Randee St. Nicholas
Several years ago, R&B singer India.Arie struck up a conversation with a shopper next to her in a New York clothing boutique. The stranger turned out to be Sezen Aksu, hailed as the “Queen of Turkish Pop,” who has sold more than 20 million records. Never one to shy away from a collaboration, Arie asked Aksu to contribute exotic Arabesque sounds to her new album, SongVersation (Soulbird/Motown Records, $18). With her spotlight-sharing spirit in mind, American Way asked Arie about her other favorite studio and stage collaborations.

Collaboration: Arie guested on “Peaceful World,” which appeared on Mellencamp’s 2001 album, Cuttin’ Heads.
“He sent his private jet, and we flew to Indiana. I went in and sang the vocal twice. He’s very forward. He said, ‘That’s it. I’ve never heard someone do a vocal that good that fast.’ ”

Adele joined Arie in singing Arie’s hit song “Video” during the VH1 Divas televised concert in 2009.
“That was the beginning of the really hard days of my career. We had time to talk, and the things she said touched me and gave me a boost when I really needed it. I love her.”

Arie wrote the lyrics for and contributed vocals to “A Time to Love,” the title track from Wonder’s 2005 album.
“He said, ‘I have this melody. I’d like you to write the lyrics to it.’ [Once I’d done that] he said, ‘You sound amazing on this demo. Do you want to sing on it?’ I was shocked!”