Because my 1st interview with Jhene Aiko [that you can read HERE] was so well received, (and I love her music THAT much), that I just had to catch up with her again after her recent signing with Def Jam! *Cues Applause* This interview was meant to only be a few questions, but once I get to talking, well, you know. Read&Indulge to find out how Jhene's record deal came about, what she has to say about the negative comment regarding her Tumblr Poem, when & what can we expect from her next project and so much more.
I: A lot of my readers were requesting a follow up regarding you signing to Def Jam, congratulations by the way! How did that come about exactly?
J: So basically, the deal came through NO I.D., and it’s actually his label, Atrium Records, and I basically have a friend who works with No I.D. We’ve known each other for a while, so he calls me up and was like, you know “I’m working with him now and I want you to meet with him.” So, he contacted my manager. We didn’t even really know what the meeting was about. We’ve had label meeting with different labels and like.. no one reallllyyyy… understood what I was trying to do and how involved I wanted to be in my career. And so we met with No I.D. and I thought it was going to be about production, or like you know, working with me musically. So then he basically told us about his new position at Def Jam and his label and how he wanted me to be a part of it. And at the time we were entertaining other labels and everything but it seemed perfect. And I can see now that even though it’s only been a couple of months that we’re definitely on the same page and he definitely sees the whole vision so, yea. *laughs*
I: Oh okay, that’s really good! When will your fans be able to expect some new music?
J: Um I’m working towards releasing something in March.
I: In March?
J: Yeah, in March. That’s really just a month away. *laughs* you know, a lot of people don’t understand that since I write my own music and a lot of the music is done from scratch, that is harder than, you know, it’s more time consuming than getting songs from different writers and different producers. So it’s definitely going to be worth the wait because I like to put everything into writing the songs and even the production I like to be a part of so.. But in between time I’ll be doing performances and everything, we are working on confirming dates in between the releases of new music and new visuals and stuff like that. But everybody will be updated on the internet *laughs*
I: Will the sound be kind of similar to the sounds of Sailing Souls, you think?
J: I think it’s whatever I feel myself evolving into. You know, it’s my writing, my voice. I don’t ever like to write about the same thing twice, you know what I mean? Different lyrical content, a broader look on life, I guess? It’s all me, hopefully it’s not too different for people that follow me and like Sailing Souls. But I think it’s a better version of Sailing Souls. I’ll probably mix some favorites from Sailing Souls, because you know a lot of the songs from Sailing Souls were ever really.. mixed? You know we released the songs, I didn’t really take much time on recording them. So yea.
I: Do you think we could get like a sample soon like when you start to, I know it’s going to be a long time from now, but when you really start to work on your album?
J: Well, you know a lot of the songs I’m doing now are either for the mixtape or for the album, and really, we’re not sure yet but in March, we might do a mix of the two. Like a remix of some of the Sailing Souls songs, because a lot of people still haven’t heard Sailing Souls, even though it seems like it like on Twitter and everything, but you know, it’s not on iTunes, it’s not in the stores, and we might mix it up with some of those songs, but of course like, re do them, make them a little newer. And then the new songs are going to be like a preview to the album, you know what I mean? So there will definitely be previews of the album.
I: Oh okay! So, I read your poem on Tumblr about everything, and it was really good by the way, and I actually seen other blogs post the message and I read the comments, people were like “Ok, they are going to make her conform to what they want, she just doesn’t know it yet.” like what do you have to say about people saying things like that?
J: Well first of all, nobody can make me do anything I don’t want to do *laughs* they would have to literally like, put a gun to my head and no one’s going to do that. Like I’m surrounded by people that are very protective, you know? Like my management team is like family literally, like, my sister IS my manager, so ..Not my blood sister, but I’ve known her since I was like, 5 years old, basically blood. I have too much of a vision that I would never let anyone else come between me and myself. I understand how most people think that because they see their favorite artist, before they’re signed and then they.. and I’ve been signed before, you know what I mean? I’ve been around, I know what it is, so. I told someone a couple of weeks ago that I’d rather disappoint the label than disappoint my fans. So if me staying strong means that they’re going to drop me or that they’re not going to put money behind me it’s cool because I still have fans that I can still put music out to, and that are still going to support it, because that’s what they would like to see me doing. If there is any change, it’s just me changing, you know what I mean? If I do do a song that’s not really what people expected, that’s just, you know.. I feel like I change every day and I feel like I’m open minded to so many different things that I don’t ever really feel like I’m doing something out of my character when I’m doing something that’s different than what I did before. I think people that follow me, you know, follow my career, understand that. They pretty much can see the consistency that lies in my integrity, so yea. All of that is nonsense, whatever *laughs*you don’t know what you’re talking about! *laughs*
I: *laughs* Yea, I really didn’t get that vibe from you the last time we talked so I was like, maybe they’re not really familiar with her music?
