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India.Arie: Life After Rock Bottom

2019-07-17 | 🔗

In a live appearance at UCLA’s Royce Hall, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter India.Arie reveals the five most important lessons she learned after she hit rock bottom. India.Arie uses what she calls "songversation" to beautifully describe her journey from breakdown to breakthrough. "Songversation is not a concert," she explains. "It's not a lecture. It's not a performance, even. Songversation is a practice that is part meditation, part prayer, part fellowship and part action." At the height of her fame, India.Arie says she snapped under the unrelenting pressure of the music business. At age 35, she made the bold decision to take a hiatus, rethink her life and start over.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations the pod cast. I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now she wrote a lyric that really resonate with. May she wrote I learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen. She knew that twenty four- I don't know about you, but I did not know that a twenty four, so India has been on the path of self discovery. Loving herself, through music she's, created a new word to describe what she loves to do now. She calls it song Versation and she here with a session, she calls sung recitation worthy India free,
Thank you good afternoon how beautiful this money where this, so welcome this conversation. It is my mission to spread love healing peace enjoy through the power of words and music. Thank you.
Sovereign nation is not a concert, it's not a is not a performance. Even this is a song rotation and a song for is a practice that is part meditation, part prayer, part fellowship and our action, and so far versation worthy is my story of breakdown break through break the shell elevate and fly. Breakdown break through rate the shell elevate and fly like many of us in this room. I am a student of life and I come from seven generations that I can geologically tracing probably way more than that of preachers and singers end evangelist. And so I stand on the shoulders of that legacy. Thus this song precision, and so the music industry has been my university music is,
my major, that people have interact with have been my students and my teachers and my course study and this practice of song rotation. I think I will call it my thesis as. When I came into the back check for second. So when I came into the music industry, I would put into a box based on race and gender and they basically said you're a black woman, and so this is what people will accept from you, and I stayed in that box until it began to hurt and the flame of my creativity, which once burned so bright, I was always writing songs. I always felt inspired stuck in this box has begun, turn in on me and I began to burn my skin was burning. My lower back was burning. My stomach was burning. My heart was burning and I began to self destruct lit.
Bobby- and I knew that I was in danger of being extinguished. And so standing here with this song. This is a powerful moment for me to be here, sharing myself with you in this way, and it is my prayer that you will.
Hear yourself in my story and that, in whatever way you are meant to be touched that you are so breakdown breakthrough, break the shell elevating fly my break down began in my childhood, where I grew up in a very tumultuous home and my childhood. It was full of love. My parents love me. We had a dynamic family. My father was professional, aptly my mother's a fashion designer, but my childhood was also traumatic. I was sexually abused by several people. By the time I was twelve and my parents had of abuse of relationship, so I saw horrible violence and by the time I
eighteen and I went away to college. I felt innately flawed in unlovable really and I walked through life with this ever present undercurrent of melancholy, my mother's a singer, and I grew to be one to end as I started, theme song to my songs became that outlet for my melancholy and my gift made me feel worthy of being loved by people and my talent camouflage all of my insecurities, and so my young mind deduced. If I write enough song, I can write enough songs to heal all the pain and, if I have more success I can have. I can be more worthy and have more love, because I'm successful right. No, it doesn't work like that wrong. So I went into the music industry at twenty three years old, seeking to be healed, which is laughable now, because the music industry is treacherous with faint, you become literally a human commodity.
