India.Arie Hopes Her 'Lost' Album, Sung in Hebrew and English, Can Find Release



India.Arie is hoping the successful reception for "Songversation," her first album in four years, will open the door for the one that got away.

Prior to recording "Songversation" -- which made a Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 and the R&B Albums charts -- Arie recorded another album called "Open Door," on which she collaborated with Israeli artist Idan Raichel. 

"I spent three years on that album," Arie tells Billboard. "I funded most of it with my personal money, but I learned a big lesson about being able to let go. And I knew I had to let ('Open Door') go because we could not agree on the business part. If the business wasn't in order, the album would have been a failure; I'm clear on that. So I was like, 'I'm not doing this. I shelved it in late October of 2012, and on Nov. 1 I started working on 'Songversation.'"

Nevertheless, Arie remains proud of "Open Door" and the different musical direction it took her in. 

"'Open Door' was a world music project, and bilingual," she explains. "It was in Hebrew and English, and it's great. I do think it's really beautiful. But it's very emotional and very dark -- in a good way."

Now Arie is hoping that by first releasing "Songversation," which features a heavy Turkish influence via collaborations with Sezen Aksu, she may actually done a greater service to "Open Door." 

"I feel like on a creative and musical level, my audience will be more ready for it," Arie says. "It's different for me, but I think people will be more interested now, after ('Songversation'). I still don't know if we'll be able to come to business terms, but I hope the mythology of having that great lost album will maybe help open some doors, because I would love for people to hear it."  

India.Arie, 'Brother's Keeper': Exclusive Song Premiere

Meanwhile, Arie is happy people are hearing "Songversation" -- and that she's still making music at all. Even while working "Open Door" the singer-songwriter says "a lot of different aspects of my life were in the 'cocoon' phase" as she dealt with "career stuff, health stuff, spiritual and emotional stuff, family stuff. I just went to a very deep place of healing with all of it. I knew it was time for me to get it together." And for a period of that time, Arie adds, she almost opted out of music entirely. 

"I really was going to go back to college and just have a life that was in order," says Arie, who would have studied philosophy and creative writing. "For me that meant leaving the music industry. I was like, 'Why not?' But my I realized that it didn't mean that, that it really meant being real about my music and my life and being real about how I wanted to approach things as a musician and just as person who's navigating the music business. My music called me back, and I'm glad I listened."