Jhené Aiko: Sound Check

Every now and then an artist comes along and makes a big splash. Sometimes they’re new, other times they’re a bit seasoned and are showing a side listeners have never seen. This is the case with Cali songstress Jhené Aiko-who most recently was known as the girl with snippets and surprise songs on the defunct R&B group B2K’s albums.

Now re-launched into the spotlight – thanks to the success of her mixtape Sailing Soul(s) – Aiko’s future has never looked brighter. Pushing the less traveled ambient soul music genre with a distinguished voice and an unbreakable indie mindset, Aiko is headed in the right direction to uphold the hype.

Mother Duty Then Music… My daughter was like one and a half and I was settled into being a mom. I wanted to put out a mixtape before I got pregnant and everything. I just felt like the time was right, because I wasn’t really doing anything. I thought that I’d just put out something for free. It took nine months to complete. It wasn’t something I put out because I wanted to get signed or get exposure. It was literally a project that turned into like an album.

Challenge of Being A Teen Business… At the time I was 12 or 13 and everybody at the label had different views of what they saw me as. Some of the people at the company wanted me to sound older, look older and some of them wanted me to sing younger. I ended up recording hundreds of songs that were random – pop songs and R&B songs. There was just no clear direction and by the time I compiled 12 or 13 songs, my A&R left the company. The new A&R wasn’t really familiar with the music and it had been like two and a half, three years. I was just like ‘I want to finish school.’ I told T.U.G and Epic to let me just focus on me. It was a lot that contributed to my album never coming out.

Ambient Soul Lane Member… For the most part a lot of it has to do with how I personally like to sing. Because I can do different things with my voice, a lot of times people would write songs for me – it wouldn’t be my preference of singing, but I would be able to do it. So I’d record it and a lot of times I’d be uncomfortable singing louder, doing more runs or whatever the producer wanted me to do. I’d do it just to make everybody happy. When I got with Fisticuffs who produced the majority of Sailing Soul(s), we all would just vibe out. I would write while they were doing the beat and it would blend so perfectly. It was completely writing in the style I wanted to write and singing in the key I wanted to sing. We didn’t think about it like we want this song to sound ambient, we just did it. Each song is different, but it has the same tone of being mellow and soulful. It just happened. We created the sound as we went along. I think everyone gets the lane that I’m in.

Don’t Want to be a Popstar… Right now I’m just going with the flow. There are so many things that I want to accomplish in my lifetime that aren’t being a recording artist. I want to go to school and be an English major. I want to learn about astronomy, I want to be a veterinarian; there are so many other things. I feel like this is happening right now in my life and it’s going really well and I don’t have a set goal like I have to make it to number one, win a Grammy or be on a billboard. I just want to make music with a message and get it out to as many people as I can.

Read Full Interview at our partner SoulTrain.com —— By: Interview By Soul Train


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