And you're you're spaces invaded with opinions and projections from every direction. You are under constant scrutiny: the racism, the sexism, Jimmy all that stuff. We notice in the music industry, but then you add, on top of that, the exhaustion of constant travel in the anxiety of like some new drama every day, and you get my draft but worst of all, Is the isolation of fame, because no one, no matter how much they love you? No one really understands what it's like less. They ve been there and one of the most difficult parts of this experience of fame has been that my mother, who was always my backbone everything she made the skirt last night, I'm others my backbone. She couldn't even understand that experience of fame and what it was feeling like, and so when I crossed into that threshold of fame, I had
and relationships with everyone in my family and I lost all my friends all of them and I went into living this isolated life and depression that lasted for many years. I didn't even know was there, I just didn't feel right, and so it was the great wound of my life to discover that success doesn't equally equal. Happily ever after Giving all my childhood dreams singing with my heroes being number one in the billboard chart when Grammy's all that stuff was cool of cool, but it didn't hear me of that ever present melancholy and in fact it magnified it breakthrough- are released. My first album acoustics, all two thousand one. Thank you thank you was mean a lot to me. He's been everything but my legs were our lives
Second, album voyage to India in two thousand and two. Thank you. Thank you and I toured and travelled and had many successes, but at the same time, profound defeat. So after voice to India, I took a break for seven. Here's my I came back in two thousand six with my third album testimony volume, one life and relationship you and that album debuted number one on the billboard chart was the first time I had ever happen for me. But then, while on tour with that outcome, I had a spiritual breakdown that ended up being my unexpected spiritual breakthrough. So this breakdown started in the dressing room before concert in my business team was trying to Convinced me to do something that would have been dead for my career, but I just didn't have the time to fit in between the tour and everything else I was going on. I didn't have the time, so they were called
In talking about it and pressuring me up to the minute I took stage and I went out on stage and I gave everything because that's what we do we get out, we give everything and then I got back to my dressing room after the show and it all started up again the calls in the pressuring and the talking at me and I snapped it was as if my body and my soul had a separate from my personality so that my soul cuts. No- and I remember screaming, as breaking things. I ran down the stairwell many many flights of stairs zoning. Remember how may now- and I got to the bottom of the steps- and I kick this door open and they were fans out there waiting to greet me and I snapped too, and I walked back up the steps, and I was just stunned that in a way which has happened- and I collapsed
floor crying in my whole bands around me and everybody was just really confused, and so I went home for two days and I rested, and then I went back out on the road to complete the tour and when I got back out there, no one asked me what was wrong. No one said: maybe you need to take a break or need to go, take care of yourself. They just reminded me of my schedule and my obligations. And I was miserable, I was raw. I was wrong, isn't when the tour ended. I withdrew from everything completely I self medicated with isolation, which became a drug of choice, and I came up the tour and I stayed in the house for thirty days or more literally thirty days, no front porch nor backwards, literally in the house for a month and when I finally did travel again, it was to go to
opening up Oprah school in South Africa. So this is December, two thousand seven and we ring in the new year there in South Africa. While I was there. I had so many really important conversation. You can imagine the kind of people who were there, but the most impact conversation I had was with the force of nature, that is Sicily Thyssen, so were there in South Africa is January. Second, two thousand eight, and I can't tell you everything she said I have time, but at the end of the conversation she hit me on my arm and said you need to break that shell and let life touch you break the shell for me means beginning to take action, so this is now two thousand eight and I I record an album all the year two thousand a day which is released early, two thousand nine in us in early two thousand nine emotional. From that applause thinking
in early two thousand nine. I release my fourth outcome is called testimony volume to love and politics. Thank you. Thank you. So I went into that year touring with testimony volume to with my eyes wide open, because Sicily ties and told me to it. Really. It was like ok, yes, man, I'll do it if I went into the year with my eyes wide open and I watched as everything fell apart. While I was on tour, I dislocated my finger on stage. I threw up in the airport in Boston, I lost my voice and had to get stairway injections to get my voice back. I had to take a round of antibiotics, and this was the beginning of.
