Music is one of the key pillars to any society, a form of art and self-expression, over the years it has spawned into one of the most personal ways to connect with others, even though you may not have anything else in common. In Miller’s Mix, I am going to be discussing a different artist or album every week, in hopes to share some music that you may not have otherwise heard of or given a chance. This week, I’m putting the spotlight on Ari Lennox, a 29-year-old Aries R&B/Soul singer from Washington D.C. In the past couple of years, she has sprouted into the spotlight and has help from the likes of J. Cole with being signed to his record label, Dreamville.
Born Courtney Salter, the singer made her initial splash with mixtapes and extended plays in 2012, and by December 2015 she was the first female to be signed onto Dreamville. This all lead to her debut EP in 2016, Pho, and a spot as an opener for J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only tour. Since then Ms. Lennox has flourished in the R&B scene and gotten comparisons to the likes of Erykah Badu, one of her inspirations for her music. In an interview for Dreamville she described her art as, “Sometimes women are put in this box where we’re only supposed to talk about certain things, I want to be braver and riskier. I think people want to hear that kind of honesty and frankness.” Even with all these accomplishments, including being a part of Revenge of The Dreamers III, a platinum album, in my opinion, Ari does not get the recognition she deserves for the incredible talent she is.
If it were me on aux and I was told to play some Ari, I’d start with the “I Been” remix featuring Smino. This song originally came out with just her, but I am also a huge fan of Smino, so the combination is pure gold and can please both rap and R&B fans simultaneously. It a smooth beat that’s super fun to sing along to, like most of her music, and in the end, some spoken world spits a powerful message. If you’re in it just for the vibes, I’d also recommend A. the entire Shea Butter Baby album and B. More specifically BMO and the opener, Chicago boy. She has many tracks on her labels collaborative Dreamer album, and BUSSIT is a particularly golden track. Really showing the reach of her voice and sending positive vibes through your soul.
All in all, Ari Lennox is and has been an iconic, must-have artist on any of your R&B playlists, and makes frequent appearances on mine. Listening to her can only result in good vibes and warm feelings throughout your body. And for those of you who enjoy singing in your car or in the shower, learning her lyrics can provide much entertainment when it comes to throwing your voice all around the room. I hope the Ari Lennox becomes more of a name this year, and one day gets to headline tours instead of just opening them.