She brings that nostalgic, soulful sound you can’t help but enjoy, while tapping into the minds of every twenty-something black female with her blunt, all too relatable lyrics, and her smooth yet raspy voice.
ari lennox tour 2020 – Ari Lennox Talks J Cole, ‘Shea Butter Baby,’ Erykah Badu Comparisons & More
Ari Lennox is R&B’s next star. 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.
We’ve all heard the great content Ari is capable of making through the fire singles she dropped before releasing her album, including Whip Cream”, 40 Shades Of Choke” and Grandpa” But ‘Cream’ is the only song to appear on the final tracklist.
While the gravity of its hosts, GRAMMY-winning Philly band The Roots , and their many musical collaborations and connections may be what attracts the masses to the festival (you never know who will take the stage,) most of the day’s music rings out with vibrant discovery of new sounds coming from each of the Picnic’s three stages. From burgeoning local rappers on the Cricket Stage, to breakout experimental artists like Tank & The Bangas on the Mann stage, to upcoming queens like Asiahn and Ari Lennox holding court on the Fairmount Park stage, the festival boldy faces forward, embracing its historical ties to the black community.
Oh my goodness! I feel like I was fairly ignorant to what it’s like to really finish an album. I’ve seen Cole finish his album, and he’s asked me to come through to record background on his songs before, so I’ve kind of gotten a taste of what it’s like to finish an album.
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.
Right. It’s for women. I felt like he couldn’t understand why I love “New Apartment” so much, and I think he was, as a producer, focused on the beat not being as perfect as “Whipped Cream.” It’s just a different vibe. And what’s most important about “New Apartment” is the message. I just wanted to talk about achieving that dream. I never thought I’d ever be able to afford an apartment. I never saw $1,000 until working for Uber, because Wendy’s and Papa John’s, they don’t pay you shit. So when music started happening and I started seeing more money, I was finally able to get my own spot and it was the best feeling.
Cole had been listening to Lennox’s music on SoundCloud for some time — slowly becoming a fan of her soulful sound _ and Ibrahim Ib” Hamad, the rap star’s longtime manager and president of his label, Dreamville Records — thought it would be a good idea to bring Lennox along for the Rih Rih sessions.
I have so many. Amy Winehouse, Minnie Riperton, Marvin Gaye, Kanye West. Listening to Kanye introduced me to so many other artists, like Common. I knew of Common, but I didn’t really dive into him until Be and Finding Forever. Kanye stretched hands all over Common, and I just fell in love with the both of them. Kanye’s first three albums, those samples, and the artists that he had on those projects inspired me immensely. Even his song Impossible” with Keyshia Cole, Twista and BJ The Chicago Kid. BJ was running at the end of that song, and I wanted to sound like him so badly! John Legend was also my favorite artist for a very long time. His first few albums are so dear to me, and I wanted to sound like him too. Of course Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, and Bilal are also inspirations.
Lennox is adjusting to this part of fame—that people are actually listening to her music, and that she’s no longer an under-the-radar R&B singer gaining traction through word-of-mouth methods like texts between couples on the fritz. She’s signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville label ( the rapper would later join her onstage at the Bowery Ballroom), and in May, she put out her first full-fledged album, Shea Butter Baby. She’s finishing her first countrywide tour as the headline act, a far cry from her days recording YouTube covers in her free time.
I realized that I’d met a woman who reminded me of what life and love were all about. Being your truest self. As humans, we’re born impressionable. It’s in our infant nature to emulate, to follow the order we’ve customarily seen. To be a wife. To be a mother. To be a lover. Then abruptly, we face the fact that what someone else has may not be for us or, perhaps, the timing isn’t right. It’s never easy finding yourself. It’s an intimate relationship that takes a great deal of self-reflecting and patience, yet stirs a fear of understanding. But the person you can become once you discover your individuality, identifying your passion and pursuing it ferociously, is your best self. And in the case of Ari Lennox, you can sign to the record label you’ve always dreamed of.
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 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.
Ari Lennox grew up going to classic jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Motown soul singers of the ’60s. In interviews, the singer has said she was strongly influenced by R&B and Pop phenom Whitney Houston, indie-soul singer Erykah Badu and the late great R&B artist Aaliyah.
With this project, I feel like I’m being more of my honest self. Ariography was the woman that I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve always wanted true love and to be a wife, as I’m a lover of love. But it just never happened that way. When I was writing that EP, it was me fantasizing about having real love, but something that I never really experienced. With PHO, as ratchet as it is, it’s real life. It’s just me having fun with my boyfriend. Dave James and Eli Eaton produced Ariography, and it’s definitely a project I hold dear to my heart, but I’ve always felt like it was missing something that was a little bit more risky and more honest. With this new project, I feel like I’m being a bit more daring and I’m embracing who I am and what I’ve gone through.
