Indie Loop: Ari Lennox
See why Singer Ari Lennox is the future of new-wave soul.
Ari Lennox has a futuristic swag and retro flow that's creating quite the buzz around the independent scene. With a big voice matched by an equally big afro, the 22-year-old D.C.- native is already being compared to the likes of Erykah Badu for her soulful sound and impressive range, but if you ask her what she thinks about the state of music today, she’ll politely tell you that it’s “wack.”
With numerous cover videos online showcasing her impeccable vocals and madcap personality, she is quickly rising as a YouTube sensation, though it’s clear she’s ready for mainstream recognition. If you weren’t familiar with the tiny-framed, fro-rocking beauty before, then now is a good time to get acquainted with Ari Lennox.
Loop21: What has your journey been like as an independent artist?
Ari: The indie life is a humbling journey. Lots of pain and joy, but it’s worth it when it’s all you live for. My ultimate goal is to simply be happy. I simply dream of a $100K bungalow in Upper Marlboro, MD, a $50K black exterior and interior Jeep Wrangler and 10 dogs of different breeds.
Loop21: The musicality in your voice isn’t something that can be taught. Where does it all come from?
Ari: I discovered my voice when I was three. My grandma said my voice was angelic and her kind and encouraging words set a fire within me. After that I started listening to a lot of Anita Baker, Deborah Cox, Bilal and D’angelo and started developing a sound. Music was a natural passion and I’ve been turning up ever since.
Loop21: Do you generally plan out the songs you’re going to cover?
Ari: I honestly let it flow; no rehearsal or plans. I just follow the beautiful production and the words and melodies just pour and pour.
Loop21: That speaks volumes. If you could create beautiful melodies with one person dead or alive, who would it be?
Ari: I would record with Herbie Hancock. I would ask him to take me under his wing and teach me all he knows about the music business and piano. He is the first person to make me fall in love with piano. His music is an everlasting euphoria.
Loop21:Who do you get compared to most in the industry?
Ari: I love Erykah Badu, but surprisingly (growing up) I listened to more of Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, Chrisette Michelle, D’angelo, Bilal, Common, Kanye, John Legend, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and Minnie Riperton. I am obsessed with the 70s; most times I don’t feel like I belong here in 2014.
Loop21: Have you ever felt pressure to change your sound or compromise who you are as an artist?
Ari: All the time! Everyone has to compromise a little to prosper and I don’t mind when it comes to trying different sounds. But one thing I won’t change is my huge fro and my cool ugly ass “dolls kill” monster looking shoes. I like my weird style and wild hair; nobody can take that from me.
Loop21: Who constantly feeds your confidence and keeps you grounded? Especially in such a tough industry, who motivates you to keep on going?
Ari: My mama, Gloria Salter is my biggest inspiration. She faithfully supports and uplifts my spirits. I love her so so much…And also just knowing that music is my number one passion. I’m currently reading a book called The Mastery, and the book describes how Charles Darwin was extremely successful not because of talent or intellect, but because of his diligence and persistence to master the one true thing that he loved. If I put my all into the one thing I love (singing), I know the universe will cater to my desires, allowing my dreams to come true.
Loop21: If you could never sing another day in your life, what would you do instead?
Ari: Marine Biology, I live for the sea. I breathe marine animals and the boat life. I dream to travel to Antarctica one day with my 10 dogs.
Loop21: So, what’s next for Ari Lennox?
Ari: Expect an album in late 2014 or early 2015.