Break The Shell

Album: Songversation (2013)
  • Boxed in by the expectations of the music industry, India embarked on a self-imposed hiatus after her 2009 album, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics. "On my last two albums, I felt like I was fighting to grow," she said. "And that was dehumanizing. Everything became and sounded more complex, instead of me just being."

    So India made some hard decisions that would result in her becoming a new person:

    "Child, it's time to break the shell
    Life's gonna hurt but it's meant to be felt
    You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself
    You cannot fly until you break the shell."

    "Putting spiritual and empowerment ideals into music concepts ... that's always been the core message of my music-and it seemed I was talking to others ..." she said. "But the truth is that it was my message to myself because I was yearning to know the peace of a self-defined life."
  • India explained with Neal Conan on NPR's Talk Of The Nation how the actress Cicely Tyson inspired the song. "I went to South Africa for the opening of Oprah's Leadership Academy," she said, "and among a slew of other amazing people, Cicely Tyson was there, and she pulled me to the side, and it was like a fantasy, like I want to talk to you, because I love her. And she imparted wisdom to me, like, very intentionally, like you, come here."

    "It changed the way I see myself," India continued. "It changed the way I see myself as a performer, and it changed the way that I understand just how life goes. Like, things hurt, and it's meant to. It's part of the human condition. You know, you live your life trying to avoid being hurt and avoid feeling pain, and it's not really - you don't want to run into it, but avoiding it is useless. But she made me really see. She really opened my eyes."
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