Arie says her heroes range from Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway to Oleta Adams, Oprah Winfrey, Toni Morrison and "my mom, who taught me everything I know about singing and life."
Her debut album, "Acoustic Soul," combines the warm, folky stylings of James Taylor with the earthy sincerity of Erykah Badu.
But the 25-year-old singer-guitarist tells Entertainment Weekly in its summer double issue that her first show after completing the album was a career low.
"It wasn't good — then they videotaped it and used it as this 30-minute thing on MTV2!"
The career she'd most like to have is "something like Celine Dion's," she says. "I wouldn't want to be that big, but I'd like to have a person attached to my destiny the way her husband is to hers."
A tour with Sade begins July 14.