Friday, August 5, 2011

Reddlipstick Profiles: Interview with Jhene' Aiko

Jhene's Mixtape Cover: Sailing Souls
You remember this face as being Jhene' from the T.U.G Camp with B2K back when we were all obessing over them; singing on a few of their hooks, making appearances in videos. Maybe you remember her as B2K member's cousin Lil Fizz; hopefully not the latter, because that tagline is completely false.
(You can be shocked, it's okay, I was, too).

Now Jhene' is all grown up, physically, mentally, and musically, which shows in her new mixtape Sailing Souls, a very contemporary and SOULful sounding project very worthy of the name.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jhene' bright and early this morning, on the earlier stages of her music career, now, and her personal life in between. Read&Indulge as you find out about her daughter, stomping out the 'Lil' Fizz's Cousin' tagline, and the moves and beautiful music this songbird is currently making.

I: I seen on twitter last night that you had your first live performance in a while. How did it feel to be back on stage again?
J: It felt good, it was the first time performing with my band. It was amazing because I’ve always wanted to put on that type of show; I’m excited to do more.

I: I did some research on you beforehand, and I noticed two interesting things that all of your fans may not know; that you have a daughter by Omarion’s brother, O’Ryan, and that Lil Fizz isn’t really your cousin? I know you don’t really wanna talk about this stuff, I just want to get it out of the way for your fans! *laughs*
J: No your good! Those are both correct. *laughs* A lot of people still don’t even know I have a daughter. I’ll mention it on Twitter and they are like “What, you have a daughter?” I don’t really like to put her out there like that, but yea, she’s very much apart of my everyday so, I still talk about her, you know. And yes, Lil Fizz was never my cousin, that was just something that the label kind of thought of, as a marketing thing when I younger and I just kind of you know, I just went with it because I was only 13 and I didn’t really understand that it was gonna be the main thing that they were calling me, that was my like my 2nd name “Lil Fizz’s cousin” it kinda got a little out of hand. People don’t understand when I tell them that’s not true, they’re like “What? This whole time I thought yall were cousins.” *laughs* So yea.

I: Yeah, I actually thought that too! Like, when I was little I used to tell my mom “You see that girl right there? That’s Lil Fizz’s cousin!” so for me to find out it was crazy, too.
J: I grew up with him, he was in a group with my brother when they were like 8 and 9, and I was like 5, so that’s where it came from.

I: That is so interesting! Well, now let’s talk about your new project Sailing Souls. I was listening to it and the sound of your music now is so different from when you were younger. Can you describe what sound you were going for?
J: It’s just me. I think It’s just my style. When I was younger, I didn’t have any input or anything. I was just singing other people’s songs, It was a lot of different writers, but Sailing Souls is 100% me, I even had input on the beats, I was in there with the producers. I was able to orchestrate how it went…yeah I don’t really put a label on exactly what I was trying to go for or whatever, I feel like it’s all music from the heart. It’s a young adult, contemporary kind of style. I don’t like to call it one thing though, because it’s different genres of music, so I think the main thing is it’s just completely me. Before when I was younger it was a whole bunch of other people’s music that I was just singing.

I: Do you have a favorite song on the mixtape?
J: I can narrow it down to three. It would be My Mind, Do Better Blues, and You VS. Them. Each one has something that’s my favorite, but if I had to choose, those would be the three.

Jhene Aiko: "Alot of people are comparing [my sound] to a young Sade'."
I: Oh okay. I actually really like this new style. How has it been perceived by other people?
J: They like it! A lot of people are comparing it to a young Sade', a female Drake, a female Frank Ocean. A lot of people love it, they can relate to it and that’s the most important thing for me. And it’s not too different to where they’re confused. But it’s something familiar but new at the same time.

I: Do you credit your style to anyone?
J: I would give credit to Sade, to Amel Larrieux as far as vocally, I love Drake, I listen to a lot of Tupac even though that’s weird *laughs* I mean really, everything that I’ve ever listen to goes into the music I make. And sometimes I don’t even know exactly what influence me to write a song a certain way but it’s just like years of listening to a lot of different types of music.

I: Do you have any projects coming up soon?
J: Yes, in September, I am gonna release a little EP, that’s called Souled Out, still playing around with that word.  *laughs* I don’t know the exact date yet, but of course I’ll be keeping everybody updated on twitter, exact dates and all that, and in the meantime I'm gonna be doing more shows.

I: What do you hope for yourself within the next year?
J: Making more music, doing more shows, and really just being consistent. I don’t really .. I was just talking to a friend about this the other day, my approach to life in general... I don’t really set goals? I know that sounds weird but, failing? That’s a real thing, like, I just like to take it as is, stay on a steady pace, get to where I'm going, without having to.. *laughs* this is gonna sound confusing, I still end up reaching some type of goal, but I don’t really have expectations, so I don’t ever really get disappointed on how it turns out, but yea, im just gonna continue to do what I have always been doing, growing musically and as an artist, keep at it, and you know, whatever happens happens.

I: I get what you were saying. Is there anyting that you would like the readers of The Reddlipstick Blog to know about you and your music?
J: First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been supporting the mixtape, and supporting me through the years. The main thing I want everybody to know about me and my music is that it’s always gonna be 100% organic, that’s what im fighting for, forever. It has to be that way. Im not into compromising any of myself to appeal to a larger amount of people or anything like that. I want to be for real people, going through real things. That’s I think I am, you know? So my music, I want it to reflect that, I want it to always be that way. I want to promote being yourself, I want people to listen to my music and say “Oh you know what? She’s okay with being herself, even if she’s not perfect; she likes this...Wow! Ok, I think I wanna try being myself.” I want to help them, rather than be a distraction and be something that they put on to get away from their emotions, I want the music to help put them in their emotions so that they can actually work out what they are going through. 

Jhene was so sweet on the phone and gave GREAT answers (I particularly loved the last answer) if you haven't already make sure you check out her mixtape Sailing Souls HERE
Follow her on Twitter: @JheneAiko

Reddlipstick Pix: Do Better Blues, My Mine, & HIGHER which is my favorite of the whole mixtape!

Take a listen & COMMENT HERE!

**stay tuned for for pt.2 of this interview on one of our sister sites! [8.7.11.]**


XOXO, reddlipstick said...

Check it out!

Anonymous said...

i am seriously in awe! Especially the last question.