Behind the Scenes of Jhené Aiko

Artsist Project
By: Allison Carter

Jhene Aiko is one of the most influential singers in R&B music hitting #1 on many charts and releasing albums that have changed style of music that is made today. She has been influenced and inspired by Eminem and Kendrick Lamar along with Kid Kudi. She developed into the artist she is today through hard work and beautiful music.

The Beginning

Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo was born on March 16, 1988 and born in Los Angeles, California. She grew up with five sisters and two brothers along with her two parents, Christina Yamamoto and Karama Chilombo who are now divorced. Her mother is of Spanish, Dominican, and African decent and her father is Native American and black.

Early Career

She started rapping and singing at the early age of seven years old. Jhene was raised in a music oriented family and this led to her joining her first band at the age of twelve called B2K. They were signed with EpicMusic. She embarked on her musical career by contributing vocals and appearing in several B2K songs.At the time she was known as the groups rapper "Lil Fizz's cousin. It wasn't true, but it was used to cultivate attention towards her and for her o strait gaining her own following.

In 2003, Aiko was set to release her debut album "My name is Jhené" through her labels Sony, The Ultimate Group, and Epic. However, the album was never released due to her wanting to go to school to further her education. Jhené Aiko continued to make music and take vocal lessons up until the age of 20 when she unexcpectedly became pregnant with her first daughter and stopped making music. Aiko embarked on her musical career and made a return to music in 2007. She released her first comeback mixtape in 2011 titles Sailing Souls.

In 2012, Aiko met with producer, No I.D, who is also the vice president of A&R at Def Jam, who ended up signing Aiko to his Atrium Records. She released a track called, "3:16AM", that was made available on streaming platforms by September 4, 2012. The sing was released as the first single from the album, "Sail Out". Aiko was also the opening act on the "Life is Good/Black Rage" concert tour that was headlined by other big artists at he time such as Nas, and Lauryn Hill.

Big Debut

In 2013, Aiko was featured on Big Seans song, Beware, which became her very first dog to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. Later in October, she opened up for the Canadian rapper, Drake on his Would You like a Tour? concert tour. Aiko then released her debut EP, "Sail Out" on November 12, 2013. It charted #8 on the US Billboard 200 Chart, with first-week sales of 34,000 copies sold.

In 2014, she was signed to Columbia Records and released her hit single, "The Worst" hitting #1 on the airplay mainstreams in R&B/Hip-Hop. She became the first female artist to top the chart with a lead debut single since jazmine Sullivan in 2008. She released her debut studio album, "Souled Out" in September 2014 putting her on the map. In February 2015 she was nominated for 3 Grammy awards including Best R&B Song for "The Worst" and Best Urban Contemporary Artist for "Sail Out".

On May 8, 2019, Aiko released "Triggered (Freestyle)", which debuted at #51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked #3 on the US R&B songs. It was her first single from her forthcoming 2019 album. In 2020 she released her studio album, Chilombo. March 6, 2021 she released her debut mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), on all platforms for the first time as she celebrated her 10th anniversary of the album. Since then she has not made any new music but has contributed to the community in another way. Aiko launched her own foundation called, WAYS. It is an organization designed to bring financial support to patients in need of cancer treatment as well as their families. Te foundation started in honor of her brother, Miyagi, who died of cancer in 2012.

Her Influences

Aiko stated that she was heavily influnced by rappers, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar growing up. But, her all time favorite is Kid Cudi stating that Cudi is "...pretty much one of the only people that I listen to consistently."


Sail Out (2013)

Souled Out (2014)

Trip ( 2017)

Chilombo (2020)

Sailing Soul(s) (2021)

Most Popular Songs and Awards

Sativa ft. Swae Lee

B.S ft. H.E.R

The Worst

5 BET Award Nominees and 6 Grammy Nominees (2015/2021)
Image Award Winner (NAACP)- Outstanding Album, "Chilombo" 2021
3x Image Award Nominee(2015/2021)
Soul Train Award Nominee (2014)

Social Involvement
Aiko launched her own foundation to help the community and families in need of financial support due to cancer. This launched in late 2017f ro Christmas, in honor of her brother Miyagi who died of cancer in 2012. She visited a young girl that same year and donated $15,000 on her families behalf to help her beat Leukemia. She continues to keep her foundation going and donate. She also has been on a mission to encourage young teens to become voracious readers and writers through her #PennyPens Campaign.

Jhene Aiko today, is still one of the most influential R&B singers in the world. She is undeniably talented, strong, and fearless in the music industry that she has heavily inspired. She has also impacted the world we live in by creating her own foundation, helping others in need, and providing her fans with beautiful music! She continues to and enjoys her life with her beautiful daughter and now boyfriend, Big Sean.

"You have got to lose your mind just to find your peace of mind." -Aiko


What's your password?

Login to your account

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.