India Arie & Heather Headley Are Moving On

Two of my favorite, and most underrated women in the women in the music business today, India Arie and Heather Headley, have both parted ways with their respective record labels. India has left Universal Motown Records for parent company Universal Records. The singer reportedly no longer wanted to work with Sylvia Rhone, the head of Motown, because of creative differences the two had over India’s last album, “Testimony”, which debuted at #1 on the charts. India felt Testimony didn’t do as well as it could because of poor promotion on the part of the label. Sylvia Rhone has a reputation for being “difficult” and shelving and/or delaying albums. During her Elektra Records tenure she shelved/delayed albums from Nicole Wray, Gina Thompson, and Lil’ Mo. Most recently Mya’s “Liberation” album was shelved which was due to be released through Universal Motown Records.

Singer Heather Headley, who is a modern day Stephanie Mills, has also had it with her record label, RCA Records, and has left their roster after her last album also failed to perform as well as she thought it could have. Heather, an acclaimed Broadway actress who was up for the role of Deena in Dreamgirls until she was deemed not “marketable” enough, is said to be trying her hand at gospel next and will release her next album under EMI Gospel. Word has it Smokie Norful, Kierra Sheard, and The Clark Sisters will all make appearances on the new CD.


  1. I’m glad India Arie is finally parting ways with her label coz she’s been saying “she isn’t happy” for a while now…I felt her material wasn’t as good as usual on Testimony so I didn’t buy it. Love all her other stuff though.

    Ummm, Heather is going Gospel, that should be interesting . Love and own 2 of her albums. My ‘sta calls her the “angry woman” coz I had “Losing You” on replay after a break-up.

    Great changes for both of them…I can’t wait until they have new songs out.

  2. These two women are great artists, and I look forward to their future projects. I’m a big India Irie fan, and please believe I’m tapping my fingers waiting for her next album. I need music that has substance in my life.

  3. I wish them both well in their future endeavors. I love their music and can not wait until they release the new albums.

  4. omg! i miss India Arie.

    I hope everything works out for her. I think she is very talented and beautiful. Didnt even know she released a recent album.

    Labels need to think about the hard core fans and those abroad too.

    Music hasn’t really changed i just think certain genres have more exposure than others.

  5. It’s ashame that more folks don’t support these women. I love India and Heather. I have bought CD’s and I have been to 2 of India’s concerts and she is marvelous! Record labels are were a lot of good artist go to die!

    Good luck ladies! And I bet Heather would have rocked that Dreamgirls movie to sleep!

  6. These women truly are underrated and underestimated. Heather Headley sold a lot of records and I like her singles. I’ve never bought one of Heathers albums. I know India’s are good

  7. I love both of these ladies and I wish them well.

    @KSH, Heather would’ve rocked Dreamgirls indeed!

  8. The state of the music industry is just not fair to certain artist. It is not even about music anymore. It is all about looks and who is marketable. Which explains why so many artist are starting their own independent labels. The only artist that seem to get major, major promotion is Usher, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Britney Spears.

    I didn’t know that Heather Headley auditioned for the role of Deena but I do know that she would have done the role of Deena some justice.

  9. Love Heather.
    From the entertainment industry, no one person can shelve an album. It is very unfair to say Sylvia Rhone shelved an album because that is not how the decision is made after Thousands has already been spent. It takes a committe after lots of various market research, analysis , test radio station plays and follow up. At least 20 people have a hand in ”shelving” an album and no one persion holds the veto.

    Heather would have KILLED Deena Jones :). I think Anika Noni deserved more sun for her role as well.

  10. heather can sing cirles around those bubble gum half assed dressed more booty than brains wanna be divas that think that can sing and are only being marketed because of their long down the back weaves and tons of makup starlets that think they are all that they need to sit down and learn from the real soul sisters stars.

  11. Honestly both ladies can sing and got talent but there boring to your average American. I’m not trying to start any tiff with anyone but real is real they need to step up there game. Not be half naked but hey look at A.Keyes. She’s blowing up with out taking a thing off. They are just boring at times, I think that’s why didn’t blow like they should have. My opinion.

  12. I love both these talented ladies. They should write some songs for Miss Jackson too.

  13. This goes right back to the very first article on this blog today. These two great artisist and they just can’t get support. Because they won’t slide down a pole at a concert or put on a dominitrix outfit. I think it is so sad that we as black women don’t support artisit like this. It is time to take our music back. We have let this crazy hip-hop artisist and the white corporations behind them steal the soul from our music.

