Jhene Aiko Interview: “I really like working with rappers. They really take their time with what they are writing and I do that too”
Whether it is her organic and melodic tone, her thought-provoking lyrics, her sensuality or the fact that she has every music lover captivated as they listening to her voice, one thing is for sure: Jhene Aiko is making a well-deserved mark on the music industry.
Jhene’s previous works include her L.P Sailing Souls and her E.P Sail Out which have not only breathed new life into the meaning of music but essentially provided a whole new understanding of love itself. She is taking fearless steps into this new era of musical evolution and her potential to impact the music industry in a ground-breaking way is becoming increasingly evident.
I have a chat with her about her alter ego, Sail Out, her experience of working with various artists for her EP and she reveals to me what she looks for in a guy. But “if you’re an ex you’re an ex for a reason!”
When did you fall in love with music?
I was born loving music because I was around so much music. My dad was always singing and making music, it has always been something that I have done.
Can you tell me a little bit more about your alter ego, J. Hennessy?
J. Hennessey is who I am when I have a little sip of Hennessey [laughs] or any type of drink and I think she is a more confident, a more aggressive version of myself, she really doesn’t have any type of fear in speaking her mind and she’s a big part of who I am.
Sail out is the most recent E.P release from you, how did it come about?
Well, I was working on my album Souled Out and we had all of these songs and we were trying to figure out which ones we were going to keep. But for me it was like two different sounds and because I had been recording for so long some of the earlier stuff was more on the sound of the mix tape, Sailing Souls. So I thought we should put some of the songs on the E.P and the later recordings on Souled Out, just because I felt like a growth and evolution since I started recording till now.
For me the E.P is a good introduction for people that are not familiar with my work or do not follow my career. But it’s a good introduction to what I do. And then the album is the evolution, it shows growth from the mix tape until now. Even though the E.P is awesome it just more or less what you would expect.
How was it like working with Wiz, Kendrick, Ab Sol & Big Sean for your E.P?
It’s amazing they are always great to work with, I really like working with rappers because I feel like they really take their time with what they are writing and I do that too. They are incredible with their word play and I just love words. Kendrick and Ab Sol, all of them, all of these rappers are amazing at what they do and it was just really great to have them on this E.P.
I know you’re a huge fan of Tupac Shakur, I thought what you did with his song, Keep Your Head Up was absolutely fantastic.
You know in L.A they still play Tupac quite a lot on the radio stations and so ever since I was young that song has always stuck with me. I just remember whenever I have a bad day I play that song and it always makes me feel stronger. And specifically I remember when I was pregnant, it could have been my pregnancy hormones but I was just listening to that song and I just remember crying, I just feel like it should be something that is still performed today because it is a very powerful song.
You were the voice on From Time which was the track taken from Drake’s album Nothing Was The Same, can you talk to me a bit about how that came about?
We had worked together previously it wasn’t really like a true collaboration, so this time around we were in the studio together, he contacted me and told me he wanted me to work on his album, so I came in and picked up a beat. I went home wrote and recorded my part in L.A and he loved it. So he recorded his part and I came into the studio and he played it to me and I was just like ‘wow’, because I got to see the finished product so it was cool.
Is it true that you left The Ultimate Group and Epic Records to continue your education?
Well I was signed to both of those labels for two years, a lot of people think it was for longer than that but it was from 12 – 14/15 and I just didn’t feel like it was worth me missing so much school. I asked to be released form those two labels and so I was focussing on school but I was still doing music with the people that I had made relationships with. I didn’t really stop music but I definitely started focussing more on finishing high school.
So Jhene, I know we have all heard of Girls love Beyoncé, but boy do Guys love Jhene! Could you describe your character in order for guys to know a little more about how you are as a person?
I think I’m super easy going, low maintenance. I like the little things [laughs] not like that. [laughs] I like the simple things. I’m really easy going like I said, I don’t like to do too much. I definitely like for a man to be a man and take charge but for the most part I’m just open to a lot of different things. It can be said that I am different everyday but it’s just because I adapt to different situations and different people.
Are you single?
I am single, very single. [laughs]
Would you ever consider getting back into a relationship with a guy or do you believe in the saying, “You are an ex for a reason”?
I do believe people are exes for a reason and I have never gone back to someone in my whole 25 years of life and I just feel like, just because in relationships people are given so many chances, that once it’s over, it’s over.
What type of guys do you like?
I don’t really have a specific type, I just like a guy who knows how to communicate and as long as we are communicating then that’s really all I ask for, someone that’s understanding. But really I like to keep my mind open dating different types of people.
The world needs: Love
The person I want to be most proud of me is: My daughter
I am willing to forgive: Myself
Music is: Life
I want my legacy to be: Of a person who never gave up and was very open-minded and loved and taught people how to love.Tagged in: Jhene Aiko
Recent Posts on Arts
- ArcTanGent Interview: ‘It’s like being part of a secret club’
- Indian rickshaw fetches £100,000 for wild elephants at Prince Charles hosted auction
- Vennart Interview and album stream: ‘This album is more focused on vocals and guitar rather than pounding your head and complex riffs’
- India’s old moderns keep the art auctions buoyant
- Scottish Book Trust: Ask the Illustrator with Debi Gliori
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter