Ari Roar is the stage alias of singer and songwriter Caleb Campbell, who blends '60s psychedelic pop influences with lo-fi inspirations like Grandaddy and Frankie Cosmos.
He debuted his melodic, gently trippy indie pop and soothing singing voice on EPs in the mid-2010s before making his full-length debut with Calm Down in 2018.
Raised in Dallas, Texas, Campbell began composing on the family piano as a child, but it wasn't until he was 14 that he started writing songs with lyrics after hearing Jason Schwartzman's "Ethan's Song" in the teen comedy Slackers. At the age of 18, he switched from writing on piano to guitar when back surgery confined him to his bed for several months. After regaining his mobility, he was drawn to nearby Denton for its music scene. Over the next few years, he moved in and out of town for various jobs and bands until he eventually settled back in Dallas. There, with help from one of his Denton friends, Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith, he began making home recordings that would appear on his earliest Ari Roar EPs, including 2015's Cassette. He then left Texas to live in his uncle's pool house in Miami Beach, which he used as a launching point for his first East Coast tour. Released in 2016, the EP Patch Me Up included a couple of the Dallas songs with Smith, and two Miami Beach tracks featuring Campbell on drums.
Campbell next made his way to Seattle, where he wrote material for his full-length debut. Having admired his work on Frankie Cosmos' Next Thing, he enlisted Hunter Davidsohn to produce, and they recorded the album in Davidsohn's New York studio. Ari Roar's sophisticated sound caught the ear of Bella Union, which released the resulting Calm Down in 2018. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi