Born India Arie Simpson in Denver, Colorado, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia at age 13. Arie didn't pick up guitar until after graduating from high school and getting a lot of encouragement from her mother. Before that, she already had experience with the French horn, trumpet, sax, baritone clarinet, and three different types of recorders. She also sang in the school choir.
She gained a lot of publicity from her second stage slot on the 1998 Lilith Fair, which was a festival of female singer/songwriters.
She established an independent music label called Earthshare to release her first few singles. She wound up getting signed to Motown with a guarantee for complete artistic control.
Arie started practicing yoga in 2006 after getting burned out on success. She credits yoga with helping her stay grounded, which improves her musical and physical expression. She even began to dance on stage as she felt more connected to her body.
Her father is the basketball player Ralph Simpson (not Ralph Sampson). Her mother is her stylist.
She was named in tribute to Mahatma Gandhi because her due date was the same as his birthday. Apparently, Arie means "lion."
She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. She was learning jewelry making, when she found the guitar.
She cites a diverse group of artists as influences: Donny Hathaway, Bonnie Raitt, Vince Gill, James Taylor, George Benson, and especially Stevie Wonder.