality and artistry. We should be listening to this album and this artist for years to come.

Motown Records: http://www.motown.com India.Arie: http://www.indiaarie.com