Courtney Shanade Salter, known professionally as Ari Lennox, is an American R&B singer from Washington, D.C. She’s known for her expansive musical talents, and as the first woman signed to rapper J. Cole’s popular record label, Dreamville Records.
Lennox is a forthright lyricist and understated vocalist who gains inspiration from artists like Minnie Riperton and Mýa. Lennox’s power as an artist comes from her willingness to be honest and vulnerable. She uses her art to discover and share her inner truth, and inspire others to do the same. On the Dreamville website, Lennox describes her voice as “vulnerable and soulful; imperfect but pretty,” adding “I want to be braver and riskier. I think people want to hear that honesty and frankness.”
Around 2011, Lennox began to gain popularity in music when she took on the stage name “Ari Lennox,” inspired by the character Mary Lennox from “The Secret Garden.” She started releasing music independently to SoundCloud, and she caught J. Cole’s ears, who signed her to Dreamville. In 2019, Lennox released her debut album — “Shea Butter Baby,” a 12-song project which speaks about Lennox growing up, getting her first apartment, and working through new and old relationships. The album was received well by markets all around the United States, which made Lennox a popular name from the DMV to the west coast.
Most recently, Lennox released her much-anticipated EP, “PHO,” which is available on all streaming platforms. She is set to go on tour in September 2022.