Eva ZarAfter years of struggle, Ari Lennox is now enjoying success and on the road, opening for Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You Too tour. But she still remembers performing at open mic shows, where she was booed for singing Beyonce‘s hit, “Love On Top.”
“I was like, ‘No one should sing Beyoncé other than Beyoncé,’” she tells Rolling Stone.
But it was another superstar who Lennox credits as her biggest inspiration.
“Something about Mariah Carey’s songs really had me wanting to sing high like her,” the Washington D.C. native says. “I remember just feeling like a girly princess in the house, just dancing and singing my heart out to reach those notes.”
The ”Shea Butter Baby” singer hoped to follow in Carey’s footsteps, but after being rejected several times — including by American Idol — she considered quitting.
“Maybe my voice wasn’t strong enough,” she thought to herself.
Lennox briefly considered a career as a nurse, but was always drawn back to music. After releasing songs independently, her breakthrough came when J. Cole signed her to his Dreamville label in 2015.
Now, as she tours with Lizzo, Lennox’s thrilled that she’s finally an artist — albeit a different one that she previously envisioned.
“I thought I was going to be in a whole bunch of wigs, she says. “I always imagined having so much energy on stage, versus me being somewhat chill, soulful R&B.”
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