“Who needs a Grammy?” was the first thing that came to mind after listening to Voyage to India for the first time. After all that Alicia versus India Grammy-loss hoopla this past year, it was refreshing to know that, through all the videos, award shows and Hollywood hype, India’s still got it.

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of Arie’s staying power after the barrage of neo-soul-phytes that followed in her footsteps in the last couple of years. So it wasn’t until a friend called me ranting and raving about Voyage to India – dubbing it “one of the best albums this year” – that I decided to give it a listen. Instead of hopping on the sample train, Arie maintained the acoustically driven, soulful sound that made her famous. Voyage is as tight as the dreadlocks on her head.

Arie’s soultastic sophomore release is a natural progression from her debut, Acoustic Soul. Don’t be fooled by the simple lyrics – Voyage is 16 tracks of truth. Arie’s words of wisdom resonate through the gentle harmonies and syncopated rhythms in songs like “Little Things,” “God is Real” and, one of my personal favorites, “Talk to Her.” There are also tracks for the lovebirds, such as “Good Man,” “The One” and “Interested.” And the girl can sing. In “Complicated Melody,” she goes from an Etta James alto to a Mariah Carey soprano. So the answer to my original question, “Who needs a Grammy?” is “No one.” Not when you have skills like India.Arie.

[MLE Wax is a reviewophyte]