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Ari Lennox

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About Ari Lennox

Ari Lennox, real name Courtney Shanade Salter, counts herself among the talented Dreamville roster, helmed by J. Cole. She’s a talented singer and songwriter, beginning her career in 2012 as an independent artist before later connecting with one of Dreamville’s artists, Omen, on wax, which would eventually lead to her deal with the same label.

Let’s wind things back though. Ari dabbled in music through out high school, and as soon as she graduated in 2009, she began to release covers on YouTube, but nothing really ‘went viral’ until she did a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” and a Beyonce “Drunk in Love” cover, in particular.  In the meantime, Ari worked a day job-- everything from Wendy’s to Papa John, and even a few years driving Uber, while she worked on her come-up. In 2012, she released a mixtape independently, titled Five Finger Discount, after “exceeding total of 210,000 Youtube views and 1800 YouTube subscribers.”

Things didn’t take off immediately from there, Ari still had some building to do. She released her own EP following the mixtape, titled Airography, in 2013. As she continued to make industry connections, it was in 2015 that she nabbed a feature on Omen’s song, “Sweat It Out,” and it was that same year that she would go on to sign with his label.

The rest, as they say, is history. Or perhaps, history in the making. Ari released her debut album under Dreamville, Shea Butter Baby, to critical acclaim and fans’ delight in 2019, following it up with an EP of remixes in 2020.

Photo credit: David Livingston/Getty Images

Facts Only

  • Ari Lennox adopted her name from the character Mary Lennox in the film adaptation of "The Secret Garden"
  • Ari Lennox auditioned for "American Idol" in 2008, but didn't make it

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