Ari Hest is an American singer-songwriter. Born in the Bronx and raised in a musical environment (his father is a professor of music, his mother a professional singer), Hest began writing songs for the guitar in his mid-teens. Despite his parents' professional interests, Hest considers himself a self-taught musician. Hest is a 2002 graduate of New York University.
A veteran of the small club circuit, particularly in and around his native New York City, Hest recorded and issued his first three albums on his own. Incomplete (1999), a collection of six songs, was originally intended as a demo to circulate among club owners to help secure performing engagements. Incomplete began selling well at shows, and led to the production of two more full-length albums, Come Home (2001) and Story after Story (2003). Hest's first commercial release from a national record label, Someone to Tell, was released by Columbia Records in 2004. .