India.Arie is a sensitive, soulful artist, so it should be of no surprise that when her voice brought her fame, the lifestyle change came as a shock to her. So much so that the singer tried to quit the industry twice because she couldn't handle the stress her passion was now causing her. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, she opened up about the downside of being a popular artist.
"My life changed so fast that it wasn't enjoyable. I went from being a really sensitive, spiritual and emotional artist (you can tell if you listen to my music), to working 20 hour days and being on 5 airplanes a week. Being in front of crowds of people, offstage, you know, and at meet-and-greets. Then there was all the make-up. There were people making sure I didn't wear the same thing twice. All of these things, it was just too much for a person like me. It wasn't my nature. I always thought my nature was the music. I didn't know how to handle it at all. I retired two times. It was like, I want to make music, but can't do this," she said.
"It was harder on me than I ever could have imagined. I went from playing guitar under a tree in Savanna [sic], Georgia, going to my art classes, talking to people, in five years, to the Grammys. And being shut out [in 2002, India was nominated for seven Grammys, and was snubbed], and the whole politics of the thing. Clive Davis and the rest," she continued.
Another pitfall that comes with fame is being open to criticisms and attacks based solely on rumors. In 2013, India.Arie was accused of bleaching her skin when she released her promo photo for her track "Cocoa Butter."
"I wrote an open letter about the skin bleaching thing [fans accused India of bleaching her skin]. It was crazy. I finally got someone to talk about me, and this is what they say. If I had retweeted all the things people were saying to me...I was called every misogynistic word you could use for a female. I was like whoa. I knew that it wasn't me people were attacking, it was something inside of people that was triggered. But I didn't put that thing inside of you," she said. "There were people saying, 'I love you, India Arie,' one day on twitter, and the next day, they call me... everything. There were literally two people I saw that said something reasonable to me on twitter. Two people, out of 200,000 plus followers. I went on Oprah, and that incident is what made my appearance noteworthy, but I had a bigger story to tell."
To read the entire interview and what advice she had to give young artists, click here.
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(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BET)