Ari Hest’s musical job description is singer-songwriter. But he wanted to focus on the former for his second major label album, “The Break-In.”
“I wanted to make a record that was more about my voice,” says the New York-born Hest, 27, a high school baseball star who recorded four independent releases before signing with Columbia Records for 2004’s “Someone to Tell.”
“Painfully conscious” of what he felt were his vocal limitations before, Hest says the improvement in both range and command on “The Break-In” is simply the result of “learning to sing” over time.
“A lot of vocals from (‘Someone to Tell’) were, like, five or six years ago and largely rehashed independent material,” explains Hest, who picked up his “singing genes” from his mother but has largely eschewed voice lessons during his life.
“Vocally, I felt I had grown from that record before it even came out. I was very happy to be releasing something where I felt like I really knew how to sing now and was very comfortable in my vocal range.”
The wider vocal range he now employs also has affected Hest’s songwriting.
“You pick a key of a song based on the way it makes you feel,” he says. “If I have more range, then I have more choices and more emotions I can channel into a record. We’re really conscious of that with (‘The Break-In’).”
Ari Hest and the Damnwells perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (June 10th) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.