Keep going. Ari Lennox wonders what her life would be like if her parents had listened to Korn. Check our her tour dates below. I’m glad I trusted him for the most part in not putting a couple songs on the project.
ari lennox tour setlist – Ari Lennox
Ari Lennox is R&B’s next star. Ari Lennox: My ex introduced me to a lot of things, including anime, video games, and things like that, and the food we would regularly eat was pho. I’d never had it before, but it would always taste great. Eating pho really is a cleansing experience. Since the music was also about him and that period of my life, I decided that I would name the EP PHO because it’s soulful and the food reminds me of how the EP sounds.
Ari Lennox might be the most endearing soul singer, period. Her humbleness is striking, but it also warms your heart. Lennox, 28, never expected her debut album, Shea Butter Baby , to ever come out, but now that it’s here, she also cannot believe people actually like it. Imagine that.
LENNOX: So I feel like I’m nowhere near my goal, basically, that’s what I’m trying to say. I have a long way to go with this grind and stuff. Oh my God! They are amazing! They seem to be loving it a lot. I’ve seen very few negative comments – it’s just been a blessing. I’m shocked that people like it.
Cole usually already knows what he wants, he kind of guides me—unless he’s giving me a beat and he’s adamant that I figure it out. Cozz picks a beautiful beat and wants me to do whatever and then he’ll add things to it. That’s how Freaky 45” came to be. Bas is the same as Cole. He usually knows what he wants. Bas wrote Icarus” and he had the melody and everything. Bas is a whole genius. I sung what he wanted me to sing and added my little harmonies and background vocals. I love the freedom of penning my own stuff. Sweat It Out” with Omen, I was really, really involved. That song is always going to be my baby.
On Thursday evening, Ari Lennox wowed the audience at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with a medley of songs from her debut album, Shea Butter Baby. The album was released early this May on J. Cole’s Dreamville Records.
I think a lot of my friends and other female singer-songwriters, you have to stick together a bit. You try and exist and operate within these structures, but they weren’t built for us. They’re not run by us, and so therefore they don’t cater to us or serve us well. So it’s like, you just figure it out. You have to team up, you know, power in numbers.
She is legendary. It’s really great. I just hope she doesn’t hate me for the comparisons. I want to meet her. So hopefully it works out that she doesn’t hate me for it, all of this. I just hope that one day I can create something as legendary as Baduism and Mama’s Guns. So, if people are going to compare, I rather it be when I feel I’ve created something as legendary as those two projects.
Lennox is currently on tour with another breakout star, Lizzo, and said she’s grown tremendously in the three years since she flew out to see Cole for the first time. What this points to is a lot of the people who are making that comparison maybe haven’t listened to a ton of R&B singers.
After years of grinding independently by uploading her music online and working odd jobs like driving Uber, the 28-year-old became the first female signee to J. Cole ‘s Dreamville label in 2015. With the release of her debut album, Shea Butter Baby, earlier this year, audiences are showing up and showing love for the other side of Lennox. That means frank songs about today’s realities — from being broke or moving your first place to figuring out where you stand in relationships that aren’t so clear cut.
When I was young and stupid, I was like, ‘Dang, if I’m referred to as a soul singer or neo soul singer, because I’m black, I know it’s probably not going to work.’ You have Adele and it works, and I feel like people might love Adele more than a lot of black neo soul singers, it seems,” she says.
So, I’m only sick of this because it sometimes makes me feel like there’s no room, and that’s Erykah Badu. Absolutely no shots at her, she’s amazing and a legend. But for me, it’s like, if you guys think I sound just like Erykah Badu, is there room for Ari to ever be her own artist? Plus, I’ve never met Erykah. I’m scared to for a million reasons, and I also don’t want her thinking I’m trying to jack her swag or anything. I guess that’s my biggest fear—I don’t know why she would have time to think about me at all. That’s my paranoid mind.
Watch Lennox’s Tiny Desk Concert above. Check our her tour dates below. Please, whatever you do, don’t ask songstress Ari Lennox how she met rapper J. Cole. Out now, her long-awaited LP ‘Shea Butter Baby’ is outstanding, the work of a true individualist who blends her own life within those impeccable influences.
LENNOX: I don’t know. I just was always singing. I didn’t know if it was good or not, but my grandma, she told me that I sounded like an angel. And that maybe – perhaps that kept me going. I mean, I always wanted a solo at the church, and they didn’t ever give it to me. But eventually they did, and I froze. But then I killed it. And I just feel like that kind of just followed me all throughout my life.
Yes, I’m definitely a perfectionist. I always felt like I needed one more record. But I learned over time that we have so many gems – we’ve been sitting on gems for years, like a lot of the songs I made three years ago, and then there’s a few songs I made early 2018. I feel like everything needs to happen in a certain way, because some songs wouldn’t have made the album if we’d dropped it any sooner.
There’s an energy on ‘Facetime,’ like, I want to show him I can write something really fast and it’s going to be great. It’s going to be so good,” Lennox said. Lennox’s grandmother was one of the first people to recognize her talent, but even with that encouragement, the Washington, D.C. native says that she’s always grown up feeling like an underdog.
Lennox credits J. Cole and Dreamville for giving her the freedom to flourish by doing her own thing — such as covering Say Yes,” the quiet storm radio essential by 2000s English soul duo Floetry, during a sold-out show. I really feel like it’s because of them that I have this platform that other people who maybe never listened to Floetry can come to my show and hear me doing Floetry,” she says.
When critics talk about musician Ari Lennox, they use words like classic and timeless to describe her soulful R&B sound. When critics talk about musician Ari Lennox , they use words like “classic” and “timeless” to describe her soulful R&B sound. But it’s been a long road to this recent breakout success.
