Paramount Theatre, May 20
by Holly Cowart
Singer-songwriter India.Arie’s story is one of consistent growth. Her first studio album, “Acoustic Soul,” put a national spotlight on the R&B artist in 2001, propelling her Grammy-winning platinum second album, “Voyage to India.” Her music has always felt like a personal diary full of ideas on life, love and identity. Now, after a hiatus, she returns with a national tour and brand-new full-length album, “Worthy.” The genre-spanning sound features Arie’s rich, satin voice alongside uplifting harmonies and a somewhat folksy acoustic guitar. But her message remains clear. “If we can learn what it means to really love ourselves,” croons the soulful vocalist in “Prayer for Humanity,” “then we can learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.” Her positivity produces a ripple effect, solidifying Arie as a symbol of self-love, understanding and strength — especially as an African American woman working to create space in an often claustrophobic society. And despite selling millions of records and garnering worldwide admiration, Arie has remained true to her visionary spirit.