Shea Butter Baby means empowerment. It means like talking my sht. It means just being proud of like who I am. Being proud of all my fellow black sisters and letting people know about the struggle that we face and unapologetically. And it’s just like owning our sht. It’s for us. I made it for, us, you know.
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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.
And I remember they liked me a lot, they knew I stood out, but they just knew I wasn’t ready. I appreciate that so much because I feel like all of those no’s made room for the most beautiful yes — that was Dreamville,” she said.
The First Lady of Dreamville blessed us with a solid 12-Track project that stays true to her profound R&B sound, and her congenial content which tells stories of the highs and lows of being a 20-something woman in this day and age dealing with dating, friends, etc. Ever since her second EP PHO dropped in 2016, fans of R&B and Dreamville couldn’t wait to see what the DC would deliver us on her debut album. And judging by her labelhead and mentor, J. Cole, ‘Shea Butter Baby’ does not disappoint.
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.
So yeah, I think that’s why it’s hard for people to realize, oh, I could talk about the fact that I had a dog once. You know, those are some of the most beautiful songs ever. You know what I mean? And I really appreciate this conversation because I – it makes me realize I should keep talking about other aspects of my life.
Lennox’s earliest performances were in the church, doing solos though it took some time before she was given those opportunities. LENNOX: Yeah. I definitely can go to the CVS. You know, sometimes people recognize me, sometimes they don’t. But it’s a beautiful feeling, and I just can’t wait to move back eventually.
It’s still surreal to Lennox that she has fans all across the country singing her lyrics back to her on tour. She’s happy that songs like “Static” and “Broke” are giving other people an outlet for their emotions and says she sees what her fans are getting out of her music.
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.
Courtney Shanade Salter (born March 26, 1991), 3 1 known professionally as Ari Lennox, is an American singer and songwriter from Washington, D.C. She is the first woman to be signed to J. Cole ‘s record label, Dreamville Records 4 5 She released her first EP on the label on October 21, 2016 titled Pho , where she began gaining recognition. Her debut studio album Shea Butter Baby was released on May 7, 2019.
Like any other animal lover, Ari wasn’t feeling the close encounter between the woman and the lion and felt something needed to be done about it. I think that’s a big theme from the album that stuck with people, its relatability. On “I Been,” you sing about your Tinder troubles. I don’t remember a song really mentioning Tinder before.
First off, I was impressed. She opened for Lizzo in Philly and came straight to Delaware and performed. She didn’t come out extra late and tired. Her voice was great, her stage presence was great and she even took a few song requests which I love. She cared enough to make sure she gave us a great selection of her songs. I can’t wait to see Ari live again.
Ari Lennox has never not kept it real. The Shea Butter Baby ” singer and first woman signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records label has set herself apart from other R&B singers today with her unique, sexy, and timeless sound, one that taps into the likes of Billie Holiday and Erykah Badu , to name a few influences. Her lyrics slice straight through to the heart of the matter, intimate, frank, deeply personal, and completely relatable.
It’s Lennox’s voice matched with vivid, relatable storytelling, like on the song “New Apartment,” that connect with fans her age who are going through similar milestones. Fellow crooners are noticing. Lizzo tapped Lennox (born Courtney Salter) to be an opening act during her Cuz I Love You Too Tour in September and October.
Whatever experience I may have. With Backseat,” my ex, we didn’t have apartments, we didn’t have money. We were just doing it in the car. That turned into a song. DJ Grumble had this fire beat and I was in a mind state, like, how can I simplify my music lyrically, get straight to the point, keep it soulful and keep it me? I was just using that experience. A beautiful beat is the best part. Then I just pick an experience.
Lennox says she grew up on the music of John Legend, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo just as much as Coldplay and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. This mix of cross-genre influences helped to shape her sound into something distinct in the R&B field. “I just wanted to sing like all of them and I think somehow like my voice kind of matured into this,” she says.
Yes, Lennox has jokes. But there’s nothing funny about her musical drive. Lennox’s debut rhythm and blues album, Shea Butter Baby, has been hailed by critics and fans. Her examinations on lusty hookups, unrequited love, weed sessions and getting her first apartment never come off as gimmicky.
Instead, Lennox grew up on ballad singers like Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, and Mariah Carey. In the end, those influences worked out for Lennox and are prevalent on her debut album Shea Butter Baby, which was released earlier this year. Carey’s music, in particular, struck a chord with the singer-songwriter.
We met on an ordinary fall day in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City. The sidewalks uncomfortably packed with tourists, market shoppers and people watchers. Leaving the congestion (and the tang of fresh fish), I walked into Nam Son to find no table empty and Ari, dressed in a ’90s styled bomber and ripped black jeans, patiently waiting for everyone to arrive.
In the performance, she first sings Up Late” and transitions to BMO.” Being a relatively new artist in the R&B scene, it was her first live late-night show appearance. So despite the fact that she was confidently rocking a bright orange fur cloak, Ari Lennox initially looked a bit nervous on stage. However, after she took a deep breath before performing all traces of stage fright vanished.
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