Jhené Aiko
Jhené Aiko

Jhené Aiko

About Jhené Aiko

At some point on her path, R&B seeker Jhené Aiko discovered the concept of sound healing. Well, not just sound healing, but singing bowls—instruments whose resonances are thought to help balance and heal chakras corresponding to the particular note played. If it sounds a little New Age-y, fine—Aiko can live with it. For as long as she’d been making music, people had been coming up and telling her how it helped them study, helped them sleep, helped them get through a hard time. “Then I found this tangible thing,” she told Apple Music. “This sound healing, that’s actually healing on a cellular level. I put those two thoughts together and I was like, okay, my purpose in doing my music isn’t just for me to get through things, but it’s to help other people.”

Not that Aiko lives in the clouds. If anything, she represents a wave of younger artists bringing the introspection of ’70s R&B and ’90s neo-soul into the self-care era, handling real, everyday stuff—relationships, parenting, sex, personal discovery—with a slight cosmic slant. Born Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo in Los Angeles in 1988, she started her career contributing occasional vocals to the R&B group B2K as a teenager, signing with a subsidiary of Def Jam in 2011. Aiko found her footing quickly, straddling hip-hop and R&B, rapping and singing, boasting about going 10 rounds in bed one minute (“Sativa”) and tripping out on our universal humanity the next (“New Balance”). A mix of Japanese, Native American, Spanish, Dominican, black, and Jewish, Aiko never knew quite where she fit—a sense of dislocation that made her not only a beacon to all kinds of audiences, but the embodiment of someone whose identity felt somehow fractured or unresolved. In other words, a person in search of themselves.

  • HOMETOWN
    Los Angeles, CA
  • BORN
    March 16, 1988
  • GENRE