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About Ari Lennox

With a hint of world-weary rasp in her voice, soul artist Ari Lennox sings about milestones both earth-shattering and life-affirming, couching her revelations in the humdrum details of millennial life. Born Courtney Salter in March 1991, she grew up in Washington, DC, and got her start in the early 2010s posting covers of songs by Frank Ocean and Beyoncé online. Adapting her onstage alias from the name of the orphaned protagonist in the 1993 film The Secret Garden, she hopped between jobs and drove ride-shares before signing to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records in 2015. She was the only woman—and only singer/songwriter—then signed to the hip-hop-oriented label, and she took her time to develop the disarmingly frank neo-soul of her 2019 full-length debut, Shea Butter Baby. With the same candor that TLC brought to R&B in the mid-’90s, Lennox recounts smoking away her heartbreak on “I Been” and pulling cartwheels through her living room on “New Apartment.” Determined but down-to-earth, she’s an artist who goes deep on complex feelings while defying unrealistic social standards. “I don’t expect to be some huge superstar or whatever,” she once told Apple Music, expressing gratitude for her success to date. “I’m just happy that I can one day afford a nice, simple, $200,000 house somewhere in the South.”

HOMETOWN
Washington, D.C.
BORN
Mar 26, 1991

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