  14. Well imagine this!

    What if it was Amy Winehouse that was singing these songs? I think she would have more critically acclaimed albums. The truth is over here in the UK Music tastes are mixed u get r’n’b mixed with pop, rock mixed with pop and anything mixed with pop and dance but what is becoming very obvious is that its white girls that are being used to promote even the so called “soul” music.

    It took Estelle 10 years to become really recognised! We knew about her music since 1997 and but no big label ever picked up on her and she was just in her late teens then, she had to come all the way to the states to really make it BIG on the scenes and now the UK market respects her. Imagine if they took her seriously then?

    Amy Winehouse didnt take that long to be discovered, she was just what they needed, black sound but in a white face. Hell she even said so herself that she is a “BLACK MAN trapped in a white girl’s body”. They now have a new pool of white girls singing with soul such as Adele and Duffy and are constantly looking for more. Most of us just laugh because we know their voices are not that great, they are just white girls with deep voices and its covered up by being called soul. The black girls are seriously being over looked but i think they are finding ways to be discovered now by going to the states or some are just singing pop which could be considered a reversal of roles.

    I really do feel like some artists are being overlooked because of their looks. I have not heard of Heather Headley but i do know about India Arie’s first album BECAUSE it was promoted here and it was a huge success over here.

    Music really should be about taste and variety is what i guess is lacking these days.

  15. “heather can sing cirles around those bubble gum half assed dressed more booty than brains wanna be divas that think that can sing and are only being marketed because of their long down the back weaves and tons of makup starlets that think they are all that they need to sit down and learn from the real soul sisters stars.”

    I love both artists and I think they both represent what REAL music is about. just a shame. I totally agree with you Jen!

  16. Heather does indeed have an awesome voice. But when I listened to her last album, it was just okay. The song “In My Mind” had airplay, plenty of it in my area, but it wasn’t as good as her first album. I love India’s first album, but after a while I felt t a little bit of that arrogant feel from her. The “I’m sooo Natural and Real and better than you fakes” kind of thing. Regardless, both of them are talented and need to be acknowledged.

  17. Two of my favorite artists. I have been a fan since their first CDs. India.Arie’s song “Video” was my anthem. I wish I got to see Heather Hedley in Aida. Hopefully this means that we get to hear and see them more often.

  18. When I listen to ” I Am Not My hair” , “Brown skin” or “In My Mind” I don’t think boring. I think, wow what incredible writing skills and vocal arragments. What is sad is that the music industry is filled with some much crappy songs and singers that when you actually hear good music people don’t get it or understand it. It kinda like when a person that drinks soft drinks all day, but will say the hate the way water taste. You just have to give them the look.

  19. Heather not “marketable” enough? WTH is that supposed to mean?? This girl is gorgeous, her body is flawless, what else do they need? I’m tired of what they consider “marketable”………..if mofos can market Lil Wayne how in the h*ll can’t they market Heather?? This industry is so unfair, the double standards kill me. And you have these women struggling like crazy while Cassie get heavy promotion. SMH!!!!

  20. Well I stand behind both of these sistas for parting ways with their former record labels. If they`re not going to promote you then what`s the use? These two sistas have a lot to offer and they definitely should be heard.

    “Liberian Girl” by MJ

    Liberian girl
    You came and you changed my world
    A love so brand new
    Liberian girl
    You came and you changed me girl
    A feeling so true

    Liberian girl
    You know that you came
    And you changed my world
    Just like in the movies
    With two lovers in a scene
    And she says
    “Do you love me”
    And he says so endlessly
    “I love you, Liberian girl”

  21. I would love for India Arie to have an album wither her voice and a guitar. I am not a fan of the heavy hiphop/drum beats. I do have and love her version of Heart of the Matter.

    I have Heather’s second alum I think. I wish her well with gospel effort. I look forward to hearing it.

  22. I love Heather’s music. Both her albums were great in my opionion, I will be checking for her gospel album. Never been a fan of India. Thanks for the Heather update though!

  23. @Chante
    Lil Wayne is a dumb n**ger and thats what they like to market to us. America loves the Mafia and all other thugs.

    When I listen to India, I hear songs of gratitude, grace, humility, and a strong sense of purpose. I never hear judgement or conceit in her songs or when she is interviewed. To each his own.

    I own all of India’s CDs. Her fans do support her. Her last CD did ok but a little push from Motown could have added another 500,000 in sells. It seems they were afraid of “…Hair” and I don’t think they did a 3rd video. Since India has such a strong fan base and she keeps her myspace page more up to date than in the past, she could do a “purple Prince” and start her own label.

    As for Heather, I own her 1st but not 2nd CD. She is awesome but has not established a fan base like India. Gospel, I think, is a logical move for her b/c I think her dad is a minister. She is a triple threat and I wish her well.

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