India.Arie: "Love Yourself First"

2015 Essence Music Festival - Performances Featuring: India Arie Where: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States When: 03 Jul 2015 Credit:

2015 Essence Music Festival

“I didn’t know if I was going to make music anymore,” says a recently missing-in-action India.Arie. After selling more than 10 million albums worldwide, scoring 21 Grammy nominations, and winning four, India Arie Simpson just stopped the music.

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Four years later, she returned with her long-awaited fifth studio album, SongVersation, and the “Brown Skin” and “I Am Not My Hair” singer says that, for the first time, she completely controls the when, where and how of her career.

Now she’s performing intimate “Songversations” around the country, including the one she did at the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans.

It didn’t come easy.

Describing 2009 as “just the worst year I could imagine,” India, who’s turning 40 in October 2015, says, “I was at rock bottom career-wise and health-wise. I was working so hard and getting very little in return. I didn’t know if I was going to make music anymore. I didn’t know anything. I just knew that I wanted to have a life that felt good.”

By applying some of the lessons of self-love and self-acceptance found in much of her own music, India turned that…