Music Mondays: Jhene Aiko



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"I write something everyday regardless if it’s a one liner, a poem or a prolific thought that I thought throughout the day," says up and coming R&B artist Jhene Aiko in an interview for The Singers Room. "When I get into the studio, people may put on a track, I listen for a while and see what kind of emotions it brings out of me. Sometimes, I have a poem or some lines to add to the track with a melody." Aiko has found her way into working with some of the most revered names in R&B and Hip Hop by following her emotional thru-line, which has her on track to releasing her first, eagerly anticipated solo album in the coming year.

Aiko got her start contributing vocals to several B2K discs in 2002, which led her to lend her considerable talents to several music videos as well as to the soundtracks of films such as You Got Served and Masters of Disguise. While label interest swirled around the young L.A. artist in 2007, she ultimately decided to walk her own path, and in 2011 released a mixtape titled Sailing Soul(s) to much buzz and critical acclaim.

While riding the success of Sailing Soul(s), Aiko has opened for Lauren Hill and has officially signed with Atrium Records, an imprint of Def Jam Records, to produce her next album, Souled Out due in 2013.

Aiko's artistic style has been compared to Frank Ocean for her neo-soul take on music that artfully blends gentle, hypnotic indie vocals with hip hop beats and R&B rhythms. Her influences and idols range from Tupac to Brandy Norwood; her musical diversity may come from her equally as rich family lineage with heritage rooted in Japanese, Spanish, Dominican, African-American and Native American cultures. One thing that's for certain: Jhene Aiko's integrity and self-worth are both hard won and all her own. The impetus behind Sailing Soul(s) taken from her experience with a record label head who encourage her to sell herself as an artist: "That's when I decided I would 'sail' rather than 'sell' myself," Aiko told an interviewer for SoulCulture. Sail on, Jhene!

Enjoy Jhene Aiko's "3:16AM," a teaser from her forthcoming Souled Out and be sure to check out all the tunes on I AM THAT GIRL's Music Monday's playlist, updated each week!

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