The upswing of Jhené Aiko songs getting play on TV and radio may make it seem like she’s a new star to the scene, but the singer/songwriter actually began her career back in 2002. Since then, she has released three albums (but recorded four); has been nominated for several awards, winning one; and has gone on tour four times (three as a supporting act, once as the main attraction). Most recently, she released the album TWENTY88 as part of a hip hop team of the same name consisting of herself and rapper Big Sean.
If you’re interested in learning more about this young performer, here are five Jhené Aiko facts to whet your whistle.
Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo was born on March 16, 1988, in Los Angeles, California. Her career began by providing additional vocals to releases by the group B2K, being promoted as the cousin of member Lil’ Fizz. Her debut album, My Name Is Jhené, was recorded in 2003 but never released due to drama at the record label. Her first released album, Sail Out, wouldn’t happen until over a decade later, in 2013.
Aiko cites numerous influences, including Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Brandy, and John Mayer. She says she’s especially influenced by the late Tupac Shakur, due to his being “a big inspiration for [her] just to stick to who [she is] and to actually stand for something through musi.” She adds that Tupac was “an icon for speaking your mind and being you, even if it’s controversial.”
In the vein of Slim Shady and Roman Zolanski, Jhené Aiko claims to have another self named J. Hennessy. This version of her is more outgoing than her “true” self, who is much shyer. However, J. Hennessy isn’t often compared to the above two examples; rather, it is said to be more similar to Beyoncé’s alter ego, Sasha Fierce.
Like anyone, Jhené Aiko has her likes and her dislikes. One of her loves is food, being a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys both eating it and preparing it. She says her favorite things to eat are shrimp and grits, and her favorite thing to make is Japanese curry. As for her dislikes, Aiko still doesn’t enjoy flying, despite how much of it she does now. In fact, she says that even the tiniest bit of air turbulence still bothers her.
Jhené Aiko has made public her support of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, believing he should be the next man to lead the country. She believes in him so much that she served as his musical guest when Sanders visited the Apollo Theater in New York on April 9 as part of a “community conversation.” She played three songs as part of the performance, all of which were performed acoustically: “W.A.Y.S.,” “Space Jam,” and “Eternal Sunshine.”