THE SPOTLIGHT: Jhene Aiko

Born and raised in Los Angeles, R&B singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko first rose to prominence in the early years of the 2000s when she signed to Epic and contributed vocals several tracks for labelmates B2K. Coming from a musical family, with two of her sisters (Miyoko and Jamila) members of the group Gyrl, Aiko had plenty of musical training to launch her later successes through various appearances on music videos and soundtracks.

After collaborating with other artists during her early to mid-teens, she took a brief hiatus to finish her education. In 2011, she released her comeback mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), comprised of dreamy, minimal R&B vocals; it was entirely written by Aiko herself and featured collaborations with Drake, Gucci Mane, and Kanye West. In 2012, she signed with Def Jam through No I.D.’s ARTium imprint and released the single “3:16AM.” The following year proved to be pivotal for Aiko — she was featured on Big Sean’s Top 40 hit “Beware” and teamed up with Drake for an appearance on his highly anticipated album Nothing Was the Same. Critics praised her performance with Drake, which raised her profile globally.

In February, 2015, Aiko was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Song for “The Worst” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Sail Out. The same month it was announced that Aiko would join rapper J. Cole on his tour entitled, Forest Hills Drive Tour. On March 19, 2015 Aiko released the free song “Living Room Flow.” Aiko covered “In a World of My Own / Very Good Advice” from the Disney film Alice in Wonderland, the cover was included on the “We Love Disney” compilation album which was released in October 2015.

In March 2016, Aiko announced a collaboration album with rapper Big Sean, under the name Twenty88, their self-titled debut album was made available to stream exclusively on TIDAL for four days, and was made available for download on April 1. According to the duo, “TWENTY88 tells the story of the highs and lows of a relationship, with insights into conflict, memories, love, sex, and more and features production from Key WaneDetail, and Tommy Brown.”

In November 2016, Aiko released “Maniac“, the lead single from her upcoming album set for 2017.