She’s been a part of the music scene since she was 14 years old. But after several career hiccups, including a promising partnership with T.U.G./Epic Records that turned borderline barren, Jhene Aiko is back and ready to own the scene.
Aside from her 2011 mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), she’s been featured on several of TDE’s new music, and has left her vocal prints all over Ab-Soul’s newest release Control System.
Fresh off a December 2011 signing with No I.D.’s Atrium Records (Def Jam), and preparing what seems to be a promising follow up album to her 2011 mixtape, Aiko decided to take a break from her hustle to chit-chat with AllHipHop.com.
The soft soprano touched on everything, including her Chris Stokes/B2K era and her latest deal with Def Jam’s newest Vice President, Chicago producer No I.D.
On how she and No I.D first linked up:
“I have a friend that I’ve known for some time, and he’s worked at different labels for a while, interning and everything… He started working with No I.D… and he just called me and my manager saying, “No I.D. wants to sit down with you and have a meeting.” We [kind of] thought it was about production; we didn’t really know that it was for the whole deal situation.
At the time, I was kind of skeptical about doing any deal with any label… [but] he’s really about being creative, and about the art of it. It just felt really good, and it still does. It feels more like a partnership than “This is my boss!” type of thing.”
On why she decided to leave T.U.G.:
"It was only really about two and a half years when I was signed. They start dragging their feet, and I just really wanted to finish school… A new president came to Epic, and she was not familiar with me. She kept putting me off, and I was like is there any way we can just get released?... they were just going to shelve me. I knew what was happening. I was like let’s just get a release from all these people so I can just be in school. I just started doing music on my own with the producers I had met while I was signed."
On life after T.U.G. and getting back into the music business:
"The Internet is a crazy, amazing thing. I was home schooled, so I was always at home a lot, and just writing or staring at the wall... Then I started recording with my laptop on Garageband. Then I started experimenting with making my own beats… I worked with a few producers that let me post their music also. It just kept people interested."
On her upcoming album, Souled Out:
"I really want to work with Pharell… I think he has that sound. I really want to work with Kid Cudi. I know he produces a little bit, but he’s just so tight to me. I really want to work with Drake’s producer, 40. Now, No I.D. is going to do some stuff from scratch with me… I just want everybody to hear [Souled Out]… I’m pretty deep into the project. I feel like every song right now is a keeper… Not that I’m trying to compete with Sailing Souls, but I know that musically I’ve grown since then. It will be made clear in this album."
No release date has been announced for Souled Out, but it is slated to drop sometime this year.
However, if you’re not already familiar with the soft-siren, you can get familiar with her 2011 mixtape Sailing Soul(s) before her debut studio album drops!
You can read the rest of her interview over at AllHipHop.com.