There’s a new wave in music and rising star Jhene Aiko is making the biggest splash. Her debut album, Souled Out, has been at the top of the charts for weeks thanks to the hit “Pressure”—as well as the buzz from her previous mixtape anthems “Stay Ready,” “The Worst” and “July.”
Last night, ESSENCE.com sat with Jhene minutes after her ocean front performance at the Revolt Music Conference in South Beach. Here’s what old and new fans may be surprised to know:
She’s happiest when she’s with her daughter.
“I’m surprised a lot of people don’t know I’m a mom. I have a five year old—she’ll be six next month. When I post pictures, a lot of new fans say, is that you’re little sister? I’m happiest when I’m with her, especially when I don’t have anything to do but be with her.”
Flying scares her a little.
“I’m on the plane often nowadays. I wouldn’t say I’m scared of flying but I’m definitely a little on edge every time. When I feel a bump in the air, I’m like ‘I love life, everything and everyone. I love everybody and everything is great.’ [laughs] It puts things into perspective because you’re looking down and really seeing that life is precious.”
She travels with…
“A Tibetan singing bowl, which is this bowl and stick and you drag it along the rim. It makes this really pretty tone. It’s really calm and relaxing. I also travel with books by my favorite author Thich Nhat Hahn. His books aren’t very religious; they are about day-to-day dealings with anger and impatience.”
She’s a grown woman.
“I’m a lot older than people think. I’m 26 but I look 12.”
She’s a foodie.
“I love cooking and I love to eat. Because I’m so small, no one ever thinks I eat. My favorite dish to eat? I like everything but for now my favorite dish to eat is shrimp and grits. I made them last Christmas after telling my mom I had had some in Houston. They were so good. She was like, let’s try to make them. I got all the ingredients I felt I tasted in it and she sort of supervised while I was doing it. They turned out really good. My favorite thing to cook is a Japanese curry called golden curry.”
She occasionally needs a break from social media.
“I’m easily drawn to social media because I came up in the age group with MySpace Facebook and all that. It’s easy to fall into it. It has its advantages and disadvantages. There are some really good things you can get into that can aid in your spirituality and stuff like that. But I’ll go for days at a time where I have to delete it off my phone as sort of like a social media fast. But then I feel like it’s important to stay connected, so it’s a balance of both.”