I arrived in beautiful San Francisco right before rush hour and was greeted by the sun glimmering off the waters of the Bay, shining on my face through the back seat window of a 2016 Ford Explorer. The spacious vehicle was driven by a man we nicknamed Davie, who ended up being the plug to the city on the low.
I was in town to chat with Jhene Aiko, the grown woman who isn’t afraid to demand you to eat her booty like groceries and loves herself enough for the both of us. I was excited to met Jhene, but first I had to stop by to see a mural Ford commissioned from The Seventh Letter Crew as part of the brand’s “Culture Collabs” program, an extension of the Ford By Design ad campaign that debuted in October.
The mural is a reminder of Ford’s commitment to innovation and the arts, plus it’s also a great addition to the already beautiful San Fran. After checking out the mural, I headed to True to chat with Jhene before her special performance at the retail clothing store. Vashtie was there spinning all the hits with the occasional New York classic.
The petite singer was draped in all black, but her hypnotic aura still controlled the room. She posed for selfies with fans, danced a little bit to Vashtie’s tunes, and talked to me about how she doesn’t want to be compared to these young singers out here. Check out our chat below.
Can you explain how you hooked up with Ford?
Ford called me and asked if I wanted to collaborate with some other types of artists. I was like, yeah I’m always down with the collaborations – Vashtie, Alchemist, Seventh Letter Crew, Naturel. Those were people that I was already fans of, so I was like yeah, this is dope, why not?
Do you have a lot of art in your house?
I do, I have a lot of Buddha paintings. I have a Tupac painting. I’m a Basquiat fan. I don’t have one, but they printed his art on some little espresso cups, it’s a really cute line. I’m a fan of art. There is this artist who does this thing called acid art named Android Jones, he’s my favorite living artist right now. His stuff looks digital but it’s not, it’s totally painting.
What’s your most memorable car drive as a child and adult?
As a child, my family and I went on a family vacation to Las Vegas, which sounds weird, but they have a lot of things to do for families during the day. In March for my birthday this year, I took a drive from L.A. where I live to Big Sur, and it was crazy because I have never driven that far by myself. I just thought, and talked to myself, and listened to music and wrote music. The coastline was the backdrop and it was truly amazing. When I look back, I can’t believe I did that by myself. It was so crazy to do that by myself, but nothing went wrong.
Is there someone you would like to collaborate with?
Big Sean and I always come up with really dope stuff together. I know we’ve collaborated in the past, but I look forward to collaborating with him in the future. I used to have a wish list of collaborators, but I’ve collabed with so many people that I never thought we would come up with something good together. So I’m looking forward to people that I genuinely vibe with, those always make the best collaborations.
What’s the biggest misconception about Jhene Aiko?
The biggest misconception about me is that I’m young or younger than I am, and that I should be compared to some of the younger people in the industry. I’m 27. I have a daughter and I’ve lived a very eventful life. People think that when I’m talking about things in my experiences, that I’m coming from this fake deep place. My mother would always tell me that if you live long enough, you’ll catch yourself saying to people that are 19 or 20, ‘you don’t understand, I don’t expect you to.’
Another big misconception is that I’m always very serious or sad, so with the “Post To Be” line, I wanted to show that I could be funny and take life lightly sometimes.
My daughter is going to be 7 this month and she’s just a little woman. People don’t understand, but then you tell yourself and you talk about your daughter, then they take your story a little more seriously. Because I’m small and I look young, people don’t really believe the lessons I’ve learned or they don’t think I’ve been through everything. That’s why through my music I like to share my story and tell my testament.
PHOTO CREDIT: FlyLifeImages for GlobalGrind.com