Artist Attention: Jhené Aiko

By: NICOLE LOSEK, A&E Editor

Jhené Aiko, R&B/soul singer/songwriter has nothing but positive messages to share with the world and her fans. From the release of her first mixtape Sailing Souls to her newest album Trip, both she as an artist and the new album deserve some attention.

Some background on Jhené Aiko: she released her debut EP Sailed Out in 2013. Following the success of that project, especially the track “The Worst,” she found herself working with artists like Drake, The Weeknd and J. Cole. She is featured on Drake’s mixtape Nothing Was The Same on the song “From Time” and opened for both The Weeknd and J. Cole on their tours in 2014. Aiko also collaborated with Big Sean on their self titled project, TWENTY88. These projects and more led to her most personal project yet.

Aiko copes with the loss of her brother on her newest album Trip, as she takes listeners on a journey through grief, love and self discovery. Losing her brother in 2012 to cancer, she uses the album to process and mourn the loss of someone so important in her life.  In doing so, she shares lessons she’s learned with others who may need them. Aiko spoke with Complex Magazine about the project itself, grief, her process of using art as a healing tool and where she hopes to go in the future with her creative career.

Aiko has mentioned in earlier interviews that she looks for traits of her brother in other men. Boyfriend, Big Sean, appears on the album and Complex asked how big of a role he played. Sean is just one of the male voices on the album, others include Brian from the Fisticuffs, who is like a brother to Aiko, and her dad, who plays a big role in her life. One voice that happened “organically” was Swae Lee. “When he was available, he came through,” Aiko explains. Swae is featured on the track “Sativa” that has gained some popularity. Having Big Sean on the album fit in because the two became friends around the time her brother passed away, he even came to the funeral which meant a lot to Aiko. The two were friends for so long before they started dating that the connection she has with him is the “closest thing” to the connection she had with her brother, so it was only fitting to have him on the album. Sean is featured on the song “Moments” which is one of the top songs on the album.

The way Aiko tackles grief is something she did well throughout the project. The toughest part being depression, something the 29-year-old artist has let become a habit. She would find herself in a dark place, but realized she could write and record a song to keep her from thinking like that. She explains in the interview with Complex, “if you’re not taking medicine to numb yourself, then everyday you have to work towards feeling better and find different things that keep you out of that type of place.” Writing songs like “Oblivion” and “Jukai” is how she found herself instead of letting the feelings of depression and grief consume her.

Aiko got personal with this 22-track album, explaining “I wasn’t doing it to make the songs, I was making the songs to get through what I was going through.” The album is a trip in itself and is worth a listen. To read the full interview with Complex visit: http://www.complex.com/music/2017/10/jhene-aiko-trip-interview.