If you weren't standing outside of Radio City Music Hall last night searching for last minute tickets to Jay-Z's "Reasonable Doubt" concert, then chances are you were wondering, "when is India.Arie's new cd Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships being released?" Well wonder no more, tomorrow (June 27th) you'll be able to legally purchase arguably one of the most honest and introspective albums Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough.
From the outside looking in, it seems all India has done in these almost four years since her last album is change her hairstyle as the first single "I Am Not My Hair" featuring Akon suggests and break up with her boo. In my conversation with India she explained the genesis of this new album and how she spent her time away from the spotlight.
That first year I was formulating everything spiritually getting it together in my mind. In the next two years that followed I was learning the emotional lessons that were to become songs. I was in a relationship that I wrote a lot of songs about. I didnâ€™t write about the relationship but more about the healing process. After that relationship was over, that was the best thing that happened to me in that time period.
"I Am Not My Hair" began as a duet with Pink, but due to redirection she then re-recorded it with a feature from Shawnnafrom Disturbing the Peace which was later ditched for the version featuring Akon. Listen to the original versions here.
The second single is titled "There's Hope," one of the many songs where India reveals just why we love her. She stays true to herself and maintains integrity -- both personally and muscially.
"There's Hope" deals with the healing process of her relationship. She manages to take her disappointment and her broken heart and mold it into a sort of beautiful pain. Similarly on a record titled "Good Morning," where she greets all of the new found changes in her life after a break up and admits how important something as simple as a good morning kiss was.
I like this album because although India wears her "peace & blessings" like a second skin, her delivery is strong and clever and poetic and authentic. She makes heartache sound so beautiful, kinda like Toni Braxton did on Secrets.
SOHH... after a few listens I realized maybe India.Arie isn't her hair, maybe she has out grown the backpacker thing. Yeah, she is still hella granola but that's ok. By now I'm convinced that it's not a gimmick. Her respect for music and her commitment to doing it her way is something I can appreciate.