Yet each of these efforts seemed to shed light on a single aspect of the singer-songwriter’s artistry, until she developed her musical alter ego, Ari Voxx, early in the pandemic. None captured the full kaleidoscopic vision.Ali Vox, with her backing band The Sad Lads, explored her interests and influences from Motown to Doom Metal, Cocteau Twins to Soundgarden. provided Harbin with the opportunity to put together through her own filter. As Ari Voxx, she was also able to address her own issues with anxiety and depression in a cathartic and therapeutic manner without glorifying mental health struggles.
“I’m not good at communicating with people,” she says. “Writing real music is one of the ways I can express it.”
Or, as she sings on “The Ari Voxx Theme Song,” she states: Then I write a song about it. ”
Written by the self-proclaimed “Queen of Sad Dreams,” the song is gentle indie pop detail, with reverb-drenched guitars, jazzy rhythms, and a deceptive darkness beneath her warm, rounded vocal tone. Heavy lyrics about romance, nostalgia and boredom, longing and belonging. But lyrics are often the final piece of the puzzle.
“It’s more about creating the whole atmosphere and mood and trying to turn the indescribable feeling into something tangible,” she says. “What you can hear, feel, and empathize with”
Earlier this year, Harbin will be doing a four-week residency at DC9, offering what she calls a “dreamy cotton candy” aesthetic. On the homestand are stripped-down solo set nights with locals Caro and Kat Kavanagh, nostalgia with ’80s and ’90s musician Kathy Ditro, and what she calls “Saved by the Belles.” Black History Month kicks off with a collaboration release party with musician Freddy Hall, and a celebration of black creators by Jaylin Conner and NXNES. Each date twists Ari Voxx’s kaleidoscope, but stays true to her project’s purpose.
“I’m happy to have achieved this authentic sound and it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to emulate it or be a particular one,” she says. “I’m just laying it all out and it’s always me.”
January 11, January 18, January 25, February 1, 1940 at 8:00 pm, 9 DC, Ninth St. NW. 202-483-5000. dc9club.com$5.