J: That’s what it is! And that’s why I want people to hear..alot of people still from Sailing Souls have only heard Stranger or 1, 2, or 3 songs, they haven’t really heard the full project. And they’ll be like “Oh, on that one song, she sings like this”, I feel like you take it in when you’ve heard the full project and you listen, you can really keep an understanding on the type of person I am and the range I have with the music because, Popular doesn’t really sound like anything else that I have on Sailing Souls, but it doesn’t sound like I’m trying to do something that I’m not supposed to be doing. They’ll get it eventually, but if not, the people that get it are the people that are supposed to get it. So *laughs*
I: Exactly! I definitely feel where you are coming from with that. I remember the last time we talked you were talking about goals; I asked you what kind of goals would you set and you said you don’t really set goals like that? But do you have anything that you would WANT to accomplish this year? The year basically just started. Do you see yourself doing anything in 2012?
J: Yeah, I definitely want to put out the new music, the album, mixtape, whatever it’s going to be, and try to reach as many people as I can. I mean that’s really it, because like I said sometimes I think “Wow, I’m killing myself trying to put this new music out,” because it takes so much energy to really try with each song to express your true feelings and people know how hard that is, even if you are just talking about how you really feel, and to do that in like 12-13 songs, that means that every time I’m sitting down to write I’m just, reaching deep you know what I mean? And that takes a lot of energy, so to accomplish that again would be like really exciting for me because I’ll be like “Wow I did it again!” and even if it isn’t as well received as Sailing Souls, that will still be an accomplishment to me because .. you know, Sailing Souls, that took 9 months so when I was done with that, I really felt like I had carried a child, like I really felt like that was a child that I had given birth to. This time this year I’m just going to sit back and whatever else happens.. happens.
I: Are you open to other songwriters? Or do you really want to just focus on you writing all the songs for your next project.
J: I think that, other writers, will always be an option, but I kind of just feel like part of who I am and as an artist is expressing myself. I’ve never been.. I mean there are other songwriters where I’ll feel like “Wow”, or I’ll hear a song and I’ll be like “That’s how I feel!” or “Oh, I could sing that.” But a lot of the time, songwriters just want to make that money you know, they just want you to sing their song. But I think if there is a songwriter who just wants to spend time with me and really understand my story and stuff like that or just want to collaborate, you know help me with my melody or express the story better or whatever, then I think that would be more of a better situation in working with a person but as of now, I think James Fauntleroy, he’s one of my favorite writers, I’m always trying to write with him because I just feel like, he gets it, I feel like we’re the same type of people, so like even if he writes something and I’m not there, I feel as though I would be able to sing the song as though I wrote it myself. So yeah, I’m not against it, I just really love to express myself, and it’s hard to do that when you know it’s someone else’s story, and, you know, I’m a singer, not an actress. Like, a lot of singers are actresses. I like to sing what I’M really going through, so yeah *laughs*
I: *laughs* What about features? Do we have any features coming up with other singers or rappers?
J: I can’t really say all of the different names, but there are a few rappers that are working on features, a few singers also, it’s just a matter of everybody working on stuff right now. There will be features from a people’s favorite rappers and singers. It will be a pleasant surprise. Nothing is really set in stone, so when it does come out it will be, you know *laughs*
I: I’m really excited about this new project. I actually really enjoy, like, I still listen to Sailing Souls to this day, and interviewed you like over the summer so, I’m really excited to see what you have coming up and for my readers and for your fans!
J: Thank You!
I: No problem, do you have anything else that you wanted to add?
J: I’ll always have to thank everyone who is supporting to me and thank you for everyone being patient with the new music. Thank You, even the people who have negative things to say, that’s really strange but those are some of the people that really don’t feel me because, I don’t look at it as “Oh, you’re a hater”, I just look at it as those are the people who really don’t understand, or people that really don’t know like.. that really have problem with their selves, so It makes me really want to sing more and do it more to show people that you don’t have to be negative to people because you see something in them that reminds you of yourself, you know, It’s always deeper than “you just don’t like this person” Thank you to the lovers, the haters alike, I love everyone and just stay tuned for more.. yeah *laughs*
**Jhene's always a pleasure to write about. She's very charismatic and Down-to-Earth! If you have yet to hear her music, don't fret, just click here.