"I do this for the love of music/Not for the glitter and gold," sings India.Arie on her Grammy award-winning ditty "Little Things." The statement itself is no life-changing revelation, but it's the truth and emotion in Arie's voice that makes her words so powerful. One can't help but believe that everything this Georgia peach sings about comes straight from the heart. Then again, with songs about hope, individuality, and forgiveness, Arie's music is obviously a reflection of her own personality and feelings. Since 2001 the guitar and flute playing singer/songwriter has helped revitalize a fumbling neo-soul genre with her honest, unblinking approach. This comes across best on her albums where Arie's earthy voice and insightful lyrics exude a warmth that's absent in most mainstream tunes. Wanting to go even deeper on her latest release, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships, the chanteuse pulls off risky collaborations with Bonnie Raitt and Gary Lenox of Rascal Flatts both country and western singers. This refreshing change of pace in modern urban music has earned Arie three more Grammy nominations. Indeed, it is the "Little things/And the joy they bring" that mean the most.
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India.Arie will perform during the Jazz in the Gardens Festival on Saturday, March 24, at Dolphin Stadium, 2269 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami. Tickets are $40-$250. Call 888-346-7849, or visit www.jazzinthegardens.com.