Strength, courage and wisdom

All right, all right, so is late in getting hip to India.Arie — I’m here now, okay?

And she’s everything everyone said she’d be: optimistic and intelligent, smart and spiritual, sexy and humble.

Whether she’s eschewing show business’ criteria for beauty or reinforcing a holistic perspective on omnipotent wisdom, India.Arie comes across as honest and knowledgeable.

When she sings “I see the God in you,” even recovering Catholics can find comfort and solace in her words.

If a person never pays attention to Arie’s words — virtually impossible when she sings such alluring lines as “Brown skin/I don’t know where yours ends/I don’t know where mine begins” — her music speaks volumes.

No overproducing. No glossy synthesizers. No canned beats. No cookie cutter sentiments.

Yup. That acoustic guitar gives Arie’s music an incredibly organic feel, and those restrained beats certainly give credence to the idea of “less is more”.

But Arie is no show-off. She doesn’t indulge in the vocal histrionics of Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston or any number of bombastic divas featured on VH-1. And it’s that control which contributes heavily to her cool factor.

It’s no surprise that Sade invited Arie to open her first tour in eight years. The two singers share a creative kinship — soulful music that draws its power by looking within.

“Strength, Courage and Wisdom”. It’s a title to one of Arie’s songs. It’s also an apt description of Acoustic Soul.

Here’s an album that speaks across all genres. File under: R&B for People Who Hate R&B. Or better yet, file under: Good Music.

It’s never too late to discover.