Two thousand and nine, and so by the end of two thousand and nine everything I was afraid of happening happened. I was humiliated on stage. I was sick, I was stolen from and I get rock bottom and I saw I saw what needed to change and it was I had tried everything in my early twenties. I tried drugs didn't work. I tried to give my power away thinking. Somebody else could fix my life and make things better didn't work. I tried to pretend long enough just to get paid didn't work. I tried to quit didn't work and the only thing that I realize I haven't tried was the truth. What is the truth, and I knew that no one was gonna? No one was going to tell me to take a break and take care of myself, and so I knew I had to do it for myself,
my favorite quotas from the twentieth century essay as east men and she says, and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom I looked my fear right in the eye and I tore my whole career down my whole life down down to our and then I realized I needed to break the foundation up there that are down to the dirt I realise that it is just move somewhere else and start over somewhere else and at this time, I'm thirty five years old. These four albums I've been in the music industry for ten years and I'm thinking it's time to take a chance on the truth. This would be the beginning of a four year. Hiatus elevate, my life fell apart and the first thing I did was go into
each year, and so can we David the row? Potent philosopher said it perfectly. He says Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads ass. I went into nature and I listened. And the first thing: first, I began by writing my whole life story out to myself. It took me about two weeks and the most what lessons are learned during that process are number one, I'm responsible for me as a responsible for how I feel in number two. I'm responsible for me as an responsible for the energy I bring to the world- and I was I Didn'T- want to keep leaking my Ain't onto other people in number three. I realise that I had the power all along and I have to do is use it and
It's not. Why would that happen, and for I learned that I had to be the highest authority in my life and in my business and five, I learned that I had to define success for my. Because everyone has their own agenda, there's nothing wrong with. That is how we do business, but I do need to have my agenda so that I knew that I was an alignment with my truth and so the best The best definition of success- I've ever heard is from doktor my Angelou. She said successes liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it in my definition of success is too low the joyful heart to make money, doing what I love and to make a contribution to the elevation of humanity and I've been a speaker all my life in the quest to heal that haunting melancholy and through my seeking gradually I did achieve a lot of clarity and spiritual maturity, and I lived comfortably in this bubble that was made of all the knowledge and the wisdom. I had a crude but knowing
One thing and being is another thing: I call this embodiment. Let me ex slowly explained this to you some standing on the mountain top in Hawaii, and it was at still don't really know why, for a lot of reasons. It was like this bubble that I lived in this bubble of knowledge and wisdom floated above my head and burst. When, in it rained down on me in soap through my skin and seemed like into my very be, and I felt instantly like- I was no the word instantly. I was Baines. No, no, I'm sure had a better. I have something here, but that's not the were instantly. I had come into myself and I have a better word. I came into my
and it was like. Oh oh, we really do stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. The earth really is one interconnected, be oh, and so it s virtual breakdown in the dressing room and two thousand six was a fragmenting of my mind, body and soul. This seven years later, spiritual awakening on the mountain top was a reunion. An embodiment is the best word I found to describe this. It was the actual shift on a cellular level by a different person, like I dropped into me in the most important lesson of that awakening the core truth that I was literally the court truth that I was literally imbued with on the mountain top. That day is that there is nothing wrong with me.
There's, nothing wrong with me and I'm worthy and I'm significant, and I matter because I exist not his mother by accomplishments, but because I exist and I'm dean no less worthy by anything. I've done are anything, that's been done to me and then I came down from the mountain top. Something interesting happened, because this is how life goes right. I was tested and I call it skin gateway. Thirteen, so there's a cultural pain in the black community around self worth. There's that word again based on it, jade, lighter or darker over skin is called color. Ism can go into other here, but in short, what I was accused of was not love
Myself and I the was- I had never love myself more and this skin gate. Twenty thirteen was my chance to be me new me and what I know now is that the things that we go through that hurt us. In the lessons. We are just our lessons. Those are our lessons. There's nothing wrong with its funding because excuse me, I just got emotional. What I now knows that the things that we go through that hurt us is just light happening, is just light happening and there's nothing wrong with that. You're just human and what I now knows that there's always another shell to break in another flight to take because nothing fix it.
Everything not even a moment of enlightenment on a mountaintop, nothing fixes everything and so the lifecycle. Now it's not struggle free, but I'm taking divine right action easier and faster, because I know the pain of living. Yes, Yes- and I know the power of living- my true
And what I know now is the only way to be an alignment with your destiny is to follow your truth. Every choice you ve made has brought you here where you will be in the future, is not by accident. It is by choice, one choice. At a time I began life really. I began his journey wounded and broken, but today I have grown into a person who is self defined. I'm courageous one. I'm scared, I'm scared. Now I'm courageous empower, I'm in alignment with my destiny. And looking at the truth was the key that opened everything being willing to just look at the truth and going inside for the clarity making decision, guided by my soul, not by my fear, not by my personnel
You got my soul and how do we be in touch with our soul by going inside by going within. And I ve been able to sustain my up until today on this path of this awakening by this. My daily practice of song rotation, which is part prayer, part meditation par fellowship per action in the way. The same way sombre session begins with a prayer ends with the prayer. I always tell people every song you right, take your whole life to write it, especially, if is simple,. In what I know now what I- but I know for sure you wanted me
What I know for sure is that we are all we are all worthy insignificant and we matter because we exist period were worthy of our dreams worthy respect were worthy of the vision for our lives were worthy of our voices Thank you. I'm Oprah! You ve been listening to supersede conversations podcast. You can follow super soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple pod, CAS unsubscribe rate and review. This pledge gas join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-01-09.