meet jhené aiko, the little sister drake never had
We caught up with the 26 year-old just before she hit London for the Drake tour at the London O2 tonight and tomorrow.
As a guest vocalist on the lusciously heart wrenching track From Time, taken from Drizzy Drake's third studio album Nothing Was The Same, Jhené Aiko Efuru Chillombo's name hit headlines. Her soulfully emotive voice touched a nerve with both boys and girls as she sung about the heartbreak and disparity of love, loneliness and longing. All of a sudden, everyone sat up and took notice of the girl who has also worked with Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar. But Jhené is far from a newcomer; singing since her teens, she toured with R&B boy bandz Immature and B2K and signed to Epic before taking a break to have a baby. The Sailing Souls EP was her re-introduction in 2011, while last year's Sail Out capitalised perfectly on her Drake feature, ensuring the LA based singer became a name on everyone's lips.
Hi Jhené! How're you and what are you up to?
I'm just backstage waiting to join Drake onstage. Doesn't that sound crazy? We're halfway through the tour and I'm so blessed and happy to be here.
How did the two of you get together?
Well I think he heard an old EP of mine. The next thing I knew, I was in a recording studio laying down vocals for a track he had written, which would become From Time. He heard it, was into it and it made the album. It's been such a whirlwind experience. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be working with Drake. He's become like a big brother to me and really taken me under his wing. I'm so grateful.
Do you have plans to do more projects?
I hope so. It would be great to sit with him in the studio and write some music together. Fingers crossed for that!
What do you have coming up as a solo artist?
I dropped a mixtape at the end of last year calling Sailing Souls, which I see as a reintroduction to my sound. I've been a signed artist since I was 16 but so much has changed for me in that time. I'm still very much about soul and R&B vocals but I've developed so much since then, so I'm excited to begin this new musical chapter.
When you're not on tour, what's your favourite way to relax?
I love hanging out with my daughter, she is the best thing that ever happened to me. When I'm not working, I'm with her, she's just the best.
Jhené supports Drake at the O2 tonight and tomorrow.
Text Zainab Jama
Photography Jhené Aiko