Reveling in Ari Lennox’s ‘age/gender/place’ infatuation
NEW YORK (AP) — Writer’s block infested Ari Lennox during the making of her latest album, “Age/Gender/Place,” but her label chief and friend, rap superstar J. Cove, suggested she start journaling to unlock her creativity.
“He was like, ‘I want you to write and just don’t stop for a certain amount of time.’ And so, you start to see all these words and experiences that are going on,” Lennox said of a session for “POF,” the album’s opening track. “It was just pages and pages of life, and it was a really cool, a beautiful writing exercise, and it really helped me write better.”
Released earlier this month, Lennox’s sophomore project follows the critically acclaimed “Shea Butter Baby” of 2019. Removed from 80 possible songs From to 12, the album executive produced by Elite, takes the soulful singer through a lifetime of a romantic relationship. The album’s title alludes to a common questionnaire used by Internet chat room participants in the late 90s and early 2000s.
“It just encompasses dating and its entirety — the ups and downs, crushes that start out so light and sweet, but it’s a crush for a reason, and ends in pain, sadness, horror,” says the 31-year-old. he said. Laughter. “Then there is a realization of how important my queen’s place is and how important it is to protect my peace and prevent negative energy from people or any kind.”
Lennox’s unique, soulful sound—an updated version of the neo-soul era of the 2000s—is a welcome alternative to the R&B-melodic fusion that owns much of today’s airspace. The album’s release was inspired by the success of Light, the song-along bop “Pressure,” a callback to ’60s soul. Composed by a super team including Lennox, iconic R&B writers Brian-Michael Cox and Jonta Austin, and superstar hit-producer Jermaine Dupree, the track peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay chart.
Angelic, beautifully channeling her inner Erica Badu on jazzy “Mean Mug” She serenades “There’s a Magic in Your Eyes” throughout the chorus as a Theo Corker trumpet solo at the song’s conclusion.
“‘Meen Mag’ is my favorite song on the album. It’s just a soulful, special piece of work for me,” revealed the native Washington DC soprano. “I love the idea of love… when I’m really about someone. I think, then I will be romantic and a lot of poetry can come out of it.”
In the same sexually forceful territory as the “On It” feature on Jazmine Sullivan’s Grammy-winning “Hex Tales” album, Lennox isn’t afraid to ask what she wants on a slow jam like her groovy “Stop By” or the seductive Chloe Bailey. Is. -assisted “Leak It”, referring to the release of personal, intimate videos.
“He killed it. He offered something I never would have imagined,” Lennox said of Bailey. “It’s basically you feeling so safe with someone, someone you can trust and just feeling like, you know what? I want to do this all with you. And me Don’t even care if anyone sees. We should show the world—maybe not literally—but how wonderful the passion is in this moment.”
But it is not about the excitement of newness and infatuation; Lennox sets personal boundaries and makes time for self-care with tracks like “Blocking You” and “Queen Space” featuring Summer Walker which also reached #1 on the adult R&B chart.
Lennox has doubled down on the voice of his soul, further cementing his command of the arts. She is also growing in her personal life, rising to fame as her profile rises rapidly. Despite bashing in the past in response to Twitter trolls and venomous comments, Lennox is learning that social media isn’t always an accurate reflection of real life.
“I’m always going to be myself. Nothing about that will ever change… I don’t see myself doing any (cosmetic) work or anything like that. That’s what people said about me on Twitter.” I’ve probably cried. But yeah, I’ve felt what’s real and what’s not,” Lennox said. “I like my nose. I like how my body looks… I like my music. I love how beautiful and different it is. And it’s for me, and it’s for anyone who loves it. So, really that’s all you can ever do in life – you just have to live what you love, what you want, what’s important to you.”
Follow Associated Press entertainment journalist Gary Gerard Hamilton: @GaryGHamilton on all of his social media platforms.