A sweet, sentimental song that caters to a generation that was brought up seeing love become slowly blighted by the superficial. A common thing I hear from people my age is that true romance is dead or at least on its last legs, with the rise of dating apps, people have a casual outlook on love. But in Static,” Ari sings about finding someone perfect for her without things like appearance or clout meaning much to her. She compares her beloved to an old radio of a lesser quality but expresses that she prefers it over something more high definition” any day. The instrumental is just as charming as the lyrics, with a melancholy trumpet in the background adding the nostalgic jazz elements on an upbeat R&B song.
Everything is definitely one take, for sure. Usually, for ad lib purposes I’ll go back and add ad libs sometimes as late as a year later to a record. For instance, ‘Break Me Off’ – there are some ad libs on that track that I didn’t add until literally a month ago. Before it came out, I added some ad libs. Sometimes I’ll be sitting on my record, and I’ll be like: it sounds pretty done, but then I’ll realise I can add some more. A lot of these records the lead vocal is just one take, and we’re shot. I like it better that way because it’s a lot more believable.
Dreamville… They were just always available. Cole was always giving suggestions about how we could elevate these beats. Tracklisting. Then I had Ibrahim “IB” Hamad doing the same thing and trying to help me organize the tracklist in the best, most beautiful way possible. Always providing studio sessions for me to finish it. There was never a cap on the budget. They just wanted to make sure this album was perfect, so they invested emotionally and financially, which was such a blessing. They constantly booked opportunities for me to meet with different producers. I was able to meet with so many amazing people, like Masego and Christo. J.I.D, same thing with Elite. Dreamville was super instrumental in this roll out. It wouldn’t exist without them, in any way.
Cole’s Dreamville roster since 2015. The singer and songwriter made her commercial Dreamville debut in 2016 with the Pho EP and followed up in 2019 with her first album, Shea Butter Baby, which hit the Billboard 200 chart at number 104.
Lennox confirms that the Ari Lennox from social media is the same as the one making the soulful music that has gradually attracted a large and loyal fanbase, who her friends also call Shea Butter Babies. This Ari is conscious about the power of her words and the beats she puts them to, and even more discerning about the energy she puts out into the world. Shea Butter Baby is a reflection of her thoughtful dedication to music and is an anthem for other 20-something shea butter-wearing Black women experiencing similar emotions of love, heartbreak, and adulthood.
J. Cole requested a meeting with Lennox after others in his creative circle tipped him to her music. I just was working at Public Storage and I guess he heard my music because it was just circling around like the Dreamville camp,” said Lennox.
PHO” established Ari as an artist to watch in different ways: her musical sensibility, her soulful voice, and in the way her voice rode different flows. She showed that she could undertake any type of R&B beat, and even showed that she was capable of spitting a few bars if she wanted to.
As for the song itself, I was playing around, putting shea butter in my hair, and basically twisting at my hair using shea butter – which is a great healing product, it really moisturises natural hair. So I think shea butter happened to be on my mind. Ibrahim put down this beat and it came out really beautifully. Cole, when he heard it, he loved it. We were sitting on that song for a year before Cole was like: yo, I wanna get on this joint! And he did… he got on it way later.
But a full solo debut remained out of reach for fans. Taking her time in the studio, the fastidious talent set about re-tooling neo-soul for a new generation, crafting a series of highly personal R&B bumpers.
Yeah, I’m noticing like a lot of things. Just walking around different places all over America. People recognize me at the beauty supply store, in the lobby downstairs the chef recognized me. And I just never thought, maybe a this, a guy who looked like that would know me.
Yeah, I mean we’re also trying to speak out to the generation that is now in their 30s and it has that ingredient of nostalgia, which I think is very, very effective in a lineup. You can go and check out an act that maybe you remember being a fan of and then you can go there and enjoy, like you said, a fresh interesting project from the earlier time slots and spend the whole day and finish with a band like Phoenix, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The Chemical Brothers , who you listened to 10 years ago.
Well, I’d say like 80 or 85% of the artist that come to play in Mexico only play Mexico City. That’s because it’s such a huge difference in the type of market. Mexico City is 25 million people and the next biggest cities are 1.5 million. Festivals are a great opportunity to check out new bands that might not come to Guadalajara or other territories outside Mexico City. It really depends on the act’s availability and willingness to develop a market because they’re not going to make the same money in Guadalajara or Monterrey that they do in Mexico City, at least for headline shows.
Ari Lennox’s desire for a ‘New Apartment’ almost kept her from signing to J. Cole’s Dreamville label. The Shea Butter Baby singer stopped by ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl podcast, just days before she headed out on Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You Too tour , where she revealed that she almost skipped out on the meeting that launched her career.
Don’t be afraid to save the best records for the album, and let other songs that are just as beautiful but just don’t quite fit, don’t be afraid to let them have their own space. There were certain songs that I really loved, that I was like, It has to be on the album!” but now that I think about it… This album is perfect. Cole was right! To some extent, because there was certain songs that he did doubt. I’m glad I trusted him for the most part in not putting a couple songs on the project.
Ari Lennox has a dozen more concerts in 2019 throughout the United States and Europe, including performances in Concord, California, Atlanta, Georgia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway. If none of these locations are near you, Ari Lennox’s most frequently visited cities are Los Angeles, New York City and the District of Columbia, so chances are high that Ari Lennox’s next tour will include these major cities.
When Cole flew me out to Los Angeles over a year ago, I was really self-conscious because I felt like he was more of a conscious rapper and lyrically, I didn’t feel I would fit. I was keeping it really simple with what I was talking about, like my romance life with this guy I was with. Cole encouraged me to be myself and not worry about what anyone else had to say. With time, I started to expand into different topics and it felt really good having that encouragement to be myself.