Live: Jhené Aiko @ YouTube

Friday, 28 March 2014

Last night I was one of the lucky ones. A select audience had been invited down to the YouTube studios for a very intimate acoustic gig from R'n'B songstress of the moment, Jhené Aiko. 

Now you might be an old school Jhené fan from back in the day when she guested on B2K's album or maybe like me you started to appreciate a couple of years ago when she dropped her mixtape 'Sailing Soul(s)' which featured the likes of Drake, Kanye West, Miguel and Kendrick Lamar. Perhaps you've only recently discovered her delivering sugary sweet hooks on 'Sparks Will Fly' on J. Coles 'Born Sinner' or 'From Time' by Drake but chances are if you've heard Miss Aiko's delicious vocals then you're a fan. And there were definitely lots of fans in the room yesterday, who judging by the singing along have not stopped playing her latest EP 'Sail Out' for the last few months. No seriously, it can't just be because everyone was singing word for word with me, ad libs and all. 

Yep I was really that close. I managed to bag a seat literally front and centre, on a cushion on the floor directly in front of Jhené. I was in full fan girl mode and I was not ashamed!

The soft spoken, doll like Jhené won over the crowd the moment she arrived on stage, politely asking if she could remove her big heels before treating us to guitar accompanied renditions of 'Bed Peace', 'Comfort Inn Ending' (which she informed us she has just filmed a visual for, which she also directed) and of course, the new female anthem 'The Worst'.

A front runner in a new wave of R'n'B, Jhené's vocals are light and breathy at times and I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of them live. There's a lot of technical control even though her music is often dreamy weed type tracks perfect for those late smoky nights. Her lyrics are always astoundingly real, whether that be in grief like the song 'For My Brother' written when her brother was dying of cancer or on 'The Worst' where she talks about an ex lover who she called a dickhead but thanked for giving her the inspiration. She said she feels one of the reasons the UK and Europe in general have supported her so readily is due to a connection with the rawness of her lyrics. She loves London the best. Okay she said we came second to Paris in terms of audiences on the Would You Like A Tour tour she's just done with Drake, but she did say London shows her a lot of love and aren't afraid to support like some American crowds are. 

And she loves British tea!

After the short set Clara Amfo interviewed Jhené and we really got a sense of her kinda hippy, spiritual vibe. She seems super chilled and aware of herself! She spoke of her beautiful 5 yet old daughter who recently took over her Vine account, of shaving off all her eyebrows when she was younger and how she was homeschooled as she has been in the music game for so long. There was a great discussion about treatment of women in the industry, and although she said she wouldn't describe herself as a feminist she said she feels she deserves to be treated as equally as any hard working artist male or I kinda think she is without realising it! 

"A girl can show a little skin and not be a hoe". A girl after my own heart!

Jhené is very adamant about maintaining her own sense of reality in her music and fighting the fake shit that the industry is permeated with, so seeing her conviction is heartwarming. I'm looking forward to hearing a little bit more of her rapping alter ego J Hennessy too, and she let us in on the fact that they had been waiting for a rapper to record a 16 for The Worst when No ID, who signed her, told her "Fuck these rappers!...But don't fuck these rappers". And so J Hennessy did the damn thing instead!

If you haven't heard of Jhené Aiko yet then where have you been? Get to a computer right now...

Pinning up her Polaroid in the YouTube studios. 


  1. What an exciting experience, you're so lucky!

  2. She's incredible! Lucky girl!

  3. oh wow! You are very lucky! she sang one or two songs at the Drake concert and it made us fall in love with her all over again! x