Ari Hest
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Ari Hest

New York City, New York, United States | SELF | AFTRA

New York City, New York, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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Music

Press


"The 24-year-old has a slightly raspy baritone that's as worldly as men twice his age...country pop jam "Aberdeen" deserves to be a hit. The track's yearning feel and gotta-get-out-of-this-town message hints at the songwriting depths that Hest is capable of." - 8/10/04


by Catherine P. Lewis

While shows at Jammin’ Java, a snug, intimate space tucked outside the Beltway in Vienna, often feel like a well-kept secret, the word had gotten out about singer-guitarist Ari Hest’s performance Tuesday night. The coffee shop was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with eager fans, and it was clear from their thunderous applause (and occasional screams) that they were not disappointed.

After years of performing and recording independently, Hest recently signed with a major label. His 90-minute set pulled heavily from his most recent album, “Someone to Tell,” from the narrative “Fascinate You” to “Anne Marie,” whose lilting melody sounded like a bedroom window serenade. Hest carried the songs with his full, sugary voice, which swelled over a lightly strummed guitar on “A Fond Farewell” and stretched to cover both parts of “I’ve Got You,” a song intended as a male-female duet.

Hest’s three backing musicians rotated on and off stage between songs, adding subtle variations to his arrangements, such as the simple percussion that balanced Hest’s delicate acoustic-guitar melody on “Monsters.” Hest did let loose occasionally, striking his guitar and coughing out his lyrics on the standout “One More Hour.” But for the most part, he floated through his songs as if they were dreams, clearly content to have a full room to share them with. - Washington Post, 7/14/05


...Hest is blessed with a mature, take-no-prisoners voice and warhorse work ethic that, prior to signing with Columbia, made him one of the top indie touring acts on the East Coast. Like fellow pop-rock songwriters Bob Schneider and Dave Matthews — both of whom Hest has supported on recent outings — his commanding live performances have earned him a rabid college-aged fan base who are known to trek from venue to venue to absorb the groove. - 10/25/04


…efficient, vivid songwriting and rich, mature voice… Hest sounds like a man who has lived much longer than his twenty-four years. (3 Stars) - 8/9/04


With a band nicely bolstering his energetic, romantic and rootsy rock, Hest rolls along on a stream of yearning and searching. Even when his gruff melodious voice hits a higher register and soars like an angel, there's a purposeful thrust to his vigorous songs. Like [Bruce] Springsteen, Hest was born to run with it. - 8/13/04


SPECIAL PICK

Native New Yorker Ari Hest emerges as a formidable pop talen with his major label debut on Columbia Records, Someone To Tell. His soulful baritone voice and soaring falsetto beautifully weave between infectious rhythms and hook-laden music. The CD is loaded with strong material including “Anne Marie,” “Consistency,” and “They’re On To Me.” - August-September 2004


(4 stars) - There comes a time in every music-loving person’s life when they have to put the quirky Jason Mraz types back on the shelf and get back to honest, straight-ahead songwriting. Those folks should now turn to Ari Hest, who has just released his major label debut, Someone to Tell. Not only does Hest combine percussive guitar, peanut butter-on-the-roof-of-your-head melodies, and balanced arrangements, but he also has a rich, powerful voice that gives the overall package a nice rock edge.

“They’re on to Me” is a jangly rocker to kick this record off and should land on radio just as easily as the song itself flows. “A Fond Farewell” is a powerful piece about getting out from under your own self-doubts: “Beneath the shelter of the pouring rain/In the absence of this fear and pain/I will finally bid this ball and chain/A fond farewell.” At over five minutes, “Aberdeen” might not be tailored for radio, but for my money it is the best track on here, enhanced nicely by producer David Rolfe’s intricate guitar parts. - 9/24/04


Discography

Twelve Mondays - (2009) independant
52 Peoject- (2008) 1 song per week for 1 year released to fans via subscription model.
The Break-In (2007) - Columbia Records
The Green Room Sessions (EP 2006) - Columbia Records
Guilty Hearts EP (2005) - Project 4 (self-released)
Someone To Tell (2004) - Columbia Records
Story After Story (2003) - Project 4 (self-released)
Come Home (2001) - Project 4 (self-released)
Incomplete EP (1999) - Project 4 (self-released)

Photos

Bio

Many singer-songwriters toil for months on their Macs, trying to make a demo that sounds polished enough to score them a record deal with a major label. But Ari Hest has done the exact opposite, as he continues to defy the conventional route of a musician.

Already signed to a major, he opted out of his label deal so that he could have more control over his art. He then embarked on his ambitious ‘52’ project, during which he spent all of last year immersed in an unprecedented effort – to write, record, produce and release one new song per week, for 52 weeks in a row. Now, he will self-release his new studio CD, ‘Twelve Mondays,’ on March 10th. The album features reworked versions of 12 fan-selected songs, culled from the past year’s extraordinary output.

It’s a renegade path that reveals the ‘New Music Industry’ at its best, and allows Hest’s impressive work to find the audience he wants it to find. ‘Twelve Mondays’ showcases the diversity of Hest’s songwriting – from the haunting, minimasterpiece “Broken Voices” to the USA TODAY ‘Listen Up Music Pick’ “The Weight,” which was praised as a “poignant, acoustic reverie…” — From the wistful travelogue “Ride The Brake” to the radio-friendly “Dead End Driving,” it’s a remarkable mix that’s distinguished by the intelligence, nuance and range of Hest’s material. Add to that the fact that these songs were written amid the week-to-week gauntlet of ‘52’, and it’s all the more impressive.