Throwback Tuesday y’all! My fave-est post of the week – where I dig out one kick-ass song from back in the day that deserves some major props for blazing a trail!
My obsession with Neo-Soul goes back to around 1997, when Erykah Badu’s genre-bending début album ‘Baduizm‘ literally knocked me off my feet. Badu can well be credited for pioneering the Neo-Soul craze that followed ‘Baduizm‘ – everyone from established veterans like Mary J Blige and Janet Jackson to newbies like Aaliyah and Mya experimented with the genre in their subsequent albums. By the start of the new century, a new wave of R’n’B vocalists like the incomparable Alicia Keys, Jill Scott and Macy Gray brought in elements of Neo-Soul to mainstream music, and dominated every chart from Pop to R’n’B. And one of the most prolific vocalists to have debuted during the Neo-Soul invasion was 4 time Grammy winning mellow-voiced singer-songwriter India Arie.
2001 saw the release of India Arie’s sublime début album, ‘Acoustic Soul‘. A stunning collection of lyrically deep, introspective, uplifting and thoughtful songs crafted over acoustic guitars, drums, the piano, cello and organs – the album was anything but ordinary. The album boasted of a unique mix of Soul, Funk, Pop, R’n’B and Jazz – delivered effortlessly blended with Arie’s smoldering vocals.
‘Video‘ was India Arie’s début single. It’s hard not to get addicted to the simplicity of the song and the video – an irresistibly catchy ode to self-love, confidence and youthful vulnerability. It’s still refreshing to watch the video today, for some reason I feel incredibly calm every time I see the video – in fact, when I listen to the entire album.
‘Acoustic Soul‘ debuted at # 10 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, and went double platinum within months of its release. It eventually got India Arie an astounding 7 nominations at the 2002 Grammy Awards, but in one of the biggest upsets in Grammy history – she went back home empty-handed. Thankfully though, she went on to win 4 Grammy’s following her subsequent releases, including her 2002 sophomore smash ‘Voyage To India‘.
Give ‘Acoustic Soul‘ a listen for the sheer lush-factor. It’s one of my fave albums of all time – and a worthy début by one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the last decade!